A new scheme has been launched to find raw and diverse television writing talent from the North.
Launched by Northumbria University in partnership with Channel Four, as part of the Northern Writers’ Awards, the new award promises to offer a unique opportunity for two writers to be mentored through the script commissioning process with two of the UK’s top producers of serial and original drama.
Lime Pictures, who make Hollyoaks, and RED Production Company, who have been responsible for ITV1 police series Scott and Bailey and this year’s massive BBC1 hit drama, Happy Valley, starring Sarah Lancashire have both signed up to mentor a new writer.
Whoever is taken under the wing of Liverpool’s Lime Pictures will shadow the process of script development on Hollyoaks, from first draft to broadcast script. This may lead to a commission to write an original episode of the serial that will be broadcast on Channel 4.
The other winner will be mentored by RED in Salford and will receive advice on script development and technique.
They will also receive support from top television professionals to develop their own original ideas for broadcast.
The Channel 4/Northumbria University Writing for Television Award will open for submissions on Friday (November 14), as part of the annual Northern Writers’ Awards, and is open to both complete beginners as well as those who
already have some writing experience.
Channel 4 has a unique remit to represent and to portray the diversity of contemporary Britain, so would particularly encourage submissions from Black and Minority Ethnic and disabled writers, who are underrepresented in this area of the TV industry.
Lee Mason, commissioning editor, Channel 4 said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Northumbria University and New Writing North on this new award. There is a wealth of writing talent in the North of England, and the opportunity to identify and nurture that talent is incredibly exciting.
“Lime Pictures and RED Production Company are hugely respected production companies that have a large amount of experience and advice that will be immensely helpful for aspiring writers.
“They also both share an incredibly strong reputation for supporting new talent from the North of England.
“We very much look forward to reading submissions from a diverse range of new writers whose work offers a fresh perspective on life in 21st century Britain.”
Lucy Winskell, pro vice-chancellor (business and engagement) at Northumbria University, said: “We’re delighted to have launched a new partnership with Channel 4 to offer this opportunity to new writers, through our continued work with New Writing North on the Northern Writers’ Awards.
“Together we are committed to celebrating and supporting writing talent, growing new relationships with key organisations, and offering more and more opportunities for talented writers to see their work in production.”
The winning writers will be revealed at the Northern Writers’ Awards ceremony in late June at Northumbria University in Newcastle. The writers will begin their mentoring processes at Lime Pictures and RED Production Company in July 2015, and it will run until April 2016.
Full submission guidelines and applications are invited online at www.northernwritersawards.com from Friday. The deadline for applications is February 2, 2015.
New Writing North will also be undertaking a series of roadshows throughout December and early January to meet potential applicants and help them with the submission process. The roadshows will take place in Newcastle,
Liverpool, Manchester and Wakefield. Full details and booking information is on the website.