Tuesday, July 06, 2010

TV Writers' Festival: Marchant, Milne & Bowker

Peter Bowker [PB]: Power, relationships and family are the mainstays of storytelling. I don’t believe in the Golden Age of TV drama.

Paula Milne [PM]: Things evolve. It’s hard to get one-offs made or commissioned, hard to find an audience.

Tony Marchant [TM]: I’m broadly optimistic. There’s a genuine sense of wanting to enable writers. But BBC4 biopics of the famous eschew examination of the lives of ordinary people. Good drama tells you something about yourself. Biopics don’t do that. BBC2 lost its drama identity for the past 10 years. It’s started regaining that now.

PM: BBC2 could be a really experimental channel for drama and it’s not doing that. Writing can be wayward and maverick, it doesn’t have to be poe-faced.

TM: Crime as a genre isn’t working. We’re all interested in transgression, but it can leave narratives misshapen, such as Five Days II. The crime narrative didn’t work, the faith and family narrative did. We have lost sight of novelistic drama.

PM: It’s been said TV is the theatre of the people. They’re looking for characters for more confident and assured than themselves..

TM: Lower budgets for TV drama should enable a plurality of voices.

PM: I look at a project and ask will I be a better writer at the end of this?

PB: I’m always trying to find new people to work with, to avoid complacency. Themes recur in a writer’s work, inevitably.

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