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FACTUAL PROGRAMMES

Many of the factual programmes I have worked on date from the days when producers realised the advantages of employing a writer to handle the script, rather than writing it themselves – in other words, the days before ‘multi-skilling’, when the value of specialists was appreciated. In the vast majority of these programmes, I worked closely with the producers, taking their ideas and incorporating them into a properly-structured script with that extra bit of sparkle that only a specialist writer can provide. At least, I hope that was the case! My credits include:

LOVE 2 SHOP (ITV)
Transmitted in 2003, this was a daytime docu-soap about Manchester’s Trafford Centre shopping mall, and I scripted Jenny Powell’s commentary. The schedule was tight – five half-hour programmes a week, and 43 episodes in all. Edited episodes on VHS, with gaps for commentary and a few notes, were biked to me on a daily basis, often arriving late afternoon or evening. I viewed them, wrote the commentary and e-mailed it back the same day for voice-over recording the following morning. Hectic, but fun – and I have to say that of all the brilliant V/O artists I have worked with, Jenny Powell is among the very best.

REAL LIFE “Barnsley Detective” (ITV)
An interesting challenge dating from 1999 – an hour-long documentary about Barnsley’s only private detective, made in the style of a Raymond Chandler film. The challenge was that the detective was also the narrator – so I had to talk to him, learn his speech patterns, find out what he wanted to say, and then shape it all into a voice-over script that he could deliver. And though I do say it myself, it worked a treat.

REACHING AGREEMENT (C4)
An adult education series about the art of negotiation, first broadcast in 1987 and repeated many times afterwards. The first six programmes contained all the educational stuff, and I was asked to write the seventh – a half-hour drama to illustrate all the negotiating techniques contained in the series.

WRITE ON (C4)
Transmitted in 1986, this was a 7-part adult educational series about creative writing, presented by the poet Ian McMillan. I was script associate, helping to shape the show and write links, sketches, etc.

SEARCH (ITV)
This was a 1986 education programme, for which I was asked to write sketches.

PEOPLE & POLITICS (ITV)
A schools series about politics dating from 1982. I worked closely with a trio of actors to develop and write two half-hour comedy dramas illustrating the various educational points.

THAT'S THE WAY (ITV)
This was a consumer magazine series – 7 half hour programmes dating from 1981 – for which I was script associate and writer.

LIKE ORDINARY CHILDREN (ITV)
A half hour film documentary about handicapped young people – I provided structural input and wrote the commentary.

CALENDAR CAROUSEL (YTV)
Calendar Carousel was a Yorkshire TV regional arts show; I scripted material for four programmes in the series.