On the Waterloo Road to success

02 March 2011

On the Waterloo Road to success

Stuart Hill, Lissa Tognini and Chris Willshaw

An online drama written by three GCU MA TV Fiction writing students is now being screened on bbc.co.uk and on television via the red button.

Waterloo Road Reunited was filmed in Glasgow and features stars who left the popular programme. 

Stuart Hill, Lissa Tognini and Chris Willshaw were given their first TV script writing job by Shed Productions, the company behind both the original BBC drama about life at the Manchester comprehensive school and the spin-off.

Lissa said it felt natural to write for the digital and online commission that uses a fictional social network to extend fans’ experience beyond the acting.

She said: “We did a lot of work on Waterloo Road when we were at university so it almost felt natural to write the storylines for the spin-off. We knew the characters so well, it was really exciting to write their new lives and also to write their blogs and the social networking that goes with the show.

“The three of us were always emailing each other with new scripts and bouncing ideas off each other.”

The students worked under Shed’s creative director Ann McManus who created the students’ university course with her company’s chief executive, Eileen Gallagher. The company also produced hit shows Bad Girls and Footballers Wives.

Eileen said: “We really want to nurture and create industry-ready writers for British television. Shed is sponsoring scholarships and has a close working relationship with Caledonian University. It is testament to the quality of the course that we were able to offer three of its first graduates this opportunity.”

Course leader Catriona Miller added: “We are absolutely thrilled for Lissa, Stuart and Chris! It’s amazing that they have gone from graduating less than a year ago to having their first script broadcast on TV. This is exactly what we aimed for with this course - to produce people who are capable of writing for TV. It’s a testament to our close working relationship with Shed Media, who have been instrumental in helping to develop and support the course.”