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.
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.
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.
Matthew Bell takes notes as top screenwriters explain how to pen a hit drama
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.
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.
The Screenwriting Goldmine Awards help talented British writers develop the right skills and contacts needed to break into the industry. The screenplays can be in film, TV drama or pilot in any genre.
The competition allows talented writers to have their screenplays read by over 33 leading industry professionals from the likes of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and HBO.
Entries should be submitted via the website at www.awards.screenwritinggoldmine.com.
The Write To Green Light competition aims to develop a major new television series from the winning entry.
The competition is being run in conjunction with Lionsgate UK & Europe and seeks to address a “huge shortage of undiscovered television writing talent”, said Lionsgate UK & Europe CEO Zygi Kamasa.
Within a few minutes of taking tea with television writer Peter Bowker, it becomes clear why he writes such effective dramas on subjects close to his heart. He is a people person: curious, observant and fascinated by family dynamics and human quirks. At one point, he suddenly directs a question at me, and I realise how easy it would be to open up to him.
Aged 57, born in Stockport – his strong northern accent is still intact – he also tends to end every other sentence with laughter. When he talks about his fictional characters, it is as if they are real.