Top UK Showrunner Anthony Horowitz: ‘This is the golden age of TV’

Anthony Horowitz’s name is as well-known as any TV writer’s name can be – in the UK where he has written and produced some of the best written and most popular police procedurals in the history of British TV. We’re talking about Foyle’s War, Collision, Midsomer Murders, and many more. The article below gives us a chance to go beyond the usual puffery and actually learn a bit about the mindset it takes to succeed as a major TV force in any country:

Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz

by Tim Masters

As its title suggests, New Blood endeavours to offer a fresh journey along the well-trodden path of TV crime drama.

But even an experienced writer like Anthony Horowitz admits it wasn’t easy making fraud a sexy subject for the small screen.

“Fraud is very difficult to dramatise,” he says after a private screening of the first episode.

“People are not going to sit there and listen to figures and share movements.”

As part of his research, Horowitz made several visits to the Serious Fraud Office, and an SFO adviser was attached to the production.

“The SFO is brand new to TV, so what the world will understand on how they work comes from me,” says Horowitz.

“I had a duty to be true to the sort of people they are, but at the same time I couldn’t make them boring or show investigations that last two or three years – they have to be solved in three weeks.

“It’s an interesting balance between reality and fiction. I hope I’ve been responsible.”

The seven-part series, set in contemporary London, stars Mark Strepan as Stefan Kowolski, a junior investigator for the Serious Fraud Office, and Ben Tavassoli as young PC Arrash “Rash” Sayyad.

They find themselves investigating seemingly unrelated cases connected to a dodgy pharmaceutical trial in India six years earlier.

The cast includes Mark Addy, as an old-school detective, and Anna Chancellor as Stefan’s boss.

But Horowitz’s focus is very much on what he calls his “Generation Y” characters – those born in the 1980s and early 90s – and the challenges they face living in the capital.

“The kids who read Alex Rider [Horowitz’s best-selling series of teenage spy novels] were aged eight, nine and 10 and now they are Generation Y,” he says.

“Stefan and Rash are Alex Rider grown up, in a way.”

As with Peter Kay’s Car Share, viewers will be able to watch New Blood on the BBC iPlayer next week, ahead of transmission on BBC One.

Horowitz acknowledges that it’s a good way to launch a show about a younger generation, but he’s keen not to exclude other viewers.

“I didn’t write this TV just for 20- and 30-year-olds,” he says.

“I’m 60, and I binge watch TV.

“It’s the way things are going.

“It is also true, and the BBC are aware of it, that we have to nurture a new TV audience.

“We can’t just write drama for mums and dads and grandparents.

“I was always told with Foyle’s War that it was ‘everybody’s mother’s favourite programme’.

“It used to occur to me why couldn’t it be their favourite programme too?”

Horowitz’s other TV writing credits include Poirot, Murder in Mind, Injustice, Robin of Sherwood and Crime Traveller.

As an author, he resurrected Sherlock Holmes in his 2011 novel The House of Silk and its 2014 sequel Moriarty.

Last year saw the publication of his James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, and the premiere of his satirical play Dinner with Saddam.

While he adapted his own Alex Rider novel Stormbreaker into a 2006 movie, most of his screenwriting is for the small screen….

Read it all at the BBC Website


Award Winning Web Series Pilot – LILAC – Needs Us!

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the past we’ve published several articles about the astounding success Hank Isaac’s pilot, LILAC, has had on the indie film festival circuit. It seems as though, award-wise, LILAC sets a record every time it is shown. But like every other important new creative development, Hank Isaac’s gutsy tale needs help to find a larger audience. We at TVWriter™ would like to see this series get that help so now, without further ado, we present:

YouTube Preview Image

by Hank Isaac

lilac fundingWhen finished, Lilac will be a series of thirteen ten-minute episodes that asks the question:  What if Robin Hood was a homeless ten-year-old girl living in a modern city?

The Pilot Episode of Lilac has already been an official selection in 45 international film festivals and has won a total of 33 awards for acting, directing, cinematography, pilot teleplay, story, original score, original song, and series concept.

Aimed at a broad family audience, Lilac deals with some pretty serious issues such as homelessness, bullying, abuse, smoking, and violence. To further the series by building an audience, I’m asking you to simply click on the Pilot Episode above or the link here to build “views”:

You can also watch the episode on its Vimeo page here if you prefer:

Lilac is seeking funding and here’s some exciting news:

It is now possible to make a tax deductible charitable contribution to Lilac.

Lilac has partnered with From the Heart Productions, a not-for-profit corporation
which selects a few projects each year to assist.  If you would like some specific
information about this, please send a note to:

Thanks for your help and please visit Lilac’s Facebook page for details about festivals, awards, and some behind-the-scenes glimpses.

WGAW Career Longevity Special Event

wgaw lear and lorre

by TVWriter™ Press Service

What can we say but “These guys are giants!?” This looks to be the most valuable evening of the year for WGAW members and non-members alike. TVWriter™ heartily recommends it. Hey, maybe we’ll see you there?

Native American TV writers lab calling for script submissions

A cause dear to TVWriter™’s collective heart:

logo-outlinedby LA Skins Fest

The LA Skins Fest, a Native American film festival, in partnership with NBCUniversal, CBS Entertainment Diversity and HBO announced today they are accepting applications for the inaugural the NATIVE AMERICAN TV WRITERS LAB.

“CBS Entertainment Diversity is proud to continue our long partnership with the LA Skins Fest. The NATIVE AMERICAN TV WRITERS LAB will provide another point of entry for emerging writers that we look forward to getting to know,” said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, CBS, EVP Diversity, Inclusion & Communications.

The NATIVE AMERICAN TV WRITERS LAB is an intensive TV writing workshop that prepares Native Americans for writing careers at major television networks. This lab is designed to address the lack of Native American writers in primetime network TV.

The NATIVE AMERICAN TV WRITERS LAB was created in accordance with the LA Skins Fest’s mission to improve media portrayals of Native Americans and to increase the number of Native Americans employed in all facets of the media industry.

“NBCUniversal is pleased to partner with the LA Skins Fest, offering a valuable pipeline for Native American actors, writers and directors. We are dedicated to fostering diverse storytelling and are proud to support the NATIVE AMERICAN TV WRITERS LAB,” Craig Robinson, Executive Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, NBCUniversal.

Read it all at Native Times

2016 Disney/ABC Writing Program Participants Chosen

Disney helps noobsby Team TVWriter™ Press Service

The Disney/ABC Television Group in association with the WGA West have chosen eight 2012 participants for its annual writing program.

The participants on the comedy side are directors’ assistant Dayo Adesokan (Lagos, Nigeria), writers’ assistant Amanda Idoko (Bronx, NY) and reality segment producer Andrew Mathieson (Burke, VA).

Drama writers are financial consultant Ron McCants (Springfield, MO), USC Law School graduate and showrunners’ assistant Miguel Ian Raya (Los Angeles), playwright and Occidental College Adjunct Professor Janine Salinas Schoenberg (Lima, Peru and Walnut Creek, CA), writers’ production assistant Christina Walker (Virginia Beach, VA) and engineer and writers’ assistant Jeffery Wang (Monterey, CA)

The writing program has helped launch the careers of several TV scribes including George Mastras (Breaking Bad), Veena Sud (The Killing) and Maria Jacquemetton (Mad Men).

Learn more about the program HERE

Writers Guild of Great Britain Honors Russell T. Davies

Russell-T-Daviesby Team TVWriter™ Press Service

…As well it should, and not only because of his work bringing DOCTOR WHO back to our screens. Mr. Davies is one of TVWriter™’s major heroes. We stand in awe of his amazing career.

Here’s the story, direct from the WGGB:

Acclaimed writer and producer Russell T Davies was presented the coveted Outstanding Contribution to Writing Award at the annual Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards at RIBA, in London, on 18 January 2016.

The award was presented by Paul Abbott – celebrated writer and creator of numerous TV hits such as Shameless and State of Play – to Davies in honour of his illustrious body of work for TV, including critical and popular successes such as the seminal Queer as Folk, the hugely successful revival of Doctor Who, and recent innovative drama trilogy, Cucumber, Banana and Tofu. Davies and Abbott are both members of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB).

Of his win Davies said: “For me, this is the greatest of honours, coming from fellow writers, and I’m enormously grateful to the Writers’ Guild – for this, and for the work it does for writers everywhere.”

And here’s the full list of winners:

Writers’ Guild Awards 2016 winners (and nominees)

Outstanding Contribution to Writing
Russell T Davies

Best Radio Comedy
Winner: Deborah Frances-White Rolls The Dice by Deborah Frances-White
Shortlisted: Ed Reardon’s Week by Andrew Nickolds and Christopher Douglas, Boswell’s Lives by
Jon Canter

Best Radio Drama
Winner: Quill by Tony Jones
Shortlisted: Fragments by Laura Lomas, Orpheus & Eurydice by Linda Marshall Griffiths

Best Long Running TV Series
Winner: River City, Series 13, Episode 8 by Louise Ironside
Shortlisted: Holby City, Series 17, Episode 50 “At First I was Afraid” by Julia Gilbert, Emmerdale, Episode 7188/89 by Maxine Alderton

Best Writing in a Video Game
Winner: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture by Dan Pinchbeck
Shortlisted: Her Story by Sam Barlow, Sunless Sea by Alexis Kennedy, Richard Cobbett, Amal El-Mohtar, Chris Gardiner, Meg Jayanth and Emily Short

Best Children’s TV Episode
Winner: Eve, Final Episode “Control, Alter, Delete” by Emma Reeves
Shortlisted: The Dumping Ground, Series 3, Episode 10 “Dragon Slayer” by Julie Dixon, Katie Morag and the Worst Day Ever by Sergio Casci

Best Long Form TV Drama
Winner: Not Safe for Work by DC Moore
Shortlisted: Banished by Jimmy McGovern, Wolf Hall by Peter Straughan

Best First Screenplay
Winner: X + Y by James Graham
Shortlisted: ’71 by Gregory Burke, The Falling by Carol Morley

Best Play for Young Audiences
Winner: Three Wise Monkeys by Mike Kenny
Shortlisted: Bird by Laura Lomas, Muddy Choir by Jesse Briton

Best Play
Winner: Jefferson’s Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Shortlisted: Liberian Girl by Diana Nneka Atuona, Temple by Steve Waters

Best Screenplay
Winner: Paddington by Paul King
Shortlisted: Wild by Nick Hornby, Ex Machina by Alex Garland

Best TV Situation Comedy
Winner: Veep Season Four by Simon Blackwell, Jon Brown, Kevin Cecil, Roger Drew, Peter Fellows, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Sean Gray, Callie Hersheway, Armando Iannucci, Sean Love, Ian Martin, Georgia Pritchett, David Quantick, Andy Riley, Tony Roche, Will Smith
Shortlisted: Catastrophe by Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, W1A by John Morton

Best Short Form TV Drama
Winner: Code of a Killer by Michael Crompton
Shortlisted: The Casual Vacancy by Sarah Phelps, The Gamechangers by James Wood

TVWriter™ congratulates one and all!