It’s not possible to just transcribe the novel directly onto the screen as there are constraints of both time and medium. So the writer has to adapt the work knowing the changes they make can be the cause of much heated debate.
Joining Hazel Marshall in the CoP Show studio to discuss what makes a great adaptation are Sarah Phelps and Stewart Harcourt.
Stewart has adapted many Poirots for ITV including Clocks from Christmas 2011 and Treasure Island with Eddie Izzard as Long John Silver for Sky1 at New Year.
Sarah Phelps has adapted the much discussed Great Expectations with Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham for the BBC in December 2011 and Oliver Twist for the BBC in 2007.
Producing profession based dramas
We hear from Sally how insiders, consultants and advisers are used to enable programme makers to portray situations realistically, while Hilary explains how Silk benefits from lead writer Peter Moffat's experience as a criminal barrister. We explore the balance between overuse and over-exposition of technical jargon and hear how too much research can 'tip the boat over'.
Hilary Salmon is executive producer of legal drama Silk. Her list of credits have recently included Inside Men and One Night, whilst she’s also been responsible for Criminal Justice, Silent Witness and Babyfather.
Justin Young is head writer and consultant series producer of Holby City. Justin was a playwright until taking part in the BBC Writers Academy in 2007, before going on to write for Doctors, EastEnders, Casualty and Holby.
Sally Wainwright is writer, co-creator and executive producer of ITV’s Scott and Bailey. Her other credits include Last Tango in Halifax, The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard, Unforgiven and At Home With The Braithwaites.
Writing medical dramas
Interested in writing medical drama? The team behind Holby City, Casualty and Doctors gave some tips for writers in this CoP Talk recorded by BBC Writersroom.
On the panel chaired by Kate Rowland, Creative Director, New Writing was writer Lucia Haynes, Holby City series producer Simon Harper, Casualty’s medical advisor Pete Salt and Anne Edyvean, BBC development producer for continuing drama schemes
The talk took place at the University of the Arts London and was a partnership between BBC Writersroom, Drama Centre London and Central Saint Martins' MA in Dramatic Writing on Wednesday 26th March 2014.
Character development in digital spaces
Multiplatform guru Jon Aird, senior producer of the Psychoville website, talks about extending the characters out of this dark comedy and into their own websites.
Keri Davies, scriptwriter and web producer, tells us of his experiences of The Archers and the Archers spin-off Ambridge Extra on BBC Radio 4 Extra.
Derren Lawford offers his insights gained as exec producer of BBC Three’s Jail Tales. An ambitious mix of multiplatform content about what it's like to be young and in prison, Jail Tales consists of a series of viral YouTube videos, short films, animated shorts and music performances. Derren is currently the commissioning editor for Global iPlayer at BBC Worldwide.
Inner Voices: how writers create character
From William Blake to Charles Dickens, authors have written or talked about experiencing auditory verbal hallucinations when writing fiction or hearing voices that others cannot hear. So is this the same when writing for radio or television? And if so, do writers hear characters as clearly as if a real person were speaking or as an external voice outside of themselves?
In this podcast we hear from accomplished TV and radio writers Sarah Phelps and Al Smith and from Dr. Jennifer Hodgson, co-author of The Writers' Inner Voices project, the first ever large-scale investigation into how writers and storytellers hear voices.
They discuss what it feels like to hear characters, whether there’s a difference between creating characters for television, radio and written fiction and the practicalities of script writing.
Sarah Phelps penned the demise of Dirty Den in EastEnders. She brought to life iconic Dickens characters Miss Havisham and Fagin for her TV adaptations of Oliver Twist and Great Expectations. She also wrote the World War One drama The Crimson Field and adapted JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy for BBC One.
Al Smith has written for TV and radio. He has written for EastEnders and Holby City, co-created teen drama The Cut for BBC Two and wrote Life in the Freezer and The Postman of Good Hope for BBC Radio 4.
Dr. Jennifer Hodgson is a writer and teacher. She holds a PhD in English Studies and has taught on the undergraduate Introduction to the Novel and Post-war Fiction and Poetry course at Durham University as well as postgraduate courses such as Research Methods and Resources modules.
The podcast is presented by BBC Academy producer Helen Hutchinson.
Improvisation for storytellers
Programme makers understand how important addictive stories are for grabbing and keeping audiences, and how hard it can be to create them. So what happens if you just tear up your script and see what happens next?
"Create a playful atmosphere where you try and assess good process through lots of goes, rather like a scientist."– Deborah Frances-White
We hear from our experts about techniques that can be used to great effect while directing and to tease naturalistic performances out of actors.
Dominic Savage is a BAFTA award winning director who specialises in improvised drama. His most recent work was BBC1’s True Love.
Julian Simpson is an established director and writer whose work includes Dr Who, New Tricks and the first ever improvised play for Radio 4, A Time to Dance.
Deborah Frances-White is a writer, stand up comedian and co-founder of The Spontaneity Shop where she teaches improvisational techniques.