Dancing Ledge Productions (The Responder, Wedding Season) and ScreenSkills’ High-end Television (HETV) Skills Fund have announced the A-list writers who have agreed to mentor rising stars in the HETV Skills Fund New Writers Programme 2023.

The mentors and mentees for the 2023 edition will be


Mentee: Lucy Burke


Emilia di Girolamo (DECEIT, THREE PINES)

Mentee: Bindu de Stoppani



Mentee: Shani Akilah



Mentee: Florence Espeut-Nickless


Nathaniel Price (TIN STAR, THE OUTLAWS)

Mentee: Nathan Queely-Dennis



Mentee: Izzy Radford


Sam Vincent & Jonathan Brackley (HUMANS,BETTER)

Mentee: William Gilles


Sam Vincent & Jonathan Brackley (HUMANS,BETTER)

Mentee: Alannah Olivia


The programme, first commissioned in 2017 by the HETV TV Skills Fund and developed and delivered by Fremantle-backed Dancing Ledge Productions, was set up to discover and nurture a new generation of TV writers, providing them with a career-changing opportunity that was directly linked to helping get their scripts made. A second iteration of the programme was supported by ITV with the HETV Skills Fund now fully funding the third round of the initiative.

Kaye Elliott, Director of the HETV Skills Fund said: “The Fund is very proud to support this programme for a third year running. The programme has previously helped writers including The Responder’s Tony Schumacher and Trigger Point’s Daniel Brierley, and we believe it is really important to give new and upcoming writers the encouragement and support they need to develop their unique voices and progress their careers.”

Laurence Bowen, CEO, Dancing Ledge Productions says, “As a company, we are immensely proud of how this scheme, with the support of the HETV Skills Fund, has grown and flourished since it began. It’s a real celebration of everything we believe in at Dancing Ledge. With the help of its stellar mentors, it has helped launch the careers of an extraordinary new generation of screenwriters. Tony Schumacher’s multi-BAFTA-nominated The Responder and Daniel Brierley’s Trigger Point directly came out of the scheme, with the help of Jimmy McGovern and Jed Mercurio, and Nicole Lecky, mentored by Levi David Addai, went on write and star in the multi-award-winning Mood. Other mentees have gone on to work on Sex Education, Noughts and Crosses, Wedding Season and A Town Called Malice. So, it’s exciting to be back for the third round of bursaries and funding with a wonderful new group of mentors and mentees.”

All mentors are invited to choose and mentor a new writer whose work they have been impressed by. The new writer is given a non-refundable bursary to write a pilot episode for their own original TV series. The mentor will give feedback through the writing process, provide the benefit of their expertise, offer encouragement, and then also help place the project with a production company and/or broadcaster. The timeframe is flexible for each partnership owing to mentorship availability, but will take place throughout 2023, managed by Dancing Ledge Development Executive, Beth Warin. Dancing Ledge Productions will also run regular workshops with the mentees and organise Mentor and Broadcaster masterclasses.

Two major shows born out of the New Writers Programme are Tony Schumacher’s (mentor Jimmy McGovern) The Responder and Daniel Brierley’s (mentor Jed Mercurio) Trigger PointTrigger Pointbecame ITV’s highest rated new drama launch, based on overnight figures, since January 2021 and with 5.4 million and 33.3% share putting it on a par with the first episode of Vigil. BBC One’s The Responder also packed a rating punch launching on Monday night with 4.3 million and winning its slot convincingly with a 27.2% share. The show also received huge critical acclaim garnering five-star ratings across the board. The show received BAFTA nominations in four categories, including best Drama Series. Martin Freeman was nominated for the Leading Actor award, Adelayo Adedayo for Best Supporting actress, Josh Finan for Best Supporting actor and Tony Schumacher for Best Writer. The show was also nominated at this year’s RTS North Awards for Best Drama Series, Best Writer, Best Performance in a Drama for Martin Freeman and Best Breakthrough Talent for Adelayo Adedayo. Winning: Best Script Writer for Tony Schumacher and Best Breakthrough Talent: Adelayo Adedayo.

Other writers who have previously mentored for the programme are Britain’s most accomplished screenwriters; Kay Mellor, Amanda Coe, Sally Wainwright, Abby Ajayi, Jesse Armstrong, Chris Chibnall, Charlie Covell, Lisa McGee, Paula Milne, Sarah Phelps, Sarah Williams, Joe Barton, Chris Lang, Mike Bartlett, Lucy Prebble and Jack Thorne.

For 2020/2021’s cohort of the programme which was delivered by Dancing Ledge with support from ITV, the mentees chosen were: Abraham Adeyemi, Alex Straker, Nessa Wrafter, Tina Pasotra, Victoria Ibitoye, Alex Clarke and Emma Dennis-Edwards. The 2022/2023 cohort of the scheme included mentees Olivia Hannah, Larissa Hope, Jess Jackson, Abigail Rolling and Karim Khan.

The inaugural 2018/2019’s cohort of the programme commissioned and funded by the HETV Skills Fund and delivered by Dancing Ledge were: Yero Timi-Biu, Sharma Walfall, Nicole Lecky, Daniel Brierley, Tony Schumacher, Scott Mather, Rose Cartwright, Grace Knight and Temi Wilkey.


Jon Creamer

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