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Television Writers’ Festival returns for second year


Following the success of last year’s first ever Television Writers’ Festival which celebrated 10 years of the BBC writersroom, the festival returns to Leeds for the second year on 6 and 7 July at The Leeds College of Music.

As the BBC’s Creative Director of New Writing, Kate Rowland set up BBC writersroom and has run it since its inception. The festival brings together some of the country’s best writing, producing and commissioning talent to inspire and provoke debate amongst writers from across the country and invite them to have their say. Places are limited to writers with a television broadcast credit.

Kate Rowland says: “Last year’s inspirational festival proved to us that a festival dedicated to working writers, curated by their peers had a unique place in the broadcast landscape. Writers are at the heart of what we do and the festival gives them a chance to debate, listen and meet up with colleagues in a creative environment. It is a real privilege for me to be working again with such an array of talent to produce an event that is for all writers working across the industry. I am particularly delighted that Paula Milne will be giving the keynote address and that Jimmy McGovern is with us to talk about the role of the TV writer.”

The agenda has been created by the a committee of leading writers including Paula Milne, Toby Whitehouse, Jack Thorne and Stephen Butchard with input from last year’s participants.

New sessions have been added to the packed two-day schedule covering a wide rang of topics, many of which have been suggested by writers who attended last year.

They include : Is it the writer’s responsibility to change the world?; Developing different voices – representing modern Britain; Feeding the Beasts (EastEnders and Coronation Street); Controversy; Being your own boss? Writer training – can it be taught?; The curse of the scriptwriting guru; Writing for the Youth market; ITV – an insider view; a session on adaptation and a chance to meet the critics. Plus a special "in conversation with’ Jimmy McGovern to round off day one.

Seminars will be headed up by leading figures in the industry including Paula Milne, Jimmy McGovern, Hugo Blick, Tony Marchant, Jack Thorne, Roy Williams, Gwyneth Hughes, Bill Gallagher, Ben Stephenson, John Yorke, Nicola Schindler, Jane Featherstone, Justin Chadwick, Sarah Phelps, Danny Brocklehurst, Stephen Butchard, Polly Hill, Matthew Graham, Ashley Pharoah, Steve November, Toby Whithouse, Frank Spotnitz, Alice Nutter, William Ivory, Madonna Baptiste. They will cover a range of subjects including one on Thriller; how to launch a new series; and writing for daytime.

BBC writersroom has established itself as a home for new writers. They champion talent and diversity with writers at every stage of their career. Nurturing, training and mentoring more than 200 writers, through the BBC Writers’ Room they have gone on to produce hundreds of hours of original drama across TV and radio.

The writersroom helps unheard writers gain a voice and to tell new stories. A decade on it has grown significantly and reaches out to the industry as a whole from organisations including the UK Film Councils Regional Screen Agencies, Independent Production Companies, Universities and Theatres throughout the UK.

With over 45,000 unique users visiting the website each month, and the handling up to 10,000 scripts per year, BBC writersroom is dedicated to developing new talent that will shape the future of the industry.


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