Friday, January 30, 2009
MARTIN ALLEN wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Monday 2nd February.
DAVID ASHTON'S radio play McLevy is going out on Radio 4 at 2:15pm on Tuesday 3rd February.
JESSE ARMSTRONG, SAM BAIN and SIMON BLACKWELL'S new 6-part sitcom The Old Guys is going out on BBC1 at 9.30pm on Saturday 31st. Starring Roger Lloyd Pack, Clive Swift, Jane Asher and Katherine Parkinson.
MARK BURT wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 8:30pm on Monday 2nd February.
JOHN CHAMBERS wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Tuesday 3rd February.
GABY CHIAPPE wrote the episode of Lark Rise To Candleford going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Sunday 1st February.
ANNA CLEMENTS wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Friday 6th February.
PAUL COATES wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Tuesday 3rd February.
DAVE COHEN thought it was about time someone made a documentary about the work life balance so he went and did it himself. It will be going out on BBC Radio 4 at 11am on Monday 2 Feb. And you can always catch it at listen again on for a week after or download it as a podcast
DAVID CROFT and JIMMY PERRY wrote the episode of Dad's Army "When Did You Last See Your Money?" going out on BBC2 at 6:30pm on Saturday 31st January.
CHRIS FEWTRELL wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 8:30pm on Friday 6th February.
RACHEL FLOWERDAY wrote the episodes of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Monday 2nd and at 7:30pm on Tuesday 3rd February.
FRASER GRACE'S play The Lifesavers is being performed at Theatre 503 from 27th January till 21st February. To find out more and to book tickets go to www.theatre503.com or call on 0207 978 7040.
JONATHAN HARVEY wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Friday 6th February.
Congratulations to GUY HIBBERT who won the prestigious World Cinema Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival last week for Five Minutes of Heaven.
STEVE HUGHES wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Wednesday 4th February.
LINDA M. JAMES'S book How To Write Great Screenplays has been published by How To Books. To find out more, please visit www.writingunderwater.co.uk.
DAVID LEMON wrote the screenplay for the feature film comedy Faintheart which opened this week at cinemas nationwide3. It will be released on DVD from Monday 2nd February.
Congratulations to MIKE LEIGH who has been nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay for Happy-Go-Lucky.
BILL LYONS wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Friday 6th February.
TONY MCHALE wrote the episode of Trial & Retribution "Shooter" 1/2 going out on ITV1 at 9:00pm on Friday 6th February.
ROY MITCHELL wrote the episode of New Tricks "Casualty" going out on BBC1 at 9:00pm on Wednesday 4th February.
DEBORAH MOGGACH's dramatisation of The Diary of Anne Frank continues on BBC2 on Saturday 31st January from 5.00 - 6.30 pm.
JONATHAN MYERSON'S radio play The Invasion: Arab Chronicles of the First Crusade is going out on Radio 4 at 3:00pm on Sunday 1st February.
WILLIAM NICHOLSON has been commissioned by Shine Pictures to write a screenplay, “1066,” about the confrontation between England’s King Harold and William, Duke of Normandy (William the Conqueror), for control of the English throne.
HOWARD OVERMAN wrote the episode of Demons "Smitten" going out on ITV1 at 7:50pm on Saturday 31st January.
GILLIAN RICHMOND wrote the episodes of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 7:30pm on Thursday 5th and at 8:00pm on Friday 6th February.
SI SPENCER wrote the episode of The Bill "One Year On" going out on ITV1 at 8:00pm on Thursday 5th February.
TIM STIMPSON wrote the episodes of The Archers going out on Radio 4 at 7:00pm from Sunday 1st February till Friday 6th February with each episode being repeated at 2:00pm the day following its original broadcast.
TOM STOPPARD's show, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, originally created along with the composer Andre Previn in 1977, is currently revived at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre.
JOHN SULLIVAN wrote the episode of The Green Green Grass going out on BBC1 at 8:30pm on Thursday 5th February.
JOE TURNER wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on 4th February.
KATHARINE WAY wrote the episode of Doctors "Wanted" going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Tuesday 3rd February.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Whether you're a long-time reader of this blog or brand new today, a Guild member a not, an established professional writer or a novice, from the UK or overseas, we'd find it really helpful if you'd complete this very short survey.
It asks a few questions about you and a few about how we might develop this blog. It should only take one or two minutes to complete.
Update (29.01.09): I've just noticed that last week on his blog John August posted a detailed analysis of the making of his web pilot The Remnants, including budget and casting.
The Remnants from John August on Vimeo.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Long-running 1960s police drama Heartbeat has become the latest casualty of the media advertising recession, with ITV shelving production of a new series as it seeks to cut programming costs.Update (29.01.09): According to BBC News, ITV insists that Heartbeat has not been cancelled.
ITV confirmed today that Heartbeat, first broadcast in 1992, and spin-off hospital drama The Royal will not be recommissioned after the current production cycle is complete later this year.
The broadcaster was not able to say when or if Heartbeat and The Royal would go back into production, putting the future of both shows in doubt.
It is understood that by the end of the year more than a series worth of shows will have been made and ITV wants to broadcast them before making new ones.
But the channel insisted the show was still an important part of its schedule amid reports it is to be axed.
There are extensive tributes, obituaries and archive materials in The Guardian (including a piece by Martin Amis), The Times, The Telegraph, The Independent and The New York Times.
The New York Times also has a recent video interview and some extracts of his wonderful prose, including this, from the story Separating.
The court, clay, had come through its first winter pitted and windswept bare of redcoat. Years ago the Maples had observed how often, among their friends, divorce followed a dramatic home improvement, as if the marriage were making one last effort to live; their own worst crisis had come amid the plaster dust and exposed plumbing of a kitchen renovation. Yet, a summer ago, as canary-yellow bulldozers gaily churned a grassy, daisy-dotted knoll into a muddy plateau, and a crew of pigtailed young men raked and tamped clay into a plane, this transformation did not strike them as ominous, but festive in its impudence; their marriage could rend the earth for fun.Updike was a frequent contributer to The New Yorker and it has various tributes including from T.C. Boyle.
What most impressed me about him, aside from his exquisite linguistic ability, was the breadth of his work and the way in which he devoted his life uncompromisingly to literature. His stories are touchstones—I think of the gorgeous and heartbreaking Maples stories—and the Rabbit novels represent an achievement no one has equalled in our time. But perhaps my favorites among all his books are the rollicking, hilarious Bech books, which he seemed to shake out just to demonstrate his range.Time to head for the bookshelves. I think I'll start with some short stories...
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
West End theatres enjoyed another record-breaking year in 2008 despite the economic downturn, figures reveal.Although the West End is increasingly dominated by musical theatre, it still retains a degree of diversity - despite the competition from the subsidised sector. For example, the West End in 2008 staged plays by writers including Harold Pinter, David Eldridge and Neil LaBute.
The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) said box office takings increased by 3%, totalling more than £480m.
Audiences were also up 1% on 2007, reaching 13.8m as musicals, plays and dance performances proved popular.
Monday, January 26, 2009
It is pleasing to see that, despite children’s TV not being listed as a top priority, Ofcom recognises “the value of choice in public service content for children”, and states that if this need for choice cannot be met sufficiently then “Government should consider funding specifically for children’s content.”
It's also heartening to see Ofcom calling for a speedy response, with decisions being made “within the next year”, recognising that “the current model of public service broadcasting is clearly no longer sustainable.”
However, on looking at the detail, the recommendations are conditional, with the caveat “If funding is available”. Government and broadcasters have been given an excuse to do nothing. Yet again children and their needs are in danger of being shuffled to back of the queue.
There needs to be a braver vision and more forward-thinking solution, before it is too late.
RAY BROOKING wrote the episode of Doctors "Moments In The Sun" going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Tuesday 27th January.
MARK BURT wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Monday 26th January.
STEVE CHAMBERS' radio dramatisation of James Ellroy's autobiography My Dark Places starring Toby Stephens as Ellroy and Matthew Marsh is being broadcast by BBC WORLD DRAMA Saturday 24th January 8:00pm on the BBC World Service.
DAVID CROFT and JIMMY PERRY wrote the episode of Dad's Army "All Is Safely Gathered In" going out on BBC2 at 6:30pm on Saturday 24th January.#
HELEN FARRALL wrote the episode of Doctors "Tears of a Clown" going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Wednesday 28th January.
BILL GALLAGHER wrote the episode of Lark Rise to Candleford going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Sunday 25th January.
ROB GITTINS wrote the episodes of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 7:30pm on Tuesday 27th and Thursday 29th January.
JAYNE HOLLINSON wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Friday 30th January.
LINDA JAMES' book How to Write Great Screenplays is about to be published by How To Books.
DAVID LANE wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Wednesday 28th January.
PAULINE McLYNN's new novel, Missing You Already, has recently been published. It got a terrific review in the Irish Times
HEATHER ROBSON wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Monday 26th January.
CAROLE SIMPSON SOLAZZO wrote the episodes of The Archers going out on Radio 4 at 7:00pm from Sunday 25th January till Friday 30th January with each episode being repeated at 2:00pm the day following its original broadcast.
STEVE TRAFFORD wrote the episode of The Bill "Feet of Clay" going out on ITV1 at 8:00pm on Wednesday 28th January.
NICK WOOD'S new play My Name is Stephen Luckwell opens this week in Nottingham and then tours until March mainly to schools and colleges. It returns to Nottingham Playhouse for the w/b 16th February.
KARIN YOUNG wrote the episodes of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Thursday 29th and Friday 30th January.
Update (27.01.09): I've just done an interview with Guy about the film that should be up on the Guild website early next week.
We’re fit to bursting with pride: not one but three different authonomy authors have been signed up to HarperCollins. Each one has a very different story to tell of the journey to acquisition, which we hope is an encouraging sign. World rights have been acquired in all three cases...The three successful writers are Steven Dunne, Miranda Dickinson and Melanie Davies. From Alison Flood in The Guardian:
Kate Hyde at HarperCollins says that Authonomy provides a more effective way of addressing the towering piles of unsolicited manuscripts - more than 1,000 a month - that HarperCollins currently receives: "It gives oxygen and visibility to the slush pile by making it sortable."
Friday, January 23, 2009
Long-running police drama The Bill will drop one of its weekly episodes and move to a once-a-week 9pm slot in a major shakeup of ITV1's peaktime schedule.Update (30.01.09): On his blog, The Guardian's Gareth McLean says the decision is linked to ITV's expenditure on rights for Champions League and FA Cup football.
The police drama, which has screened as two hour-long weekly episodes for more than a decade, will be repositioned in the post-watershed 9pm to 10pm slot as a grittier action-filled series airing once a week.
It is understood that the budget for each episode will be increased but that ITV will save money on its deal with The Bill's producer, Talkback Thames, after cutting the number of episodes each year by 50%.
Instead of investing in drama - nurturing writers, training and employing crew - ITV has lined the pockets of footballers. I'm not suggesting television should be run as a job creation scheme for producers, dolly grips and actors, but should a broadcaster such as ITV be feathering the nest of the likes of UEFA and the FA? I can understand ITV trying to shore up its weeknight 9pm slot with drama; a timeslot the channel used to own 10 years ago, with the likes of Peak Practice and Soldier, Soldier. But moving an already established show to 9pm means there is one less drama slot at that time.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Best Original Screenplay
- Frozen River by Courtney Hunt
- Happy Go Lucky by Mike Leigh
- In Bruges by Martin McDonagh
- Milk by Dustin Lance Black
- Wall-E by Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon based on a story by Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter
Best Adapted Screenplay
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by Eric Roth - Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Doubt by John Patrick Shanley based on his own play
- Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan based on his own play
- The Reader by David Hare based on the book by Bernhard Schlink
- Slumdog Millionaire by Stephen Beaufoy based on the book by Vikas Swarup
Happy Go Lucky trailer
It has just been announced that cult comedians Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler’s loopy web adventure, Penelope: Princess Of Pets is to be developed by Channel 4. This goofball magic realism mix of real-life acting plus bike-riding turtles and assassin sheep was originally screened on comedy website Super Deluxe. Its transfer could be the tipping point where talent comes from the web rather than traditional comedy casting couches such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Edinburgh’s Fringe may eventually be reclaimed by comedy fans as the TV talent spotters become glued to their laptops: "Media people are inherently lazy," says Sarah Farrell, director of content at Paramount Comedy. "They don’t want to go to 27 shows a day, so the internet is a good way of viewing new talent. It also lends itself to making you feel like you ‘found’ that talent – even if there are 1,085,432 other hits."
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The latest statistics from the UK Film Council paint a mixed picture for film in the UK in 2008. While UK box office receipts reached a record high, film production spend in the UK was down compared with the previous year.
Cinema-going continues to be one of the nation's favourite activities with box office takings for the UK and Republic of Ireland hitting £949.5 million, up 5% on 2007's £904 million, and the highest since records began in 1989.
British films also accounted for 31% of cinema takings, the second highest in a decade.
There's extensive coverage in Media Guardian and Broadcast with the debate centring on questions that went unanswered by Ofcom, such as who Channel 4 should partner with and how.
In summary, we believe that the four top priorities are:
To maintain the BBC’s role and funding for its programmes and services at the heart of the overall system.
To support investment in and wide availability of high quality original programming and UK and international news, by positioning the Channel 3 and Channel 5 services as commercial networks with a limited public service commitment, with modest licence benefits balanced by appropriate obligations on a sustainable basis.
To plan now to ensure the supply of a choice of high quality news alongside the BBC in the devolved nations and English regions. This should include developing proposals for a new approach based on independently funded news consortia.
To ensure there is a financially robust alternative provider of public service content alongside the BBC, with Channel 4 at its heart, preferably based on partnerships, joint ventures or mergers, with the scale necessary to sustain effective delivery of public purposes across digital media. A new remit, governance and accountability will be essential.
We recognise also the value of choice in public service content for children and in the devolved nations. If these needs cannot be met sufficiently by these recommendations then:
Government should consider funding specifically for children’s content, and the case for specific approaches in each of the devolved nations for the delivery of public service content other than news.
The idea of 'top-slicing' the BBC licence fee to pay for other public service broadcasting has been rejected, which is a relief to the Corporation.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Australian writer Harry Nicolaides has been sentenced to three years in a Thai jail for insulting the monarchy.There are more details in The Herald Sun. For background on the status of Thailand's monarchy, see a report in The Economist last month.
Nicolaides wrote a [self-published] novel four years ago, which contained a brief passage referring to an unnamed crown prince. It sold just seven copies.
He admitted the charge of insulting the royal family, but said he was unaware he was committing an offence.
Thailand's monarchy is sheltered from public debate by some of the world's most stringent "lese-majeste" laws.
It's a very depressing approach to drama because the imagination has no currency. Whereas with Wednesday Plays and Plays for Today, the audience set off without the slightest idea of what they were going to see. Also, remember, everyone wanted to work in television because you were joining a tradition - plays by people like Neville Smith and Nell Dunn and Tom Clarke, who all wrote brilliant plays. At BBC Pebble Mill in Birmingham, in the canteen you'd have lunch with Alan Bleasdale, Willy Russell and Mike Leigh, and you could talk about work. That culture has vanished.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
He was funny, subversive, kind, single-minded, rather vain (despite his unorthodox looks and bottle-bottom spectacles), shockingly flirtatious with women and extremely keen on having an audience. He straddled the worlds of advocacy and showbusiness with ease, but will probably be remembered most for creating a grouchy, middle-aged, ash-stained, poetry-quoting, claret-bibbing, henpecked defence lawyer called Horace Rumpole and pitching him into court battles on behalf of mainly under-class clients, whom he saved from perdition. Like Rumpole, Mortimer himself took on only defence cases. Although his legal work was overshadowed by his status as a bestseller, he was a stalwart fighter for freedom and against censorship. Often accused of being a "champagne socialist", he was a passionate liberal all his life.The Times has a series of Mortimer interviews and articles from their archive, while The Guardian has an obituary by Geoffrey Robertson QC.
He determined to be a writer, and on leaving school joined the Crown Film Unit, devising accounts of industrial and military Britain in wartime. But Clifford had other ideas, a clash captured in A Voyage Round My Father, the account by John of their relationship that first surfaced on BBC radio in 1963: "Father: ... if you were only a writer, who would you rub shoulders with? (with contempt) Other writers? You'll be far better off in the law. Son: I don't know. Father: No brilliance is needed in the law. Nothing but common sense, and relatively clean fingernails. Another thing, if you were a writer, think of your poor, unfortunate wife... Son: What? Father: She'd have you at home every day! In carpet slippers... Drinking tea and stumped for words! You'd be far better off down the tube each morning, and off to the law courts...
PERRIE BALTHAZAR wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Friday 23rd January.
TRACEY BLACK wrote the episode of Doctors "Arranged Family" going out on BBC1 at 21st January.
RAY BROOKING wrote the episode of River City going out on BBC Scotland on the 20th January.
RICHARD BURKE wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Monday 19th January.
DAVID CROFT and JIMMY PERRY wrote the episode of Dad's Army "The King Was in His Counting House" going out on BBC2 at 7:30pm on Saturday 17th January.
ANNE DEVLIN'S new radio play, The Forgotten, will be going out on BBC Radio 4 at 9.00pm on 17 January.
TIM DYNEVOR wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Thursday 22nd January.
JULIE JONES wrote the episodes of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm and 8:30pm on Friday 23rd January.
JUDITH JOHNSON'S play Starfish, about clinical trials, goes out on a tour of London Schools by Y-Touring Theatre Co (www.ytouring.org.uk) on the 23rd January.
IAN KERSHAW wrote the episode of Holby City "Just" going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Tuesday 20th January.
STEPHEN LOWE'S play Glamour is being performed at the Nottingham Playhouse from Friday 6th till Saturday 21st February for more info and to book tickets please call the box office on: 01159 419 419.
MYLES MCLEOD and his brother Greg have been nominated for a BAFTA in the Short Animation category for their film Codswallop.
LYN PAPADOPOLOUS wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Wwednesday 21st January.
JULIAN PERKINS wrote the episode of The Bill "Feet of Clay" going out on ITV1 at 8:00pm on Thursday 22nd January.
MARK RAVENHILL is adapting Nation, the novel by Terry Pratchett, for a new family show at the National Theatre.
BILL TAYLOR wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Wednesday 21st January.
JOANNA TOYE wrote the episodes of The Archers going out on Radio 4 at 7:00pm from Sunday 18th till Friday 23rd January with each episode being repeated at 2:00pm the day following its original broadcast.
MARTYN WADE'S dramatisation of Orley Farm concludes on Radio 4 at 9:00pm on Saturday 17th January.
PETER WHALLEY wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Monday 19th January.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
[ITV drama executive Keith] Richardson is stepping down as Emmerdale's executive producer, although he will remain as controller of drama for ITV subsidiary Yorkshire TV.
ITV's head of continuing drama series, Steve Frost, will take over the running of the programme. Frost is a former Emmerdale series producer and executive producer of Coronation Street.
He will continue in his ITV Network Centre commissioning role and carry on splitting his time between Leeds and London.
Apparently, Disney alone has 15 3-D films in the pipeline (although quite what that means isn't clear) and Fox are planning to release Avatar directed by James Cameron in 3-D at the end of the year.
The problem is that there still aren't enough 3-D screens to make it worthwhile.
“It’s starting to look like there will be a lot of disappointed producers unable to realize the upside of these 3-D investments,” said Harold L. Vogel, a media analyst and the author of “Entertainment Industry Economics.” Filming in 3-D adds about $15 million to production costs, he said, but can send profit soaring because of premium ticket pricing.
Only about 1,300 of North America’s 40,000 or so movie screens support digital 3-D. (Imax adds 250.) Overseas, where films now generate up to 70 percent of their theatrical revenue, only a few hundred theaters can support the technology. It costs about $100,000 for each full upgrade.
- Burn After Reading – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
- Changeling – J. Michael Straczynski
- I’ve Loved You So Long – Philippe Claudel
- In Bruges – Martin Mcdonagh
- Milk – Dustin Lance Black
- The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button – Eric Roth
- Frost/Nixon – Peter Morgan
- The Reader – David Hare
- Revolutionary Road – Justin Haythe
- Slumdog Millionaire – Simon Beaufoy
Update (16/01/2009): As he points out in the comments, Guild member Myles McLeod and his brother Greg have also been nominated in the Short Animation category for their film Codswallop. (Worth clicking on that link both to see the trailer and to read how the film came to be written.) Congratulations!
As a tribute, the TLS has published a selection of Imlah's poems and prose.
There are also obituaries in The Guardian and The Times.
Mick Imlah was one of the outstanding poets of his generation. Using his postmodernist Oxford background as a springboard, he vigorously reinvented himself as an ironical Scottish writer of unique humour and insight.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
"In the pre-budget report, the chancellor indicated that further efficiencies would have to be secured in the third year of the spending review. So, all parts of government have to hear that message and live in the real world. Some people may not like it, but the arts has to live in the real world too. Nobody is immune from what is happening.Over on The Guardian Theatre Blog, Lyn Gardner says that rather than being a threat, this might be an opportunity for theatre practitioners to break away from relying on public subsidy.
“Everybody needs, in this time that we’re in, to plan prudently and allow themselves maximum room for manoeuvre, because we...don’t know what 2009 will hold."
Nobody disputes the importance of public subsidy for the arts, but this is a can-do generation who see the credit crunch as an opportunity rather than a disaster (anyone for pick'n'mix theatre in an empty Woolworths?). Despite all the initiatives and money spent, none of the government's targets for public participation in arts activity between 2005 and 2008 have been met. Can the problems of over-reliance on public subsidy and generating new audiences be solved by simply thinking outside the box?
... in both shows, the ultimate plot twist – as much of a resolution as we ever got – was that all that dysfunction, madness, violence and contempt for human life, all those bodies of kids in Baltimore row houses and squalid deaths in New Jersey laybys were, in the final analysis, fuelled by one thing: money. That simple, and it would seem too bleak a message to be acknowledged by Hollywood – where bad guys are still cartoon boogeymen, instead of victims of a system that makes bad guys of us all.
The Edinburgh-based publisher [Canongate] has revealed plans to digitise its entire back catalogue, making its 450 titles available as downloadable e-books by the end of the year. And in a similar style to films coming with extra features when released on DVD, Canongate plans add-ons for anyone who buys an e-book...
"We're doing some really cool stuff that will turn some heads and break ground in the area of e-books," said Jamie Byng, the managing director. "We are using the medium, not just replicating content. That's where the real opportunities lie."
Jen Hadfield has unexpectedly won the 2008 TS Eliot Prize for Poetry with her second anthology Nigh-No-Place.
The 30-year-old, who has lived in Scotland and Canada, was called "a remarkably original poet" by judges' chairman Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Who would dare to write a book like The Satanic Verses nowadays? And if some brave or reckless author did dare, who would publish it? The signs in both cases are that no such writer or publisher is likely to appear, and for two reasons. The first and most obvious is fear. The Satanic Verses is a rich and complex literary novel, by turns ironic, fantastical and satirical. Despite what is often said, mostly by those who haven't read it, the book does not take direct aim at Islam or its prophet. Those sections that have caused the greatest controversy are contained within the dreams or nightmares of a character who is in the grip of psychosis. Which is to say that, even buried in the fevered subconscious of a disturbed character inside a work of fiction - a work of magical realism fiction! - there is no escape from literalist tyranny. Any sentence might turn out to be a death sentence. And few if any of even the boldest and most iconoclastic artists wish to run that risk.
Friday, January 09, 2009
There will be a book launch at Blackwells in Edinburgh on Thursday 29th January at 6.30.pm.
CAREY ANDREWS wrote the episode of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Friday 16th January.
RORY BREMNER gives a barbed farewell to outgoing American President George W Bush on BBC Radio 4 at 8.00 pm on Saturday 10 January. With the aid of the archive of his speeches, he looks at the evolution of Bush's rhetoric over the last eight years. With contributions from Bush's speech writers and political commentators, the programme explores whether Bush grew to become an effective orator and asks: did we "misunderestimate" him after all?
PAUL CAMPBELL wrote the episode of Doctors "Widow-to-Be" going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Wednesday 14th January.
DAVID COOK'S radio play Walter Now - staring Sir Ian McKellen - goes out on Radio 4 at 2:30pm on Saturday 10th January.
DAVID CROFT and JIMMY PERRY wrote the episode of Dad's Army "If the Cap Fits" going out on BBC2 at 8:30pm on Saturday 10th January.
RICHARD CURTIS co-wrote the episode of The Vicar of Dibley "Love and Marriage" going out on BBC1 at 9:30pm on Friday 16th January.
MARTIN DAY was the lead writer on the new CBBC series Crisis Control, which began last Friday. The second episode of which goes out on Saturday 10th January.
ANNE DEVLIN'S new radio play, The Forgotten, will be the Friday Play on BBC Radio 4 on 16th January at 9.00pm. Alarming lapses of memory lead to Bee losing her home and career. She returns home to her family and ageing mother, increasingly isolated and frustrated with herself. Then she meets a strange creature in the park who calls himself The Forgotten. Can he help her?
SIMON FRITH wrote the episodes of The Archers going out on Radio 4 at 7:00pm from Sunday 11th till Friday 16th January with each episode being repeated at 2:15pm the day following its original broadcast.
BILL GALLAGHER'S Lark Rise to Candleford, based on the books by Flora Thompson, continues on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Sunday 11th January.
JULIA GILBERT wrote the episode of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 7:30pm on Thursday 15th January.
JONATHAN HARVEY wrote the episodes of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm and at 8:30pm on Monday 12th January.
MARTHA HILLIER wrote the episode of Holby City "A Clean Slate" going out on BBC1 at 7:30pm on Tuesday 13th January.
STEVE HUGHES wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Tuesday 13th January.
TONY JORDAN wrote the episode of Hustle going out on BBC1 at 9:00pm on Thursday 15th January.
PETER KERRY wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Wednesday 14th January.
ROB KINSMAN wrote the episode of Doctors going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Monday 12th January.
JESSICA LEA wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Tuesday 13th January.
DAVID LEMON'S debut feature Faintheart will be showing at selected cinemas nationwide on February as well as streaming online via myspace. It stars Eddie Marsan, Jessica Hynes and Ewen Bremner and will be released on DVD from Feb 2nd.
ROY MITCHELL wrote the episode of New Tricks "Congratulations" going out on BBC1 at 9:00pm on Tuesday 13th January.
CHRISTOPHER REASON wrote the episodes of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Monday 12th and at 7:30pm on Tuesday 13th January.
PAUL ROUNDELL wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Friday 16th January.
JOHN SULLIVAN wrote the episode of The Green Green Grass going out on BBC1 at Thursday 15th January.
BILL TAYLOR wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Monday 12th January.
MARTYN WADE'S dramatisation of Orley Farm goes out on Radio 4 at 2:30pm Saturday 10th January. The last installment goes out at 3:00pm on Sunday 11th January.
NICK WARBURTON'S radio play Lawn Wars goes out on Radio 4 at 2:15pm on Monday 12th January.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
On MASH it was routine that we’d get a memo from S&P [CBS Standards and Practices] saying “cut the casual profanity in half”. Whether we had four “hells” or “damns” or eight, we’d get the same directive. So of course we’d start padding our scripts with double the casual profanity in order to keep the ones we needed.
One time we had Radar showing a visiting General to the VIP tent. Radar’s line in the script was: “Right this way, your VIPness.” They caught it.
Ofcom received some 300 responses in December, ahead of the regulator's Public Service Broadcasting Review phase two, which will come later this month, including a barrage of correspondence from angry organisations and individuals.
"ITV is a mess", writes one R Ballard, "you have a responsibility to make sure broadcasting in this country doesn't collapse".
Several worried stars, including Grand Designs' Kevin McCloud, plead Channel 4's case. As does Paul Smith, the Celador co-founder who made a fortune from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? — now a backer of Danny Boyle's film Slumdog Millionaire — and is exercised about the future of Channel 4 subsidiary Film4.
And there is copious evidence of unrest from regional groups, arts bodies, documentary makers, and the religious world, who, basically, feel betrayed by the lighter touch broadcasting regulation ushered in by the 2003 Communications Act.
Whedon was inspired by shows he had seen online, like Star Trek: New Voyages, a show created by fans that continues the original Star Trek series. “I sat at my counter in my kitchen watching the thing, and so help me God, crying. And I’m not even a Trekkie,” he says. The Guild (www.watchtheguild.com), a sitcom webisode about a group of online gamers, was another influence. The show’s star, Felicia Day, who played a recurring role on the final season of Buffy, had created and self-funded it. Whedon ran into Day on the picket line and asked her to explain how the Web works. “She has one of those crazy Rainman brains, she’s sooo smart, so I sat her down to tell me about monetizing the Internet, and halfway through I was like, I’m just going to drink my tea and smile and nod and pretend I understand because my God she talks fast.”
He kicked around the idea of Dr. Horrible as an audio podcast. Then he decided to go big, so he could create jobs during the strike. He went to Silicon Valley for funding, but the negotiations took too long. “They’re still making the deal,” he reports. “So I finally said, ‘Let’s just do it ourselves,’ and my wife was onboard for that.”
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
The office is currently closed while the move is completed, but the phone number will remain the same: 020 7833 0777.
Attendance is free, but places should be reserved.
Full details on the BBC Writersroom website.
The one I've used most is weebly.com, but I also like webnode.com. And, as I explain in the article, established blogging tools like Wordpress.com can be also be used to build sites.
All these tools give people without technical expertise the ability to build and maintain a good quality website for free. No charge for set-up or hosting. No monthly fees. All you will have to pay for is a domain (if you want one without a suffix like weebly.com or wordpress.com etc) but they tend to be pretty cheap.
The only real drawback is that you never know when these tools might stop being free or, indeed, when they might go out of business. You're also relying on your own design skills using the templates provided. However, most services allow you to back up your site in case disaster strikes and, if you buy your own domain, you could simply switch to a new host.
If anyone has experience of any of these tools, or gives them a go now, I'd be interested to hear what you think.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Of course, "Do you believe in writers' block?" is a very simplistic question. Who could really say that what Douglas Adam experienced (as mentioned by Gail Renard in the comments to the original post) wasn't genuine?
Perhaps many writers reject the idea of writers' block because they know how easy it would be to give in to. They prefer, like Anne Enright (writing in The Guardian on Saturday), to take a practical approach to ensuring that work gets done.
There is so much guff talked about creativity, and the more of this guff you talk, the more you are in danger of becoming blocked. "Block" is like a panic attack - the minute you describe it, you have it: the word and the experience are the same thing. It is the true and exact opposite of making fiction, where to name something is to conjure it into being, but in a positive way.
So I don't do "inspiration" or "blocks". I just do "work" and hope for the best.
There are obituaries in The Guardian and The Scotsman.
For his plays, he liked to draw on his own experiences. Certainly, his plays impressed leading directors and actors, as is evidenced by the impressive casts the Traverse assembled for their premieres.
The then artistic director of the Traverse, Max Stafford-Clark, commissioned several plays from him and has written of Eveling: "Stanley's work was lyrical and funny, often including tramps and jokes, a combination of the highest metaphysical speculations and Morecambe and Wise.
"In rehearsal I remember a sense of playfulness, but you were always aware that you were talking to someone with a brilliant mind. Sometimes a play can hit the moment and the writer suddenly has access to the popular imagination. Dear Janet was one of those plays."
Like many people, I read the diary when I was young. Now, on rereading it, I'm struck by how contemporary Anne is - stroppy, obsessed with boys, with her looks, beady and rebellious, highly critical of her mother. In other words, a thoroughly modern teenager.The Diary Of Anne Frank starts tonight at 7pm on BBC One and can also be seen on BBC iPlayer.
In past adaptations, she has been somewhat sanctified - a bit cheeky and talkative maybe, but also over-sweet.
I want to be true to the real girl. Sure, she got on people's nerves; but she was also full of life, her own sternest critic and, above all, she made people laugh.
...the biggest development of 2009 will be the escalation of the battle between drama and entertainment. The likes of The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and I'm a Celebrity provide drama all of their own, not to mention popular spin-offs, tabloid frenzies and ample water-cooler conversation - and all for a fraction of the cost of drama. If a show such as Britain's Got Talent can get 9 million at 9pm on ITV on a Wednesday, what is the point of Rock Rivals which managed, at most, 3.9 million?
More recently, BBC1's Spooks, Apparitions and Survivors were all floored by the thundering juggernaut of I'm a Celebrity (though it's arguable that the last two were also hindered by their own not inconsiderable flaws). As money becomes scarce, ratings will become more important.
Channel 4 seems to have all but given up on returning drama series, cutting even Shameless's run, because the reward simply doesn't justify the outlay. If you can attract awards and plaudits with occasional singles, such as The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall, or serials such as The Devil's Whore (truncated though it was), why bother looking for the next No Angels or Teachers?
Link via John August.