A UWE Bristol lecturer is among 12 people to have joined a Channel 4 scheme designed to nurture TV drama writers in the West and South West of England – and take up the chance to submit a script to the broadcaster’s drama commissioning editor.
Professional & Creative Writing senior lecturer Sharon Clark is one of 12 writers being offered nine months of specialist support which includes in-person workshops and training, mentoring and introductions to scripted drama production companies.
After completing the scheme, participants will be able to submit a first draft script for consideration and feedback from Channel 4’s Drama Commissioning Editor Gwawr Lloyd.
The writers are from, or based, in a range of locations across the region including Bristol, Bodmin, Penzance, Plymouth, St Ives, Tavistock, Truro and Wimborne, and the group includes a wide range of people from a variety of diverse backgrounds.
Funded by 4Skills, the scheme has been devised by Channel 4’s Bristol hub in collaboration with Bristol UNESCO City of Film, its partners UWE Bristol, BFI NETWORK South West (made possible thanks to National Lottery funding and delivered regionally by Watershed) and The Bottle Yard Studios.
Lynn Barlow, Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Creative and Cultural Industries Engagement at UWE Bristol, said: “This opportunity is a huge milestone in any writer’s career, so congratulations to those who’ve made the final selection. With an extraordinary number of high-quality submissions, they faced tough competition to secure their place, highlighting the exceptional talent we have in this region. Under the guidance of industry experts, I can’t wait to see their skills develop over coming months.”
Gwawr Lloyd, Channel 4’s Drama Commissioning Editor, said: “This is a really fantastic opportunity for this group of writers to immerse themselves in the art and skills of writing TV drama, to work with a fantastic range of professionals over the next nine months and supercharge their careers.
“Nurturing the creativity of people with different lived experiences and from diverse backgrounds is an integral part of what Channel 4 stands for. The onus is on us to seek out the next generation of storytellers and provide new opportunities for them to flourish and succeed.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “This fantastic scheme demonstrates the value of the partnerships being forged in Bristol's growing creative sector, building on the success of us bringing Channel 4 to our UNESCO City of Film. It’s brilliant to see Bristolians making up a big part of the first cohort of the programme. I hope we will continue to see more stories on TV representing the broadest diversity of how our Bristol looks and sounds, thanks to the efforts of everyone involved in this scheme.”
The initiative is one of many projects being supported by 4Skills, Channel 4’s nationwide training and development strategy which aims to create over 15,000 opportunities nationwide in 2022 with a particular focus on people from diverse and disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds who want a career in broadcasting.
Alice Cabanas, Head of BFI NETWORK said: “We are really excited to see this Channel 4 scheme come to fruition, and we look forward to seeing this cohort of writers and their ideas develop during the process. The writers have been selected from right across the furthest points of the South West region to reflect the variety of stories in the area, demonstrating how effective regionally based activity can engage and support local talent and elevate stories with a strong sense of place.”
The Channel 4 TV Drama New Writers Scheme (West and South West) invited applications from new and emerging writers based in West and South West of England, with a particular focus on diverse perspectives across the region.
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