Scriptwriting students buoyed by graduate success stories

12 February 2016

Episodes of children's sci-fi drama Eve have been written by MA TV Fiction Writing graduate Mark Stevenson and lecturer Ann Marie Di Mambro

Episodes of children's sci-fi drama Eve have been written by MA TV Fiction Writing graduate Mark Stevenson and lecturer Ann Marie Di Mambro

Leading television drama writers Ann McManus and Eileen Gallagher returned to Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and hailed the success of its MA TV Fiction Writing graduates.

The writing and production duo behind Bad Girls, Waterloo Road and Footballers’ Wives conceptualised and shaped the design of the degree, which started in 2009.

TV Fiction graduates are now writing for a wide range of popular TV dramas including Eastenders, Casualty, Holby City, River City, Doctors and Hollyoaks.

Every student has an industry mentor and access to a London Talent Agency and script editor, whilst key industry figures, including commissioning editors and actors, visit regularly to offer their industry insight.

Eileen said: “There isn’t a degree in the world like it, it’s so unique and we are very proud of its success so far, producing graduates going on to great writing careers. Our graduates are our ambassadors and their achievements speak volumes.

“It is an intensive, highly practical degree run by lecturers who are active in the industry, writing right now. We worked really hard to devise its content and to take students already at a good grounding onto the next level.”

Eileen and Ann founded Shed Media, which has subsequently been bought by Warner Brothers. They were on campus to meet the seventh cohort of students as they pitched their original programme ideas.

From a children’s version of Game of Thrones to dark web dramas and people trafficking, scriptwriting students covered a wide range of subjects, taking the expert feedback on board as they further develop their story concepts.

Ann added: “We know just how difficult it is to break into this industry and the thing that distinguishes a successful writer is the ability not to be put off by failure, to pick yourself up from rejection and write again.

“There is more to come from the degree programme and yes, there will be students who don’t go onto the career they planned, but the skills they have gained can take them down so many different routes.”

The MA TV Fiction Writing degree celebrated another major milestone as graduate Mark Stevenson and lecturer Ann Marie Di Mambro have both written episodes for the same programme. Eve, a children's sci-fi drama series is currently being broadcast on CBBC.

Professor Di Mambro said: “I love these sessions as they are so interactive. Ann and Eileen always get their sleeves rolled up and for our students to get insight, guidance and feedback from two of the best script writers in the business is priceless.

“It is a highly competitive business and our students know there is no guarantee of a job, but we are delighted by how many of our graduates have secured careers doing exactly what the degree is tailored to, writing TV Fiction.”

The MA TV Fiction Writing is the only dedicated full-time postgraduate programme of its type in the UK, supported by scholarships from Warner Brothers, BBC Scotland, Larkhall Films, MG Alba and from GCU, in honour of the late David MacLennan, an Honorary Graduate who co-founded stage companies 7:84 and Wildcat Theatre.