Drama report: The drama boom has had many side effects, and right now one of the most challenging, say producers, is that there’s a shortage of experienced TV writers.
With fewer procedural, story of the week shows on air, there are fewer opportunities for writers to cut their teeth in writers’ rooms.
But broadcasters are nervous about taking a risk on newcomers for primetime dramas. “Because budgets are bigger, a lot of the time we are unable to give a break to a brand new writer,” admits Red Production’s Nicola Shindler.
It means there’s now a small group of highly in-demand, experienced writers who broadcasters want to commission to write their new shows. “Utlimately, there is only a very small pool of writers,” says Bandit Television md Phillippa Giles.
This group includes Paul Abbott (No Offence), Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster), Pete Bowker (Marvellous), Danny Brocklehurst (Ordinary Lies), Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch), Andrew Davies (War and Peace), Russell T Davies (Cucumber), Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey), Bill Gallagher (Paranoid), Tony Jordan (Dickensian), Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty), Kay Mellor (In the Club), Abi Morgan (River), Peter Morgan (The Crown), Peter Moffat (The Night Of), Steven Moffat (Sherlock), Ashley Pharoah (The Living and the Dead), Jack Thorne (National Treasure), Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley) and Harry and Jack Williams (The Missing).
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