Last night the Chief Creative Officer of BBC Vision, Peter Salmon, outlined his plans in a speech to the Royal Television Society. Among the initiatives singled out was the BBC Writers' Academy.
We've also had terrific success with the Writers' Academy run by John Yorke, training many writers for Continuing Drama Series on BBC Television. Some of the new crop – this year's rising stars – are here tonight. They do an initial three-month course made up of lectures and workshops with the best in the business – and each writer is commissioned to write an episode of Doctors. If their script if accepted for broadcast, they then go on to do a year's intensive writing for EastEnders, Casualty and Holby, mentored by the lead writer on the show.
One graduate, Ian Kershaw, now a core writer on Holby, described the scheme like this: "Writing for television can feel like running across a muddy field at night pursued by man-eating pigs... the Academy gives you a torch."
I think I understand that...
It's a really imaginative and successful scheme. At present it only covers England – but I'd like to find a way to spread coverage to the rest of the UK, and also across other programme areas.