Students pitch their ideas to TV industry experts

25 March 2015

Eileen Gallagher

Eileen Gallagher

Scriptwriters on the University’s MA TV Fiction Writing programme presented their ideas to Eileen Gallagher and Ann McManus of Shed Media, the writing and production team which made the likes of Bad Girls, Waterloo Road and Footballers’ Wives.

The industry experts returned to GCU to hear original script ideas presented by students and to offer their advice and an insight into the commissioning of television dramas.

Eileen Gallagher, who together with Ann McManus played a key role in founding the MA TV Fiction Writing programme, said: “Students get a solid grounding of what it is like to work in the industry. It’s a very practical course and they start now by writing scripts which will be their calling card to the industry.”

“This is the beginning of a process, which includes an individual mentor and a London agent when they finish, mirroring what the industry is like.”

The programme has developed close relationships with key industry figures and organisations and, this year, has welcomed actor Blythe Duff and former BBC Head of Drama and Honorary Professor Mal Young, who championed the return of the Dr Who series, produced EastEnders, and brought Doctors, Holby City and Waking the Dead to the screens. 

MA TV Fiction Writing lecturer and TV script writer Professor Ann Marie Di Mambro said: “Students are given an opportunity to hear first-hand from experienced writers and producers, Eileen and Ann, about their ideas for television scripts and what it takes to make it in the industry. The course has developed a great collaboration with its industry partners and we are delighted to present our students’ work and ideas. We welcome the positive feedback we receive from the industry, helping us to promote and produce talented writers ready to take up jobs in writing for television.

The MA TV Fiction Writing programme is the only dedicated full-time postgraduate programme of its type in the UK and has attracted more than £500,000 in scholarship funding from, among others, BBC Scotland, Warner Bros. and FremantleMedia.

Students are taught by practising writers Ann Marie Di Mambro and Chris Dolan and success stories include graduate Mark Stevenson, who has gone on to write for EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City;  Philip Wright, writer for Hollyoaks; and Amy Hawes, who is in the story team at River City.