Almost ten years ago I co-wrote a feature film with Saul Dibb, Bullet Boy. I was nervous about writing for film because having been a film student and having had one (very small) toe in the water I know how much of a lottery it can be. A film can have an excellent script and brilliant performances, a wonderful crew and masterly direction but still end up like a car crash. It’s such a big group effort there are so many places that things can go wrong. But we were lucky. We had brilliant performances – including those from Ashley Walters and Clare Perkins, wonderful crew and direction and it looked great.
So on the back of that I got a few job offers. Looking back I wish I chased more then, but I had a youngish family and maybe it just wasn’t the right time. Anyway one of those jobs was for Channel Four, a TV piece for a teenage audience about sexual exploitation. This was, ooh nearly ten years ago now, and this story has never for one year dropped out of the press. Sadly it is always topical. So I did lots of research, I spent time in a Barnardos run safe house and talked to the staff and the girls. I had wonderful script editing and guidance from wonderful producers. We were all very pleased. Then as so often happens in TV and publishing or any creative industry, the high up who commissioned the project left and the new official didn’t want to run with someone else’s baby.
Only of course it wasn’t. One of the lovely producers, Andrea Michell, thought it might make a good feature film, we got a director in worked on the script. That fell through. The script was good though, it became my calling card and worked wonders for me. It got me a place on the last ever John Yorke led BBC Writer’s Academy and Kate Rowland, who heads up New Writing at the BBC , thought it would make a great radio play.
I had no idea how writing for radio worked, luckily my producer at BBC Radio Drama Marion Nancarrow held my hand, and the play, Fresh Berries was broadcast last spring. But even that wasn’t the end of it. It was nominated for the Prix Italia – didn’t win, but I’ve just heard it’s been nominated for another award, the Imison Award for new radio drama and I get to go to the ceremony and wear frock instead of wallowing around in my pit in my pyjamas so I am one happy writer.