Diverse talent organisation, DANDI and ScreenSkills’ High-end TV Skills Fund have announced the 11 emerging writers who have been selected for its screenwriting and mentoring programme.

Sid Wild (Sid Gentle Films), LA Productions, Warp Films, Northern SISTER, Saffron Cherry Productions, TriForce Productions, 5 Acts Productions, Hill 5.14 Media and Rope Ladder Fiction are to take part in the programme.

Commissioned and funded by ScreenSkills’ High-End TV Skills Fund, with contributions from High-End Production, the programme delivered by DANDI, will see each of the 11 emerging writers provided with a six-month paid development opportunity, alongside additional training and support, organised by the HETV Skills Fund and DANDI.

The inaugural Regional Breakthrough Writers programme saw the chosen writers attend an in-person launch event in Birmingham on 28thNovember 2023, where they revealed the pairings for everyone taking part.

Initially set to launch with six independent production companies, all committing to provide a six-month paid development opportunity alongside additional training and support, three further regional prod-cos – Sid Wild (Sid Gentle Films), LA Productions and Warp Films – have now joined.

The production companies participating, and the writers they are supporting, include:

  • Northern SISTER (Manchester) – Sufiyaan Salam
  • Saffron Cherry Productions (Manchester) – Rachel Clark
  • TriForce Productions (Midlands) – Katrina Smith-Jackson
  • 5 Acts Productions, part of ITV Studios (Cardiff) – Lydia Rynne, Emma Pritchard and Azuka Oforka
  • Hill 5.14 Media (Bedford) – Mariama Ives-Mobiba
  • Rope Ladder Fiction (Manchester) – Lorna Riley
  • Sid Wild (Bristol) – Tamsyn Kelly
  • LA Productions (Liverpool) – Jodie Ashdown
  • Warp Films (Sheffield) – Steph Lacey

Sam Fray, Talent Development Lead at DANDI said: “Being able to announce a brilliant lineup of emerging writers is fantastic, but we’re elated that we can offer more places than originally planned – all due to the increased amount of committed regional prod-cos taking part and the generosity of the ScreenSkills High-End TV Fund. It’s because of their unwavering commitment we’re able to provide even more opportunities and show the breadth of talent available across the country. We can’t wait to see what stories and talent emerges over the coming months.”

“The Regional Breakthrough Writers programme, commissioned by the High-end TV Skills Fund’s Regions Working Group will provide a platform for under-represented new writers to get their work seen and their voices heard,” says Kaye Elliott, ScreenSkills’ Director of High-End TV. “It’s a great example of how the production industry is working together across different regions to create opportunities for new talent and support wider industry growth.”

Each production company will pay the candidates £15,000 for an initial option fee spanning six months. Each writer will get the chance to develop their brand-new High-End drama idea and gain the opportunity to hone their craft and develop their identity and voice. At the end of the process the partner production company will either decide to extend the option and continue to develop the project or return the rights to the writer.

Jon Creamer

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