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