Drama

RTS Student Masterclass: Writing for drama

ITV, BBC Two, television, drama, RTS, student, masterclass, writing, research,

You could be forgiven for thinking that the award- winning screenwriter and producer, Jeff Pope, approaches his work by trying to find the most gruesome story possible.

This is the man who has made TV dramas based on the dark deeds of serial killer, Fred West, Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and Britain’s most prolific hangman, Albert Pierrepoint.

RTS Student Masterclass: Editing drama and documentaries

Ben Stark, Alex Graham (chair), Una Ni Dhonghaile (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

When it comes to producing great television, a good editor is where it all begins and ends. That was the clear message for students attending the RTS craft skills editing masterclass.

Ben Stark, a feted documentary film editor and Una Ni Dhonghaile, who has won plaudits for her work editing TV drama, delivered the masterclass chaired by media consultant Alex Graham.

Stark and Dhonghaile each discussed three examples of their work.

BBC commissions pre-apocalyptic drama from Luther writer

Idris Elba as John Luther

BBC One has commissioned a new six-part series from Luther writer Neil Cross. 

Hard Sun will be a pre-apocalyptic crime drama set in contemporary London.

The series will follow detectives Elaine Renko and Robert Hinks as they attempt to keep order in the city and protect their loved ones as the apocalypse approaches.

CPL to produce Ann Summers drama

CPL Productions logo

A new drama series focusing on the domestic lives of four Ann Summers party planners has been commissioned by ITV.

In what promises to be a “fresh, frank and funny” series, Brief Encounters follows four unlikely entrepreneurs whose lives are revolutionised by selling exotic lingerie.

Set in the early 1980s, Brief Encounters is inspired by the early chapters of Good Vibrations, the memoir of Ann Summers’ CEO Jacqueline Gold.

It is the first drama to be made for ITV by award-winning indie CPL Productions.

Channel 4 commissions first drama series for female writing duo

Kate Ashfield, When The Lights Went Out, Sky,

Channel 4 has commissioned the writers Tracey Malone (Silent Witness) and Kate Ashfield (Line of Duty) for their first drama series as a duo.

The psychological thriller, under working title Born to Kill, will be made by World Productions, and looks into the mind of a teenage boy who suppresses psychopathic desires.

Details of Downton Abbey finale announced

Downton Abbey Christmas 2015

The final episode of Downton Abbey will feature “all the love and loss, happiness and heartbreak” fans of the show have come to expect, ITV and Carnival Films have promised.

The final series came to an end last weekend, as viewers watched Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) wed racing driver Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode), however the show will return for a final hurrah on Christmas Day.

The special episode will follow the Crawley family and their servants as they prepare to celebrate New Year’s Eve together and welcome in 1926.

What I'm watching with...Jeff Pope

At the RTS masterclasses November 2015, from left to right: Carolyn Reynolds, Jeff Pope and Jon Mountague

From writing hit show Philomena to co-writing and executive producing Cilla and Mrs Biggs, Jeff Pope has had a successful career in the media.

He started out in television by working as a researcher at ITV's London Weekend Television in 1983. Years later he became Head of Factual Drama at ITV Studios. 

In 2007 he won a BAFTA in screenplay for See No Evil: The Moors Murders. 

At this week's RTS Student Masterclasses he told eager television students that dramas tend to be re-written about fifteen times. 

Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman stars as Queen Victoria in ITV's new drama

In a drama series first, ITV's Victoria will focus on the life of the Queen, played by Jenna Coleman.

It's being produced by the broadcaster's recent acquisition Mammoth Screen, makers of BBC One's Poldark

“This epic series is a chance to see the Victorian age through the eyes of the Queen herself for the first time," ITV's Director of Drama, Steve November, told the RTS.

Single writer or showrunner: what's the best way to succeed in drama?

Hugo Blick and Gina Moriarty

It is the question that British writers and commissioners perennially ask: which system works best – the UK’s single voice or the US’s showrunner model?

Former head of BBC Worldwide Productions turned independent producer Jane Tranter tried to answer this key question with a panel of writers, who outlined their experiences to see how they compared.

She pointed out that, during her seven years in the US, it was not a subject the industry there generally debated openly.