call the midwife

Lisa Holdsworth discusses the difficulty of getting your first break as a writer

The Chair of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain said: “It’s very easy to think that we’re a lovely, right-on industry with no unconscious bias. That it’s a meritocracy and whatever you do, as long as you’re writing good stuff, you’re going to get the job. It’s simply not true.”

Holdsworth was discussing her career and the state of UK drama with RTS Yorkshire Chair Fiona Thompson.

Her break came almost two decades ago when Kay Mellor asked her to write an episode of ITV drama Fat Friends, which she described as her “sink or swim moment”.

Jane Turton discusses her new role as Chair of the RTS and her love of television

From her first days working in television as a founder member of Meridian, the South of England regional ITV company, Jane Turton knew that she’d landed in exactly the right place professionally.

“I’ve always loved being in TV. It’s full of interesting people,” she says. “TV is always exciting. The product – if we’re allowed to call it that – is fascinating – part manufacturing business, part creative, part art, part commerce. TV brings all that stuff together in a way that is challenging and interesting.”

Top writers discuss their craft: “First drafts don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be written"

Reece Shearsmith, Jed Mercurio, Melvyn Bragg (Chair), Heidi Thomas and Steve Pemberton (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

Melvyn Bragg was talking at a special live edition of The South Bank Show, featuring four of the UK’s leading TV writers – Jed Mercurio (writer and creator of hit police corruption thriller Line of Duty); Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith (black comedy anthology Inside No. 9); and Heidi Thomas (period drama Call the Midwife) – discussing their craft.

BBC reveal three-series commission of Call the Midwife

The BBC has commissioned a further three series and three Christmas specials of the multi award-winning drama Call the Midwife.

The deal will take the show through to series nine and follow the nuns and midwives later into the 1960s. Each series will consist of eight hour long episodes.

Call the Midwife has been one of the most popular dramas on British television since it first arrived on screens in 2012, with an average of 10 million viewers per episode.

Why broadcasters need religious literacy

A wall painting of Moses and the Burning Bush (Credit: Dura Europos Synagogue)

"My generation grew up thinking that religion was completely marginal to British life, which, as for the rest of the world, has been proved more and more wrong,” historian Simon Schama famously said.

In this, if in little else, Schama and I have something in common. Born in the same year, I was also carried along on the wave of 1960s optimism, which assumed that everyone was basically good, life was getting better for all, and reason would triumph.

Call The Midwife begins filming sixth series

Call The Midwife (credit: Des Willie)

Since it premiered in 2012, Call The Midwife has consistently been amongst the BBC's highest rated and most-watched shows. 

Based on the memoirs of real London midwife Jennifer Worth during the late 1950s, series six of the TV drama enters the swinging Sixties.

Themes will include "the beacon of the pill, the shadow of the Kray twins, the lure of independence and the call to duty", according to writer and executive producer Heidi Thomas.