Twelve people have joined a Channel 4 scheme designed to nurture TV drama writers in the West and South West of England – and take up the chance to submit a script to the broadcaster’s drama commissioning editor.
Twelve writers will be offered nine months of specialist support which includes in-person workshops and training, mentoring and introductions to scripted drama production companies.
After completing the scheme, participants will be able to submit a first draft script for consideration and feedback from Channel 4’s Drama Commissioning Editor, Gwawr Lloyd.
The writers* are from, or based, in a range of locations across the region including Bristol, Bodmin, Penzance, Plymouth, St Ives, Tavistock, Truro and Wimborne, and the group includes a wide range of people from a variety of diverse backgrounds.
Gwawr said: “This is a really fantastic opportunity for this group of writers to immerse themselves in the art and skills of writing TV drama, to work with a fantastic range of professionals over the next nine months and supercharge their careers.
“Nurturing the creativity of people with different lived experiences and from diverse backgrounds is an integral part of what Channel 4 stands for. The onus is on us to seek out the next generation of storytellers and provide new opportunities for them to flourish and succeed.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “This fantastic scheme demonstrates the value of the partnerships being forged in Bristol's growing creative sector, building on the success of us bringing Channel 4 to our UNESCO City of Film. It’s brilliant to see Bristolians making up a big part of the first cohort of the programme. I hope we will continue to see more stories on TV representing the broadest diversity of how our Bristol looks and sounds, thanks to the efforts of everyone involved in this scheme.”
Funded by 4Skills, the scheme has been devised by Channel 4’s Bristol hub in collaboration with Bristol UNESCO City of Film, its partners BFI NETWORK South West (made possible thanks to National Lottery funding and delivered regionally by Watershed), UWE Bristol and The Bottle Yard Studios.
The initiative is one of many projects being supported by 4Skills, Channel 4’s nationwide training and development strategy which aims to create over 15,000 opportunities nationwide in 2022 with a particular focus on people from diverse and disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds who want a career in broadcasting.
Alice Cabanas, Head of BFI NETWORK said: “We are really excited to see this Channel 4 scheme come to fruition, and we look forward to seeing this cohort of writers and their ideas develop during the process. The writers have been selected from right across the furthest points of the South West region to reflect the variety of stories in the area, demonstrating how effective regionally based activity can engage and support local talent and elevate stories with a strong sense of place.”
Lynn Barlow, Assistant Vice-Chancellor Creative and Cultural Industries Engagement, UWE Bristol, says: “This opportunity is a huge milestone in any writer’s career, so congratulations to those who’ve made the final selection. With an extraordinary number of high-quality submissions, they faced tough competition to secure their place, highlighting the exceptional talent we have in this region. Under the guidance of industry experts, I can’t wait to see their skills develop over coming months.”
The Channel 4 TV Drama New Writers Scheme (West and South West) invited applications from new and emerging writers based in West and South West of England, with a particular focus on diverse perspectives across the region.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Bristol UNESCO City of Film
In 2017 Bristol was designated UNESCO City of Film, a permanent status that recognises the city’s achievements as a world-leader in the field of film and moving image. Bristol is one of 21 Cities of Film worldwide and a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), a group of more than 295 creative cities working together towards a common mission for cultural diversity and sustainable urban development. The Bristol UNESCO City of Film action plan is led by Bristol City Council and delivered in collaboration with partners in the city.
Made possible through National Lottery funding, BFI NETWORK exists to discover and support talented writers, directors and producers at the start of their careers. We collaborate with film organisations and leading cultural venues across the UK to provide funding for short films, support for the development of first features, as well as a range of professional and creative development programmes. Watershed is the Lead Film Hub Organisation for Film Hub South West and home to two BFI NETWORK Talent Executives who nurture the South West’s new wave of filmmaking talent.
Find out more and watch supported work: https://network.bfi.org.uk/
The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol)
The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has a global and inclusive outlook, with approximately 30,000 students and strong industry networks and connections with over 1,000 employers. Research at UWE Bristol focuses on real world problems and the University plays a pivotal role in the regional economy. With over £300 million invested in infrastructure, buildings and facilities across all Campuses, UWE Bristol is creating a place for learning that is innovative, ambitious, connected, enabling and inclusive. UWE Bristol is ranked 36th in the Guardian university league table, as well as 4th in the South West of England for student satisfaction. www.uwe.ac.uk
The Bottle Yard Studios
A Bristol City Council initiative, The Bottle Yard Studios is the largest dedicated studio facility in the West of England. Located in South Bristol, the Studios are at the heart of a thriving TV and film industry in one of the UK’s most creative, film-friendly cities. Eight stages are available for hire across the seven-acre main site and three new premium sound stages will open in Summer 2022 at a neighbouring second site following West of England Combined Authority investment. Facilities include a 5,000 sq ft green screen studio, 20,000 sq ft of furnished production office space and a host of ancillary workspaces. More than 25 companies are based on site providing film and TV industry-related services. Recent productions include The Outlaws (BBC/Amazon), Chloe (BBC/Amazon), The Girl Before (BBC/HBO Max), Showtrial (BBC One), The Pursuit of Love (BBC/Amazon) and The Spanish Princess (Starz).
Zahra Ahmadi, Plymouth, Devon.
Lara Barbier, St Ives, Cornwall
Sharon Clark, Bristol
Ella Evans, Tavistock, Devon
Bryher Flanders, Truro, Cornwall
Rohan Gotobed, Wimborne, Dorset
James-Eden Hutchinson, Penzance, Cornwall
Amy Mason, Bristol
Alice McKee, Bristol
Oriah Miller, Bristol
Miles Sloman, Bodmin, Cornwall
Chris Yong, Bristol