Saddened by the news about TAPS shutting its doors after 18 years of helping writers get a toe in the door with TV drama. The writing had been on the wall since TAPS lost a six-figure sum in funding from Skillset last year. The news coincided with filming wrapping on The Bill, the ITV cop drama with which TAPS often worked.
I first encountered TAPS in 2006 thanks to its weekend-long workshop for TV drama script editors. Didn't tell me everything I wanted to know [an impossible task in two days], but offered a lot of insights and information. It was also a damn sight cheaper than the only other option, a two-day BBC Training introductory course that cost £670 back then [now its £840!].
In 2007 I went to the Cardiff for the TAPS Continuing Drama Workshop. This was a rites of passage for numerous budding screenwriters over the years, with veteran Emmerdale scribe Bill Lyons offering a crash course in brutal honesty. A talented few would have a script filmed on the Emmerdale sets for showcasing on the TAPS website [including Jason Arnopp].
Looking back, I found the Continuing Drama Workshop a lot less satisfying than the script editing course I did with TAPS. Some good challenges over the weekend, but comments by one or two guest speakers rankled. I knew before leaving Cardiff that I wasn't going to be selected for showcasing, but I'm still fond of my script.
Cutbacks in funding are what have done for TAPS, but there's another reality. But when it began in 1992 there were next to no places you could take courses about writing for TV drama. Now there are screenwriting MAs and short course aplenty, it's a crowded market. Still, I wish the best to Jill James, Diane Culverhouse and company - thanks for all you did. Onwards!