Emmerdale

The Secret of Soaps: The Story Behind the Stories

No one could accuse Coronation Street of taking it easy, even though this would be understandable for a middle-aged British telly institution. Over the last couple of years the ITV soap has given viewers multiple murders, deaths and suicides; explosions and a minibus crash; a pre-teen pregnancy; and even a gay vicar.

Audiences have been lapping up the drama, which regularly attracts more than 7 million viewers. Corrie remains the nation’s favourite soap.

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”.

TV executives discuss how to produce television in a socially distanced environment

“The biggest issue when we started gearing up to re-start production about six weeks ago was fear,” said John Whiston, who as ITV’s managing director of continuing drama is responsible for running flagship soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

He said that production staff and talent needed reassuring after being isolated at home watching news coverage of the pandemic every night for weeks. 

TV production outside the M25 is alive and well

C+I’s most popular original show, Murdertown featuring Hull (Credit: A&E Networks)

In recent years, Channel 4’s new national HQ in Leeds and the BBC’s relocation of 2,300 posts to Salford have dominated our perception of out-of-London programme production.

This is perhaps not surprising: the corporation has the largest Ofcom quota for UK production outside the M25 – 50% – followed by Channel 4 and ITV, who both have 35%, and Channel 5, with 10%.

RTS Yorkshire announce nominations for 2019 Awards

Steve (Jack Dee) and Nicky (Kerry Godliman) in Bad Move (Credit: ITV)

Just under 100 industry professionals gathered at Prime’s new events space, Archive, to discover whether their work had made it on to the awards shortlist. Larry and Paul, a comedy act who have built up a strong local following on BBC Radio Leeds, hosted the launch.

Nominations for the 18 awards categories reflected the healthy level of production in the Yorkshire region. The hotly contested factual awards earned multiple nominations for Daisybeck Studios, Air TV, True North and True Vision Yorkshire.