What is your current day job & role with YAFTA?
My current day job is that of screenwriter – I’m working on several projects, the main one being a movie set in Mauritius. I’ve been a lecturer in Screenwriting at the University of Worcester for the past five years, and I also lead a monthly Creative Writing workshop in Worcestershire. For YAFTA, I’m tutor for the Applied Screenwriting Diploma course, which we’re running for the first time, and it’s been great fun. We’ve got a really good group there.
What was your first job in the industry?
My first proper (i.e. paid) job as a writer was, ironically enough, for Opera North. I was still at drama school at the time, but a director who was working with us asked me to adapt the libretto of a Danish comic opera. We were on tour in Holland and Belgium at the time, and I went straight from that tour to Leeds to work with the company over the Easter holiday.
What is your favourite/best TV moment?
I’m not sure I have a best or favourite TV moment. I do show clips to students on my Radio & TV Comedy course at university and some of those clips are chosen because they’re so startling. They’re reminders of what TV could get away with, before things became much more prescriptive. In my own career, one of my best moments was being there with a BBC crew when we blew up a transit van in the New Forest for a series called “Between the Lines”. The director had wanted to blow up a petrol tanker, but the BBC said no. So we invented a terrible rock band and blew up their van instead.
What one piece of advice would you give to those starting out in the industry?
It’s a very strange industry, and there aren’t really any rules. My best advice would be ‘stick to your guns and never forget why you wanted this in the first place.’
Who would be your three dream dinner party guests from the world of screen?
I think it would be James Mason, Alfred Hitchcock and Verity Lambert.