Screenwriter Sally Wainwright talks to Lucinda Hicks, COO of Endemol Shine UK, about her career so far, Gentleman Jack series two and life in lockdown.
She is now penning the second series of the hit BBC drama, which is based on the diaries of a 19th century landowner exploring her lesbian sexuality.
Progress, however, has been slow. “I’ve got tons of work to do, but I’ve found it very hard to concentrate,” admitted Wainwright. She has turned out one episode during eight weeks of lockdown, a slower pace of writing than usual.
Normally, she said, “I take my deadlines very seriously”, but the coronavirus outbreak has put back filming of the new series from June to September.
Series binging over weekly releases has become the new norm, and brand new, high-quality TV content seems to be in endless supply.
The competition for viewers’ attention has intensified tenfold, and the leading broadcasters have risen to the challenge.
At the beginning of a new decade, we look back at some of the most memorable performances and series of the last ten years.
Gentleman Jack wowed critics and audiences alike when it aired on BBC One earlier this year. This was a Sunday-night period drama with a difference – based on the diaries of early 19th-century landowner, industrialist and traveller Anne Lister, it revealed a woman determined to explore her lesbian sexuality.
Wainwright was joined on stage by series consultant Anne Choma and folk duo O’Hooley & Tidow, the creators of the drama’s closing song, who also played a live set.
Finneran plays Cheshire housewife Nikki Kirkbright, who develops a close bond with David Marsden (Robert Bathhurst) through his job in personal finance.
Despite her luxurious lifestyle, there is more than meets the eye as it becomes apparent that Nikki's husband George (Robert Glenister) is not the man he seems.
When secrets are revealed, will David be able to help Nikki escape, or will he get tangled up in the situation?
Happy Valley actor Sarah Lancashire stars as social worker Miriam who is thrust into the spotlight when a child in her care, Kiri, is abducted and killed after an unsupervised visit to her biological family. The no-nonsense social worker loves and believes in her job, but has a maverick and instinctive approach to dealing with the children she looks after, which draws attention as the media buzz intensifies.
Miriam (Lancashire) and the families at the centre of the storm are forced to ask tough questions, not just of themselves, but of those they love the most.
The screenwriter received the Judges’ Award among others at the RTS Programme Awards 2017 for her “outstanding contribution to the UK’s television and media industry.”
“I feel very lucky that I have been able to achieve my ambitions and been able to do the things that I want to do,” she says humbly.
She is humble too about her past achievements: Baftas, RTS Awards, TV Choice Awards, Broadcast awards and more litter the shelves of her study in her Cotswold home.
“It’s nice to be recognised,” she says.
The animated pre-school series, School of Roars, is about five young monsters as they experience school for the first time.
The five monster-lings tackle each school day with the help of their lovable teacher Miss Grizzlesniff, voiced by Kathy Burke, who guides them through monstery classes in maths, music, cookery and life.
Sarah Lancashire appears as the Headmonstress, Mrs Twirlyhorn, and Sherlock villain Andrew Scott, plays the narrator – as well as a number of other characters including Mr Marrow the cookery teacher.
Speakers included Sally Wainwright, creator and writer of Happy Valley; Rohit Kachroo, ITV News Security Editor; documentary filmmaker Rowan Deacon and Suzy Lamb, Head of Entertainment at Thames TV.
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