Thursday, 30 July 2009

BBC nurtures new and young writing voices?

"There has never been a better time for new and young drama writers to get work onto our TV screens thanks to a number of BBC initiatives.

By targeting the very best new writers from fringe, theatre and radio, the Writers Academy alone, with its 90% success rate, has pumped a whole new generation of talent into continuing drama and now into the wider industry. But this is just a small part of the corporation’s growing commitment to new writing.

BBC Writersroom offers an extraordinary range of outreach schemes, partnerships with regional theatres and development projects for writers getting their first foot on the drama ladder. Its success has meant there are now more new voices than ever bringing their work and their vision to our screens.

In the last year alone, young and first-time writers have worked across all BBC channels on new pieces, as well as returning dramas such as Spooks and Being Human. Of particular note are BBC1’s Fiona’s Story, BBC3’s Personal Affairs and BBC4’s Long Walk to Finchley and Consuming Passions - original drama from the very best new talent in the industry, who sit alongside dozens more with original pieces in development.

New commissions from upcoming writers include Simon Stephens’ Dive, co-written with Dominic Savage, Tony Saint’s Syntax Era, Tom Butterworth and Chris Hurford’s Money, Joshua St Johnston’s Material Girl, Lindsay Shapiro’s Enid, Peter Harness’ Forgotten Fallen and Neil Cross’ Luther. With the Comedy College in its second year and the Writers Academy in its fifth, patronage of new writing has never been greater. And it is impossible to complete any overview without acknowledging the many voices Jimmy McGovern and his extraordinary team have nurtured on The Street.

Far from “spurning new talent for the tried and tested”, the BBC does more than any other broadcaster to support them. We take our responsibility in this area extremely seriously, are proud of their achievements and believe there will be many more to come."

John Yorke, controller, BBC Drama Production and New Talent


Over to you people - do you agree with John Yorke, or Lisa Campbell, who wrote "More worrying is the opposite of ageism - youthism? - which sees the BBC spurning new talent for the tried and tested. One drama producer trying to champion a young writer was told the BBC, as the only broadcaster really commissioning drama at the moment, was inundated with writers, and why should they go for young unknowns? Er, because they are the future?"

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