The makers of new detective series Shakespeare and Hathaway give the lowdown on how to create a show with a global appeal
How do you go about creating a new TV drama for a worldwide audience? “It has to have something recognisable globally; it has to show good old England – you need to harness a global brand,” reckoned Jude Tindall.
The writer and producer Ella Kelly were sharing their secrets with students at an RTS Midlands masterclass at the University of Wolverhampton in mid-February.
Their new 10-part detective drama, Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators, starring Mark Benton and Jo Joyner, is made by BBC Studios at the BBC Birmingham Drama Village. It starts a two-week run on BBC One Daytime at the end of the month.
Benton plays old-fashioned private investigator Frank Hathaway, while Joyner is his rookie sidekick Lu Shakespeare.
Tindall and co-writer Paul Matthew Thompson chose the Warwickshire countryside as their backdrop and William Shakespeare as their global brand – surely a dead cert to sell to an international market.
Jude Tindall has already found success with six series of Father Brown from the same stable, the most watched drama on BBC One Daytime, averaging more than 2.5 million viewers and with a worldwide audience in over 150 countries.
Kelly said: “It was a really clear pitch and you have to keep coming back to that. As you’re making the show, you have to keep thinking of what the show is and always what’s the story, what’s the story? It’s really easy to lose sight of what you started out to make.”
Tindall’s break came when she was shortlisted for a Radio Times writing competition. She advised the students in the audience: “Enter competitions.
“And write a play. Commissioners are obsessed with playwrights; so write a play, put it on yourself and put it on your CV. You’re a playwright!”