South West Screen helps local drama writers pitch to BBCCongratulations to the final eight and special congratulations to Bryony, a fellow Bournemouth resident.
South West Screen and BBC Writersroom have teamed up with BBC Independent Drama Commissioning to fast track eight of the region’s most talented writers into television drama.
The eight recently took part in a two-day workshop near Corsham in the latest stage of South West Voices, a professional development scheme run by BBC Writersroom to give both experienced and emerging writers the chance to receive industry and peer group support and help develop their projects. Previous writers found and nurtured by BBC Writersroom have gone on to work on dramas including Eastenders, Doctor Who, and Waking the Dead.
The collaboration has arisen from the Bristol-BBC-Anchor partnership, which was signed last year between the BBC and Bristol City Council, South West Screen, the South West RDA and other key media enablers in the region.
It follows on from a visit to the region from Ben Stephenson, the Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning last year. Ben outlined his vision of the future of BBC drama during the visit and this week saw the latest steps to bring these ideas to fruition.
Writers were originally asked to submit a pitch for an original series, serial or single drama idea for television, along with a full-length sample script. From 120 submissions, 18 shortlisted writers were then invited to a workshop day in Bristol to meet BBC Writersroom, BBC Independent Drama Commissioning and South West Screen, and from those, eight writers were selected for the two-day residential workshop. The eight have each been paired with a mentor from the Commissioning team and now have three months to develop their ideas before formally pitching them to the BBC in September.
The eight writers come from across the South West region, including Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Bristol.
BBC Writersroom previously ran the ‘Breakers’ competition in the South West in 2004 with the support of South West Screen, but this is the first time BBC Independent Drama Commissioning has been involved in such a programme in the region.
The programme demonstrates the BBC’s ongoing commitment to original drama production in the region, following the announcement of loss from the region of popular BBC dramas, Casualty and Being Human, to Cardiff, the BBC’s designated centre for excellence for drama production, last year.
The eight writers who took part in the workshop were:
• Dom Rowe (Bristol)
• Miles Chambers (Bristol)
• Rachel Joyce (Stroud)
• Carol Noble (Exeter)
• Tom Wainwright (Bristol)
• Sean Grundy (Weston-Super Mare)
• Peter Jordi - Wood (Truro)
• Bryony Ive (Bournemouth)
It was great ego boost to be included in the final eighteen who met at BBC Bristol, especially considering the amount of quality, talented writers there, with good solid writing credits. It's nice to know that my writing attracted attention from the people at the BBC Writersroom and BBC Commissioning, despite not having the credits others had. I'm certainly not resting on my laurels having already formed a writing partnership with another writer invited to Bristol, working on a brand new TV drama series we're planning to pitch to the BBC Commissioning team.
If you see another scheme like this then go for it, because you never know what doors it might open up for you.