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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:

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.

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.

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.

This was a 1986 education programme, for which I was asked to write sketches.

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.

This was a consumer magazine series – 7 half hour programmes dating from 1981 – for which I was script associate and writer.

A half hour film documentary about handicapped young people – I provided structural input and wrote the commentary.

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