There's one thing that almost never happens in British TV drama: a new writer crafts a speculative pilot script for a new series - and it gets commissioned. But tonight sees just such a show gets its first broadcast. Harley Street is a glossy medical drama created by ex-actor Marston Bloom, and developed by Carnival Film and Television for ITV. [Robin Kelly's got a Harley Street preview here.]
There's a lot of great TV writers in Britain who got their start on continuing drama series [a.k.a. soap operas], such as Jimmy McGovern and Paul Abbott. Others rise through the ranks from children's television, like Russell T Davies. But there's also a significant clutch of scribes who got their start as actors before turning to writing as a way of expressing themselves. Lynda La Plante and Kay Mellor are examples that spring to mind.
Have to confess I'm not bursting with enthusiasm to see yet another medical drama, having watched Doctors, Casualty and Holby City non-stop since Christmas to prepare for my BBC Writers' Academy application. [Congratulations to blogger Michelle Lipton who's gotten through to the second stage of academy selection this year, by the way.] But I'll probably giving Harley Street a try so I can study the storytelling choices.