Hi There,

Something a bit different this week – and a day early too! Why am I a day early? (You may ask). Because I’m off to the annual London Screenwriters Festival tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday.

As a punter on Friday – but it’s always a great chance to meet up with so many of the writers whose scripts I’ve been working on – good to be able to put a face to the script; and to catch up with those writers who’ve done my and Phil Gladwin’s courses and hear what they’re up to.

And to see old friends and hear some fascinating talks. In advance, and having looked at the schedule, can I recommend – Peter Buckingham 10.30 Friday am – I’ve heard him give talks a couple of times and he’s great – he knows everything there is to be known about marketing feature films and he will really make you think about your work in terms of the potential audience – and he’s very entertaining.

Other than that, Tony Marchant is always interesting – and I imagine Jed Mercurio (see list below!) and Simon Beaufoy – two of the UK’s best and most successful screenwriters – will be fascinating.

And on Saturday I’m there to run a SCRIPT LAB about ‘CREATING DRAMA SERIES’ working with 6 writers who have come up with cracking series ideas – which should be a lot of fun.

So, without further ado – to the meat of this week’s newsletter.

In the last few weeks I have been running a couple of ‘training’ sessions (with one more to come) for the TV, Film and Theatre department of Curtis Brown literary agents – looking at UK TV drama and TV drama scripts.

One element of this was coming up with a ‘definitive’ list of landmark British TV drama of the last 20 or so years – and a second list of the best UK produced TV of the last 5 years.

Here are the lists below – and they’re guaranteed to have you all blowing a gasket, saying ‘How the hell could the fool have left out \ forgotten X, Y & Z??’

So – your task this week – should you feel so inspired – is to tell me what I’ve left out of these far from comprehensive lists – the landmark, ground-breaking shows AND the TV dramas that have got you excited in the last 5 years.

I’d love to hear your views – about what I should have included AND the shows I have included that I shouldn’t have!

I’ll share your responses in a later newsletter and THANK YOU in advance for your contributions.



Landmark \ Historical Ground-Breaking Shows


Pennies From Heaven \ The Singing Detective – Dennis Potter

I, Claudius – Jack Pulman

Brideshead Revisited – John Mortimer


Our Friends In The North – Peter Flannery

Talking Heads – Alan Bennett

Cardiac Arrest \ Bodies – Jed Mercurio

Boys From The Blackstuff – Alan Bleasdale

Shameless – Paul Abbott

Edge Of Darkness – Troy Kennedy Martin

Bar Mitzvah Boy \ The Evacuees – Jack Rosenthal

This Life – Amy Jenkins

Life Is Sweet – Mike Leigh

House Of Cards – Andrew Davies


Inspector Morse – Anthony Minghella

Cracker – Jimmy McGovern

Prime Suspect – Lynda La Plante

State Of Play – Paul Abbott


Hillsborough – Jimmy McGovern

The Day Britain Stopped – Gabriel Range & Simon Finch

Bloody Sunday – Paul Greengrass

Top Drama of the past 5 years


The Devil’s Whore – Peter Flannery

Downton Abbey – Julian Fellowes

The Hour – Abi Morgan

Parade’s End – Tom Stoppard


Top Boy – Ronan Bennett

Misfits – Howard Overman

This is England 86/88 – Shane Meadows

Red Riding – Tony Grisoni

The Street \ The Accused – Jimmy McGovern

Occupation – Peter Bowker

Being Human – Toby Whithouse

Dead Set \ Black Mirror – Charlie Brooker

Freefall – Dominic Savage


Life On Mars \ Ashes To Ashes – Ashley Pharoah & Matthew Graham

Spooks – David Wolstencroft

Sherlock- Steven Moffat

Criminal Justice \ Silk – Peter Moffat

Line Of Duty – Jed Mercurio

Good Cop – Stephen Butchard

Inside Men – Tony Basgallop


The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall – Simon Block

The Long Walk To Finchley – Tony Saint

House of Saddam – Stephen Butchard


Just to remind you again – we are now accepting entries for the 2013 course. Entries close on Nov 7th so make sure you don’t miss the deadline – you have a mere 10 days left to submit your script. This is a fantastic opportunity to launch your screenwriting career.



Phil Gladwin and I have two more of our weekend courses coming up early in 2013 – and we have some excellent guests lined up for both courses –

Jan 26-27 : Literary agent TANYA TILLETT.

Tanya is an agent at the leading Knight Hall agency. She has a really impressive list of writers and is always on the lookout for new writers of talent. As an agent in one of the top London agencies she has a unique overview of the film and TV industries and current opportunities for writers.

March 16-17 : Channel 4 Drama Head of Development BEN STOLL and Producer \ Writer MATT BOUCH.

BEN oversees much of the Channel 4 drama slate of shows in both production and development and has worked closely with me on the C4 screenwriting course for the last 3 years.

MATT is currently producing MY MAD FAT DIARY, a new series for Channel 4; and has extensive experience as both producer (BEING HUMAN, THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES etc) and screenwriter.

All three of these guests work at the heart of the TV and film industry in the UK and will be able to give you invaluable advice and unique insights on how to launch and sustain a career as a screenwriter in the UK.

We are anticipating that both courses will sell out so early booking is advised to make sure of your place.

FINALLY if you’re going to be at the LONDON SCREENWRITERS FESTIVAL  this weekend, please say hello!

Until next week

All the best



Oct 25th 2012