BBC Studios has revealed the eight emerging TV writers who have secured a place in its Writers’ Academy course, led by Academy head John Yorke.
The Writers’ Academy 2022 cohort are:
Lauryn Redding. A writer, composer and actor whose debut play Bloody Elle, which she also composed and performed, won the Holden Street Theatres Edinburgh Fringe Award.
Igor Memic, a British-Bosnian playwright and screenwriter whose debut play Old Bridge won the 2020 Papatango New Writing Prize, the 2022 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre and the Critics’ Circle Award and Offie Award for Most Promising New Playwright.
Pavan Patel, a British-Indian screenwriter for film and television. His pilot The Empires Jewel was shortlisted for the Bisha K Ali Sky x Netflix Screenwriters’ Fellowship, and he’s completed the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting.
Daniel Bougourd works as a producer / director for Sky Arts. He has also written VR experiences for Sky’s A Discovery of Witches and Britannia, both of which were nominated for awards at the 2018/19 Venice Biennale.
Bea Roberts is a multi-award winning writer from the West Country, whose debut play, And Then Come The Nightjars, won the Theatre503 International Playwriting Award and is being adapted into a feature film with Finite Pictures. Bea is currently under commission to the Royal Shakespeare Company, English Touring Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth and the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
Chloe Myerson is a television and theatre writer from South London. She is currently developing projects with Roughcut TV, Caryn Mandabach Productions and Island Pictures, and has two original TV scripts under option to Wall to Wall Television (Warner Bros).
Joan Iyiola is a British-Nigerian actress, writer and producer. Her company, Apatan Productions, made DỌLÁPỌ̀ IS FINE which won the HBO Short Film Award at ABFF, was shortlisted for a BAFTA, has screened at over 150 festivals worldwide and has been acquired by Netflix and HBO. She is currently developing original projects with Avalon, Watford & Essex, Joi Productions and Salaud Morisset and is writer and director of MANGO which will shoot in 2023.
Gary Sewell won an AWGIE Award, been nominated for a BAFTA, and was selected for the Edinburgh TV Festival’s ‘Ones to Watch’ scheme. He currently writes for Hollyoaks, having previously served as Series Producer on the show.
The eight selected writers will learn from guest speakers including the team from Shondaland (Bridgerton, Grey’s Anatomy), Russell T Davies (It’s a Sin, Years and Years), Kayleigh Llewellyn (In My Skin), Adam Price (Borgen), Martha Hillier (The Last Kingdom), plus drama commissioners from the biggest online streaming platforms.
The writers also receive insight into developing a TV drama, with an intensive 13-week classroom period led by Writers’ Academy Head John Yorke. They will then spend six months developing their own pilot scripts, as well as having the opportunity to pitch to write broadcast episodes of BBC Studios Continuing Drama Series. Every graduate will leave with at least three scripts under their belt and BBC Studios will have a first look over the work they produce.
Head of Writers Academy John Yorke said: “This year our brief was to find the next generation of original series creators – and we’ve been blown away by the talent we’ve uncovered. From nearly two thousand applications we’ve found a wonderfully diverse group of 8 new voices – who bring a fascinating range of perspectives to their storytelling. We can’t wait to work alongside them as they hone their craft and hopefully, bring their stories to our screens.”
Mark Linsey, Managing Director of Scripted at BBC Studios commented: “Last year was a stellar year for BBC Studios, and investing in new talent to tell quintessential British stories is a crucial to the continued success and performance of our production outlet. ScriptWorks has an established track-record for finding and nurturing new talent on the cusp of exciting work and we’re looking forward to seeing the 2022 cohort reach their full potential.”
Many successful screenwriters cut their teeth at the Writers Academy. Its 70 alumni have contributed to nearly 5,000 episodes of broadcast TV, achieving numerous wins and nominations for the industry’s major awards. Since 2021, alumni have had 17 seasons of original TV drama series greenlit or recommissioned.
Writers Academy is run by BBC Studios ScriptWorks with support from BBC Writersroom.
Joan Iyiola, part of the 2022 Writers Academy intake said: “I am overjoyed to be invited onto this year’s BBC Studios Writers’ Academy. To receive paid full-time training from John Yorke and leading writers – and to be supported in the creation of new work – is a rare thing. The dream gets bigger when opportunities like this come along and I am really excited for the learning that is to come.”
Igor Memic who is also part of the 2022 Writers Academy intake said: “It’s such an honour to be selected for this year’s Academy. John’s work on structural theory has formed such an integral part of my own creative practice, so to be given an opportunity to train with him and BBC Studios feels invaluable – particularly when the focus this year is on developing our own original drama series from pitch to pilot.”
Previous alumni includes writer of Screw and The Missing Rob Williams; Grantchester’s creator Daisy Coulam; Emer Kenny, writer of forthcoming series Karen Pirie; Paul Matthew Thompson, who developed Shakespeare and Hathaway and new detective drama Ridley; Peter McKenna who devised Red Rock, as well as RTE hits Kin and Hidden Assets; Abi Ajayi, creator of forthcoming drama Riches; Sasha Hails & Rachel Flowerday who created Malory Towers; the creators of Father Brown Rachel Flowerday and Tahsin Guner (Guner also penned RTS winner Killed By My Debt); Tom Bidwell creator of My Mad Fat Diary, The Irregulars, and TV adaptation of Watership Down; and Kirstie Swain, writer of Pure and forthcoming Sweetpea. Eighty percent of graduates are still writing professionally today, on titles ranging from Vera and Call The Midwife, to Killing Eve and Inventing Anna.
Recent Academy graduates are currently developing original series with the companies behind Sherwood, I May Destroy You, Happy Valley, The End of The F***ing World, Brexit: The Uncivil War, Time, Curfew, and more.
Share this story