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Writersroom BBC Interview

Posted on 08 January 2009. © Copyright 2004-2018 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Paul Ashton, Development Manager for the BBC's Writersroom

Tell us all about Writersroom; history, ethos, who’s who etc

Writersroom came about from the New Writing Initiative which was set up by Kate Rowland when she was head of BBC Radio Drama, and felt she wasn’t seeing the really fresh, new, diverse voices coming through into their work. When she left that role, Kate became Creative Director, New Writing, and Writersroom became a department which ran an unsolicited script system and found/developed writers across BBC drama, comedy and childrens programmes.

Kate continues to oversee Writersroom, Paul Ashton is the Development Manager, Katherine Beacon is the Project Manager based in Manchester, we have a small team running the unsolicited system, schemes, projects and the website, and we have a team of freelance script readers.

Our ethos is to bring the best new writers and diverse voices to BBC drama and comedy, across film, TV, radio and online, and to develop them for the long-term at the BBC.

What excites you about a piece of writing-

Great characters and an emotional connection with them. Boldness of ideas. A story that hooks and grips you from beginning to end. Writers that bring something fresh and unusual to an archetype or genre. Dialogue that sparkles and feels authentic. Stories we’ve never heard before. Perspectives we’ve never seen before. Narratives with a sense of dynamic structure and momentum. Stories which are passionately told and emotionally bold. Ideas that show a sense of ambition and intelligence in the writer.

and what makes your heart sink?

Scripts that don’t do any of the above. Writers that aren’t aware just how fierce the competition is out there. Writers that send in ideas we’ve seen a million times before.

How would you sum up what Writersroom does/intends to do- what makes it stand out?

As above - our ethos is to bring the best new writers and diverse voices to BBC drama and comedy, across film, TV, radio and online, and to develop them for the long-term at the BBC. This is also part of what makes us unique in the industry. Nowhere else offers the breadth of possibilities for writers. Nowhere else in broadcasting accepts unsolicited scripts in an on-going system like ours. And the work we do has led to literally hundreds of writers being commissioned and produced at the BBC, many of whom are cementing what will doubtless be a long and fruitful relationship.



A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.







Comments by other Members



vanessa rigg at 14:37 on 21 January 2009  Report this post
If anyone's interested, Paul is currently posting an advice series called "The Perfect Ten" on BBC writersroom blogs at the moment.

Vanessa


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