Hi There,


In the last couple of years, we have asked writers submitting projects to the Channel 4 screenwriting course to also submit loglines. I realise this can be very challenging but it’s been enormously helpful and instructive to us when reading the scripts.

I feel very privileged to be able to look at the 2000+ loglines – this overview of the mind-boggling range of stories we get to read.

I spent a little time very unscientifically going through some of the submissions, picking out some of the loglines that really worked for me, made me want to read these scripts. (These are actually taken from just a few days of submissions. I know I could have found many more if I’d gone through the whole database just looking at loglines).

I would like to say a huge thank you to all the writers in questions for giving me permission to share their loglines.

Loglines are such an important element of any screenwriting project and a good logline can instantly excite the reader / viewer and make us want to read / watch this show. But they can also be a really helpful touchstone for you the writer to keep checking back on, making sure that the power and clarity of the logline is still inherent in your story as you develop it.

Below are the loglines in question, followed by my brief comments about why these loglines stood out for me – and hopefully there is something to take away for you – when you’re both coming up with new ideas and trying to articulate your ideas as compellingly and succinctly as possible.

Sue killed her baby while suffering from a severe postnatal depression. Now, 15 years later, she gets released from a mental institution and tries to come to terms with her family, society and her past.’

This has a clarity, a simplicity and emotional impact. I instantly care about Sue and her story. It is challenging, dark but compelling.


Circus Skibbereen
Two brothers, Francis and Beverly, live alone in their late-father’s cottage in Dingle, Ireland and spend their days brewing moonshine. After testing a particularly strong batch, they wake up to find Fungi, the beloved dolphin and town mascot dead in their living room.

What impresses me about this is that the absurd comic tone is implicit in this two sentence pitch. This feels absolutely like its own thing – and made me smile.


Deeper Shade of Blue
When her best mate dies, Ronnie is left juggling her ulcer-inducing job, needy boomer parents, custody of SARAH’S one-year-old son and the mystery of who fathered him. A story about how in tragedy, women cope, because they don’t have time to collapse.

In two sentences, the writer manages to convey so much story information, a mystery at the heart of the story and what this is about while also conveying tone.


The Royal Carriage

When a chaotic single mum of four is chosen to be an undercover surrogate for the royal family, she discovers a secret that threatens the future of the entire monarchy.

A clear, simple, high-concept comic (?) idea that instantly makes me want to know what the secret is!


In the Downing Street Press Office an emergency meeting is called. The Prime Minister has been ad-libbing on live tv and his words are going viral. As the team debate a response, it’s already too late. His words have found their way across the country – and not everyone’s angry.

A clear story set-up with an intriguing twist.


Mamas And Papas
Two mismatched couple decide to adopt… the same child.

I love the economy and simplicity of this crystal-clear dramatic dilemma.


Naan Stop Express Tours
Think reality TV show Coach Trip meets cult TV classic Benidorm and you have an ensemble cast of super thrifty British Indian holidaymakers keen to connect with their adopted UK homelands on a budget coach tour.

A good example of how to reference other shows to define your show. Even though it references other shows, this sounds completely distinctive and a lot of fun.


Barnard Castle – The Truth, The Whole Truth…And Quite A Lot Of Stuff That’s Made Up
What’s the truth behind the Cummings family’s hajj to Barnard Castle in the time of lockdown & Coronavirus? Only Dominic, Mary Wakefield, his wife, and their preternaturally aware 4-year-old, Ceddy, can answer that question. A big political story played out as a small family drama.

This sounds like a really playful, fun, factual comedy drama – a small-scale character story that asks big political questions.


Saint George

Saint George follows George Hunter, a deluded, patriotic and lonely man living out of his car. With only the ranting of a right-wing radio host as a company, he begins ‘guarding’ the British coast from refugees in a misguided effort to find meaning in his life.

George comes across as a memorably original and intriguing character. I like how this logline challenges political correctness, successfully makes us empathise with a very flawed character.


Dog Food Disco
2 scorned women. 1 cheating fella. A plan to make him pay for what he’s done. Armed with everything you’d need for a successful kidnapping: an idiot proof plan, dog food, and enough vodka to sink a small remote-controlled boat. What could possibly go wrong?

The devil is in the comic detail. A crystal-clear pitch that conveys both story and tone – and I want to know the role of the dog food in the story!


An entangled web of fact and fiction that mirrors the man himself, ‘BJ’, is a satirical drama documenting the life and times of Boris Johnson, from his privileged upbringing and ascent to power, right up to his inevitable and notorious downfall.

Like BARNARD CASTLE, another idea that appealed to me because of its basis in a fascinating, controversial political reality, enhanced by its ‘satirical’ approach.


The Bath
Charting the life of Doris and her family, a snapshot of their love, lies and actions as played out in their bathroom, in a coal miner’s house, over 50 years.

An epic idea. I love the combo of a single, very specific space – and a 50 year time span. Great idea very effectively articulated.


What makes a good logline? Clarity, simplicity, a sense of tone, inherent drama, originality. .

With all of these loglines, there is both a confidence and clarity to the writing. I’m so impressed by the quality of all these loglines – these are all shows I’d like to see!

I also think there are many excellent titles here – another important element of what ‘sells’ a script to the reader / audience.

Thank you again to all the excellent writers who kindly allowed me to share these ideas.


The next newsletter will be on Friday May 17th.

Best wishes




Twitter: @PhilipShelley1

Friday May 3rd 2024