BBC Studios has revealed the candidates who have secured a place in its paid training program that offers up-and-coming writers the chance to gain the skills needed to pen TV drama and to write broadcast episodes for some of the BBC’s most successful continuing dramas.
Following an intensive 13-week classroom period—led by Writers’ Academy Head John Yorke—Jess Green, Katerina Watson, Emma Dennis-Edwards, Rebekah Harrison, Lydia Marchant, Jennie Davis, Tom Powell and Kellie Smith will all spend three months scripting broadcast episodes of Casualty, Holby City and EastEnders alongside other continuing dramas. Each graduate will leave with up to four scripts under their belt and have their services optioned by BBC Studios over the following two years.
The students will also get to hear from guest speakers such as Jed Mercurio (Bodyguard, Line of Duty), Sophie Petzal (Blood, Red Rock), Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Years and Years), Anna Symon (Mrs Wilson, Deepwater), Tony Jordan (EastEnders, Life on Mars) and Jimmy McGovern (The Street, Broken).
“I still can’t quite believe it,” said Marchant. “I’m so excited to develop my screenwriting skills with expert support from John and the BBC. And to have the chance to write for some of the U.K.’s most iconic shows is incredible.”
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of this year’s Academy. An opportunity to gain such insight and practical training in television feels like a rare and invaluable experience these days and one that I hope will help me push on to the next stage in my career,” commented Smith.
Yorke added: “We arrived at our final eight, with no pre-conceived plan—the only criteria was excellence. It’s been thrilling to see not just a vast increase in female candidates, but a far greater percentage in the final stages than ever before. That seven of our eight students are female is an indication that something has shifted—and something very exciting is happening with the next generation of writers.”
Mark Linsey, BBC Studios’ chief creative officer, commented: “Investing in new and emerging talent to tell quintessential British stories is at the heart of BBC Studios’ IP strategy, as well as being crucial to the continued success and performance of our production output. The Writers’ Academy has already demonstrated a knack for finding and nurturing talent on the cusp of their greatest work which suggests that these successful candidates might just be household names before too long, thrilling us with their material and unique storytelling.”