Thursday, December 13, 2007

Yorke unveils drama series code of conduct

At a special event at the Writers' Guild last night, John Yorke, BBC Controller Drama Production Studios, unveiled a new code of conduct to cover drama series' work with writers.

In a wide-ranging speech, Yorke explained how he and his team have worked to put writers at the heart of the creative process on drama series. There had, he admitted, been difficulties on shows including Casualty and EastEnders in recent years following the big expansion in the number of episodes commissioned each year. We'll be posting a full report on the event on the Guild's website next week.

The code of conduct is as follows:

• All contracted scripts will be acknowledged on receipt, and writers will then be contacted within 24 hours to be given an indication of when notes will be given.

• Where possible notes will be given at face to face meetings or by phone. If notes are to be given by email, a courtesy phone call should precede the email.

• Productions will make allowances for writers’ time constraints where practicable.

• If scripts delivery schedules are changed, a new schedule will be put in place immediately.

• Adequate times must be scheduled for the completion of each draft.

• Writers will be guaranteed a clear editorial contact throughout the script process that covers for any staff leave or absence.

• Where possible, programmes should communicate clearly with writers as to whether they are likely to be used again.

• Writers will be told immediately when scripts are taken away from them, and the percentage rewrite involved will be indicated to them within two weeks.

• Scripts are deemed to be accepted on publication of the production script.

• Rebriefs are paid at a 10% minimum

1 comment:

  1. Writers complained about certain practices on some BBC soaps and long running series, and the Guild did something about it... as did, to his great credit, John Yorke. And quickly too. Our special event this week was an admirable example of cooperation and communication on both sides. And, as in the best of all worlds, each side went away with a better understanding of t'other and happier.

    John Yorke's Code of Conduct is to be applauded and also encouraged in other departments and companies. As you know, the Guild has been working on a Code of Practice of its own, which will be unveiled early in the New Year. When everyone's roles and expectations on both sides are clearly defined, it makes life easier for all... and we'll also know soon when rules are being respected or breached.

    Tom Green and I will both be writing fuller reports for you next week, but I want to thank John Yorke and all the other BBC execs who joined us at the Guild for a very frank and welcome debate. It was great to see so many writers too. As I said on the night, all any of us want is to make the best television shows possible. Now let's all get back to our writing with a spring in our steps and renewed vigour. And God bless us, everyone!


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