Monday, November 05, 2007

Event for Writers of BBC Long-Running Drama Series

Do you write for a long-running drama series? Would you like to write Holby City, Casualty, EastEnders or Doctors? Do you have experience of working on any of those shows? If so, this is a unique opportunity to hear about how the BBC have been adapting their shows - and the working conditions on them - to make them more writer-friendly shows.

John Yorke, Controller Drama Production Studios for the BBC will be talking about changes he's made to the BBC's working practices and ways in which he is working to put writers back at the heart of the creative process. He will also be taking questions on this subject.

Other senior BBC drama executives will also be attending this event and will be available for questions.

This event is intended primarily for professional writers working in the TV industry and not as an opportunity to learn about ways in. Speakers will focus on current working practices in the BBC and ways in which the role and profile of writers on long-running drama series are changing.

The session will be chaired by Gail Renard, Chair of the Writers' Guild TV Committee on Wednesday 12 December 2007, 7pm until 9pm at the Writers' Guild Centre, 15 - 17 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JN.

If you would like to submit questions anonymously in advance of the event, please send them to

Tickets cost £5 for Guild members and £7.50 for non-members. There will be an opportunity to have a complimentary glass of wine and socialise after the event.

To book, please send a cheque to 'BBC Long-running Series Event', Writers' Guild, 15 - 17 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JN. Cheques should be made out to the Writers' Guild of Great Britain or email:

Gail Renard, Chair of the WGGB TV Committee, adds:

From time to time, the Guild receives complaints from members about series on which they’re writing. We always look into these complaints and take them seriously. Being writers, I’m surprised we don’t all complain a lot more. We work in a stressful, fast-paced, competitive industry where niceties… on both sides… can often fall by the wayside. And rumour has it we’re all human.

A few months ago, the Guild received many similar grievances about long-running series which we couldn’t ignore. A brave writer even wrote about his experiences on this blog. We took the issues to the BBC Forum, the meeting ground of the BBC/ PMA (Personal Managers Association) and the Guild; a civilised arena where we all get to share our concerns and resolve problems in a mature, Zen-like way. (I’m also pleased to announce an ITV Forum will be starting soon.)

As always, the BBC had enough respect for our members’ worries that they arranged a meeting for us with John Yorke, Controller Drama Production Studios for the BBC, and some producers from BBC soaps and long-running series, who were able to give us and our members many assurances. The outcome is that John Yorke, along with other senior BBC drama execs, will be coming to the Guild on December 12th for an event, to talk to you themselves. This is your chance to hear what they have to say, and to put any questions you’d like to the panel. The questions can be submitted to the Guild anonymously in advance, and I’ll read them out in my best voice. I’d like to thank John Yorke and all the execs for taking the Guild’s members’ concerns so seriously, and we look forward to seeing them.

The Guild listens to writers’ problems and does our best to solve them. This is your Guild in action.

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