BBC Writersroom announces Scottish drama writers’ programme 2021

Screen Scotland, BBC Drama Commissioning and BBC Writersroom would like to announce the Scottish Drama Writers’ Programme 2021. The programme has partnered Scottish based writers with Independent production companies to develop bold, authentic network drama for the BBC.

Following on from the successful BBC Writersroom pan-UK TV Drama Writers’ Programme, the Scottish initiative will fund and partner 8 writers with a Scottish independent production company who will support them in developing an original TV script aimed at BBC One or BBC Three.

Within the year-long programme, the selected writers will have access to BBC Writersroom led writer sessions and workshops with experienced British TV writers and industry experts to assist in developing their scripts. The aim is that the writer’s series or serial will be taken into full development by the BBC.

Long term, the aim of the Scottish Drama Writers programme is to be a catalyst for the selected writers and independent production companies to establish working relationships and to support the wider creative broadcast industry in Scotland.

Participants in the 2021 programme are:

  • May Sumbwanyambe - Two Rivers Media
  • Anita Vettesse - BBC Studios
  • Jenni Fagan – STV Studios
  • Emma Lennox – TOD Productions
  • Raman Mundair – Synchronicity Films
  • James Price - Balloon Entertainment
  • Maryam Hamidi - World Productions, Scotland
  • Rob Drummond – Freedom Scripted Entertainment

Kieran Hannigan, Screen Scotland's Head of Scripted said: "Writers are the lifeblood of TV drama and we are thrilled to be part of this programme that pairs some of the most exciting writing talent in Scotland with some of our best drama Indies. Our commitment alongside the BBC is to deepen the relationship with Scottish talent with more high impact drama projects from Scotland on the BBC network as our shared aim.

Gaynor Holmes, Drama Commissioner, BBC Drama said: "Nurturing new talent is absolutely central to everything we do in BBC Drama so we are thrilled to announce this joint initiative with Screen Scotland and BBC Writersroom. Scottish drama output is at an all time high but we’re always looking for the next great idea and can’t wait to see what the selected writers come up with."

Anne Edyvean, Head of BBC Writersroom said: "This initiative builds on our successful pan-UK programme, but takes a further step by focusing just on Scotland. We are delighted to be working with writers who represent voices from across the many communities of Scotland, both geographical and cultural."

Claire Armspach, Head of Drama Development, STV Studios said: "We are thrilled to be taking part in Scottish Drama Writers' Programme. It was wonderful to be introduced to so many great, new, Scottish voices. We were immediately drawn to Jenni Fagan's flair for creating authentic and iconic characters and her commitment to telling powerful and important stories that explore women's lives in all their complexity."

Deanne Cunningham, Head of Development, Synchronicity Films: "We are delighted to be working with Raman Mundair as part of the Scottish Drama Writers’ Programme. It’s a brilliant opportunity for us to work with an exciting new talent on a scheme that’s truly industry focused."

George Aza-Selinger, Head of Development, World Productions Scotland said: "We are thrilled to be taking part in this programme and to be working with Maryam for the first time, whose unique voice and playful approach to genre, make her a hugely exciting writing talent."

Elaine Collins, MD of Tod Productions said: "We are delighted to be taking part in the Scottish Drama Writers’ Programme and to be working with Emma Lennox, who impressed us with her dry humour and imaginative take on genre drama.  The standard of writer entering was extremely high this year and we’re positive that many of those involved have a great future in the industry.

Mike Ellen, Creative Director, Freedom Scripted Entertainment said: "BBC Writersroom Scotland has been a game changer for new talent. Freedom are thrilled to be part of the  Scottish Drama Writers’ Programme and now to be working with one of our most exciting dramatists Rob Drummond on his own highly original and thought provoking crime show."

Marcus Wilson, Head of Drama, Two Rivers Media said: "What a brilliant idea - take eight fantastic writers from a diverse range of backgrounds, add eight ambitious Indies hungry for talent and give it huge support from the BBC and Screen Scotland. We’ve been paired with an amazing talent in May Sumbwanyambe and we can’t thank SDWP enough for the intro! Proof positive that Scotland has even more talent to give our industry."

Michael Parke, Executive Producer, BBC Studios said: "BBC Studios are thrilled to be part of the Scottish Drama Writer’s Programme.  The writers on the scheme are so talented and passionate about Television drama and we feel especially fortunate to be paired with the wonderful Anita Vettesse to develop her bold, shocking and totally gripping new revenge thriller."

Daniel Donnelly, Development Executive, Balloon Entertainment said: "We are thrilled to be a part of the inaugural Scottish Drama Writers’ programme. Living and working in Glasgow I’m delighted that this scheme is taking place and I’m even more elated to be working with the unbelievable talent that is James Price. James’ writing is witty, scabrous and beautiful in equal measure, I’m so thrilled we’re working together."

More about BBC Writersroom

BBC Writersroom is part of BBC commissioning. A cross-genre department for scripted content, it works with teams across BBC Drama, Children’s, radio, online and others to develop new and experienced off-screen talent. It has bases in London, Salford, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.

This initiative is one of a series of measures being put in place as part of the BBC/Screen Scotland partnership.

About Screen Scotland

Screen Scotland is the dedicated partnership for screen in Scotland. Sitting within Creative Scotland, it is a partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, working in close collaboration with the sector to ensure its success. Funded by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery, Screen Scotland is driving the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of the sector in Scotland, through enhanced funding, services and support. Find out more about us, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.