screenwriting

Jeff Pope reflects on his TV career in screenwriting

Martin Freeman in A Confession (Credit: ITV)

You could be forgiven for thinking that Jeff Pope was obsessed by the macabre. Why else would he be drawn to such odious topics as the Moors murders, serial killer Fred West or Britain’s last hangman, Albert Pierrepoint?

He puts it like this: “If drama is about conflict, which it is, you’re looking for the extremes of conflict. Those areas are love, fate and, I would argue, crime.

“I am not a depressive person or ghoulish but it’s the old journalist in me: there’s a good story in it.”

BBC Studios launches Writers' Academy

Participants will write for shows including EastEnders (Credit: BBC / Kieron McCarron)

Led by former BBC and Channel 4 Head of Drama John Yorke, the Writers’ Academy will offer writers in the early stage of their careers the chance to develop their skills on some of the BBC’s long-running drama series.

The paid scheme will see successful applicants complete an intensive 13-week classroom period, followed by three months scripting episodes of Casualty, Holby City and EastEnders.

Participants will graduate with up to four scripts to their name, and will have their services optioned by BBC Studios for the next two years.

Lisa McGee discusses the success of Derry Girls and female-led comedies

Derry Girls Mural (Credit: Channel 4)

Peek around the corner of Badgers Bar in Derry and you’ll see the larger-than-life faces of Erin, Clare, Michelle, Orla and James plastered over the wall. As far as signs of a show’s success go, they don’t get much bigger than a five-metre-high mural.

From the moment the profane and brilliant Derry Girls burst on to our screens last year in a haze of teenage escapades, nostalgic music and 1990s artefacts – such as pastel printed wallpaper, Baby-G watches and armed soldiers on the streets – it captivated its audience.

RTS Student Masterclasses 2018: from journalism to camerawork

Ruth Pitt, Pia Di Ciaula and Rick Barker (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

Journalism

Clive Myrie

Journalist and presenter, BBC News

In an era of widespread concern about fake news, trusted and experienced correspondents such as the BBC’s award-winning Clive Myrie are more important than ever.

Mike Bartlett discusses new drama Press

Charlotte Riley stars in Press (Credit: BBC)

Theatre playwrights and TV screenwriters tend to be different animals who spend most of their time in one cage. Sir David Hare occasionally takes a break between National Theatre commissions to write a TV series, such as BBC Two’s recent Collateral, and Dennis Potter did a single theatre play, Sufficient Carbohydrate, but these were recognisably excursions from their main creative space.

Doctor Who announces writers and directors for new series

(Credit: BBC)

Showrunner Chris Chibnall commented, “Hailing from a range of backgrounds, tastes and styles, here’s what unites them: they are awesome people as well as brilliant at their job. (It matters!) They love Doctor Who. And they’ve all worked above and beyond the call of duty in an effort to bring audiences something special, later this year.”

Past notable writers have included Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams and Richard Curtis.

Jed Mercurio's advice for screenwriters

Line of Duty (Credit: BBC)

Now's a great time to get into writing for TV. There have never been more opportunities for scripted programming. To stand out from the crowd, an idea should seem original and distinctive.

While the breadth of programming has increased, the traditional formats have remained dominant. Your writing should fit the standard models for a mini-series, a serial or an episodic series; 30 minutes for comedy, 60 minutes for drama.

Cracking Telly: Screenwriter Ryan Brown shares his story

"I probably have more of a writer's soul than an actor's soul" - Ryan Brown

Although still early in his career himself, Brown has been making waves, having won the Bafta New Writing Prize of Drama in 2016, and been runner up in an Idris Elba-fronted writing competition, 'Write to Greenlight'.

Competitions are now key to breaking into the industry as a young writer, he believes. While in the past it was possible to get your break with a killer script and the right opportunity, now young writers need an ‘in’. Competitions, he believes, are the key.

Watch: Expert tips on entertainment, journalism, documentaries and drama

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.

We've rounded up the very best of the day's tips in the video below.