“I wanted to make a drama unlike anything else, because Chernobyl was unlike anything else. I wanted it to be as unique as the event itself.” That was the ambitious goal set by writer and producer Craig Mazin for his epic mini-series about the Soviet power plant that caught fire on 26 April 1986, triggering the most disastrous nuclear accident in history. And Mazin has succeeded.
The factual drama focuses on the families of the victims of serial killer and rapist Stephen Port (Stephen Merchant), and their fight to find the truth about what happened to Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor.
Now a widely criticised police investigation, the series will shed new light on the case and tell the story from the perspective of the victims’ families including Anthony Walgate’s mother Sarah Sak (Sheridan Smith) and Jack Taylor’s sister Donna Taylor (Jaime Winstone).
The story became notorious at the time, due to the public outcry that his sentence of life imprisonment prompted, Martin having argued that he had used reasonable force to defend his property. One of the burglars, Fred Barras was 16 years old at the time of his death.
Martin later appealed against his original conviction and was successful, his sentence was reduced and he was released after three years.
Shamed (w/t), which stars Game of Thrones actress Faye Marsay, centres around the cool and calm Sarah Ivy, whose world collapsed around her 10 years previously.
With the help of her brother she kidnaps two men, Nathan (Nick Blood - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) and Mani. The duo claim not to know Sarah or what she would want with them, however a connection is soon revealed...
The company no longer wishes to be seen solely as a news specialist, and has announced it will be producing more dramas based on real-life events.
“Our biggest challenge is getting people to understand ITN Productions," said managing director, Mark Browning. "The scale of the genre and programming we do is both a blessing and a curse.
"Our brand says that we do news, but actually our volume of output says that we are a big production company.”
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.