Melvyn Bragg was talking at a special live edition of The South Bank Show, featuring four of the UK’s leading TV writers – Jed Mercurio (writer and creator of hit police corruption thriller Line of Duty); Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith (black comedy anthology Inside No. 9); and Heidi Thomas (period drama Call the Midwife) – discussing their craft.
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.
The Downton Abbey producer will train emerging writers in a series of in-depth sessions, working on their ideas in a collaborative environment.
“We are always seeking to expand our horizons in terms of the best writing talent, and take our responsibility to nurture talent very seriously," said Carnival Films' Executive Chairman, Gareth Neame. "Collective is a great way of doing just that and we’re delighted to be working with some of the most exciting, emerging creative voices coming out of the UK today.”
Channel 4 has commissioned the writers Tracey Malone (Silent Witness) and Kate Ashfield (Line of Duty) for their first drama series as a duo.
The psychological thriller, under working title Born to Kill, will be made by World Productions, and looks into the mind of a teenage boy who suppresses psychopathic desires.
Plans to put BBC Three online could rob a new generation of comedy writers and performers of the opportunity to find an audience, said Jessica Knappett, creator of E4 sitcom Drifters.
Knappett, who writes and stars in the series said: "I feel like BBC Three going online is a door closing, it's an opportunity that's been taken away from me. I feel personally it's exactly the sort of channel I would write for and I found it difficult enough to get an audience on E4."
So, it’s a great story with great atmosphere, a range of colourful characters to whom lots of stuff happens and it's even a major bestseller, such as “The Casual Vacancy”. Is that it? Does it follow that great tv drama will ensue?
Does an epic novel automatically make for multi-series, unmissable TV? And do the rules change when the material is autobiographical and the author remains part of the process?
Phil Ford has written almost 200 episodes of TV Drama. His work spans popular drama series, and dramas for young people. Together with Russell T Davies, he co-created and executive produced WIZARDS & ALIENS for CBBC and before that was lead writer on the DR WHO spin-off THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES. He has also written for DOCTOR WHO and TORCHWOOD.