Hollyoaks writer returns to GCU

13 February 2014

GCU graduate Philip Wright

GCU graduate Philip Wright

Things took a dramatic turn when Hollyoaks writer and GCU graduate Philip Wright returned to the campus to take part in a storyline workshop with MA TV Fiction Writing students. During a lively two-hour session, Philip, 24, who graduated from the postgraduate programme in 2012, encouraged students to come up with new plotlines, cliffhangers and characters for the hit teen drama.

And the students didn’t disappoint, bombarding Philip with a range of exciting potential storylines featuring new relationships and characters, shoplifting and alcoholism. Philip shared his expertise with students on the limits that would be imposed on certain plot shifts, the risks associated with irresponsible storylines and how to best engage with the many industry professionals who support the MA TV Fiction Writing programme.

Philip joined Hollyoaks as a researcher through a contact he met while studying at GCU, and for the past seven months he has been working in the story office.

He said: “Before I started at GCU, I worked in animation, coming up with ideas and characters for iPhone games. I realised that I liked the writing the story to go with animations better than the actual animating but while I was decent at spelling and understood English, that was about it when it came to script writing.

“At GCU, I learned so much about writing and structure and gained loads of industry contacts, too. Having an MA associated with television industry names such as Shed Media also set me apart from a billion other people who were after jobs.”

“It has been great to come back and meet the students. It seems no time ago that I was sitting where they are now so it is quite surreal for me.”

Professor Ann Marie Di Mambro, lecturer, said: “There is no finer moment in teaching than when someone returns to the university as a success and wants to give something back. It was fantastic to have Philip on campus, talking to our students.”

The MA Television Fiction Writing, one of GCU’s flagship programmes, is the only dedicated postgraduate course of its type in the UK. The University worked with leading figures in the sector to create an intensive one- year course that will give aspiring TV drama writers, from all backgrounds, the tools and access they need to embark upon or strengthen a successful career in television fiction writing.

Since it launched in 2009, the programme has attracted significant financial support for scholarships from companies including Shed Media Group, Fremantle, MG Alba, ScreenHI/Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Screen, BBC Scotland, the Shelagh Anne Venning Trust and most recently from Warner Bros.