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BBC launches new writers strand with Working Title

BBC launches new writers strand with Working Title
Pippa Considine
24 January 2014

The BBC is working with Working Title TV on a major new drama talent strand The Secrets, which will feature new writers.

The Secrets is a series of five films, each with a secret at the heart of it. Dominic Savage is directing all five episodes, working with four of Britain's upcoming writers who are new to television drama - Elinor Cook, Nick Payne, Ben Ockrent and Sarah Solemani.

Nick Payne’s first of two episodes will  star Olivia Colman, Alison Steadman and Steve Oram.

Episode one by Elinor Cook
Winner of the George Devine Award 2013 for Most Promising Playwright, Cook recently collaborated on a play with Joe Ward Munrow, and last year was part of Paines Plough’s The Big Room in association with Channel 4.

Elinor Cook’s episode tells the story of a man who is married to two women, and, living a secret double life between them, is exposed. It explores whether monogamy is ever a realistic proposition.

Episode two by Nick Payne
Nick Payne’s play Constellations, directed by Michael Longhurst and starring Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins, was nominated in 2012 for the Olivier Award for Best New Play.

His first episode, starring Olivia Colman, Alison Steadman and Steve Oram, tells the story of a vet expecting her first child, who has all the chemicals to put pets to sleep, and a mother who is chronically ill and wanting to die.

Episode three by Ben Ockrent
Ockrent’s first play, The Pleasure Principle, was staged at the Tristan Bates Theatre in October 2007. He has also penned episodes of Waterloo Road and E4’s Youngers.

A girl turns up out of the blue claiming to be an unknown sister to a boy, but things are not quite what they seem.

Episode four by Nick Payne
In Nick Payne’s second episode, a police officer is having an affair with his brother’s wife. When the brother returns from a period away the betrayal leads to an unlikely confrontation.

Episode five by Sarah Solemani
Best known for her role as Rosie Gulliver in BBC Three comedy Bad Education, Solemani’s writing talents span theatre, TV, film and radio, including plays that have been showcased at the Old Vic and Soho Theatre.

Episode five joins a bride on the eve of her wedding when she discovers her fiancé was once accused of a shocking crime.

Juliette Howell, head of television, Working Title Television says: “The ambition of the strand is to find these new voices and bring their talent to the wider BBC One audience.”

Lucy Richer is commissioning editor for the BBC.

The five films will shoot from this week in London for five weeks and transmit on BBC One later this year.

Executive producers are Juliette Howell, Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan for Working Title Television, and Lucy Richer for the BBC.

It was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, controller, BBC Drama Commissioning and Danny Cohen, BBC director television (former controller BBC One).

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