The new range of BBC Studios TalentWorks training and development opportunities cater to emerging and established talent and will enable BBC Studios to continue to produce award-winning dramas and comedies for UK and international audiences, as well as supporting the growth and success of the wider UK drama industry. Deborah Sathe, Creative Director for BBC Studios Drama Productions will now oversee all scripted training initiatives.
Among the offering, is a newly created The Writer Spotlight scheme, which will work with eight drama writers and four comedy performers, who have previously worked on commissioned series, to develop and harness their own ideas and IP through workshops, events and access to industry experts. The first cohort of 12 writers will be partnered with the production teams at four of BBC Studios production labels – Firebird Pictures, House Productions, Lookout Point and Sid Gentle Films as well as with the BBC Drama Productions team. The 12 writers selected are: Waleed Akhtar, Ciara Conway, Jamie Davis, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Lizzie Nunnery, Meg Salter, Ben Tagoe, Toby Walton, Jess Bray, Rachel Harper Yemi Oyefuwa and Laura Smyth. Over the course of the next year the talent will work with a dedicated team to develop their pilot scripts for their own shows.
Finding and championing new voices has always been a key part of BBC Studios success and will continue to be, and so for new and developing writing talent, it offers the Writers Studio: Soap, and Writers Studio: Cosy Crime courses. These courses will give new talent the opportunity to work in BBC Studios Drama Productions on major shows including EastEnders, Casualty, River City, Pobol y Cwm, Father Brown and Sister Boniface Mysteries and learn how to craft successful episodes.
Deborah Sathe, Creative Director, BBC Drama Productions, says: “BBC Studios’ soap, medical dramas and cosy crime productions have always been an extraordinary training ground yielding so many stars. Through BBC Studios TalentWorks, we are extending our training ambitions to offer world class support, access and experience to see a new wave of British storytellers flourish. I am so excited about the talent we are working with and the shows they will launch. It is a really exhilarating time to be part of BBC Studios.”
Today’s announcement follows the recent repositioning of BBC Studios Drama Productions, led by Kate Oates, which delivers ambitious, commercially optimised and returnable drama series for the domestic and international markets. With the scripted training schemes now under the leadership of Deborah Sathe, who also oversees the development slates being driven by the new hires Tom Williams (Head of Development) and Roxanne Harvey (Executive Producer for Casualty and Development Wales), BBC Drama Productions will be in a strong position to bring the most competitive slate to the UK and global market.
The unit is already working with a number of commissioners and has a slate that includes EastEnders, Casualty, Father Brown, Sister Boniface, River City, Pobol Y Cwm, and new comedy-drama Anfamol. Silent Witness will also move to the unit when it moves to the West Midlands later in 2024. It is also working on exciting new drama developments for the BBC and domestic and international channels and platforms.