In just 20 years, Russell T Davies has left an indelible mark on British television. From Queer as Folk, via Doctor Who, to this year’s dystopian chiller Years and Years, Davies has written unforgettable drama. His work – like the writer in person – is opinionated and loud, but also warm and human.
Lorna Martin, who won the inaugural Writers Award at the RTS Scotland Awards in June, encouraged would-be writers in the audience to put pen to paper: “People want your story. There’s so many production companies and they want content.”
Martin – who adapted her best-selling book, Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, for UKTV channel W and RTÉ2 (Women on the Verge) – continued: “Look for the type of production company whose shows resonate with you or [make] shows you like – I think that’s crucial.”
She added: “And send them a nice email.”
In June at this year's RTS Scotland Awards , we presented the inaugural Writer's Award to Lorna Martin for her newly scripted TV comedy, "Women on the Verge". As a society who celebrates the craft within our industry, we are delighted to bring you an evening with three successful and established TV writers.
If anyone ever doubted that comedy and tragedy go hand in hand, look no further than the much-garlanded BBC Two sitcom, Mum, starring Lesley Manville as Cathy, a late-middle-aged mother coming to terms with the death of her husband.
Making a TV audience laugh is among the most difficult skills for any screenwriter to learn, but to make them laugh one minute and almost cry a few moments later is the hallmark of a very special talent.
At a time when there is growing evidence that television is dominated by people at the upper end of the social scale, a new writing scheme hopes to break though the medium’s so-called “class ceiling”. With luck, it may also broaden the range of voices heard across TV drama.
The week begins with an epic clear-out of my extremely messy home office in time for a makeover. Marie Kondo I am not. What does spark joy, though, is a small brass plaque inside one of the fitted cupboards. It reads: “Specially installed for Lynne Perrie.” This is a reminder that soap history is literally in the walls here.
“I think everyone can relate to that [feeling]” comments the 34-year-old. “When you’re 16 and you think everything’s conspiring against you.”
The award-winning drama garnered a cult following almost overnight earlier this year when it debuted on Channel 4 and shortly followed globally on Netflix.
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.
Red Planet has invited four rising screenwriters to join the programme, where they will be paired with an established showrunner to develop an original idea from the its inception to production.
The first stage of the scheme will see the writers develop a contemporary crime thriller. The eight-part series, set in London, will be developed from start to finish by the Writers’ Room and be led by Red Planet CEO Tony Jordan.
Co-writer of Sky 1's You, Me and the Apocalypse Mickey Down explains how to write for drama.
Last year he was on a panel discussion at the RTS Futures Christmas Party which focused on diversity in the television industry.
Here he reveals that avoiding cliché is key when writing for the genre.