Writing for TV

Earlier this year I said I was getting fed up with low-budget movies and wanted to try and get more TV work. Well, so far, I haven’t.

(The Wrong Door doesn’t count because I did all the writing for that last year.)

A while back, after voicing this opinion (the one about wanting to write for TV, not the one about The Wrong Door) someone asked me which shows I’d like to write for:

“Well, there’s Doctor Who, obviously, and … um … hmm.”

The truth is: I don’t watch that much telly. I don’t really have the time and a lot of the stuff I manage to catch, I don’t like.

I’m not a big fan of soaps, for two reasons:

  1. I don’t watch them regularly and find them difficult to drop into. Because the stories run over many, many weeks – if you don’t know who the characters are then it’s hard to get excited about a tiny fraction of a scene from the middle of the story.
  2. I’m not a big fan of reality on TV. I like my entertainment to be quite far removed from reality. That’s not to say it shouldn’t be dramatic and have human issues at the heart – but I like there to be some element to it which is a bit fantastical. Most of the stuff I see in soaps has happened to me or one of my friends and it wasn’t particularly entertaining at the time.

I’m not passing judgement on the quality or value of these shows – they just don’t really interest me. Reason two also applies to most cops and docs shows. Although I have other issues with hospital dramas – mainly the whole business of creating characters just so you can maim them and have a doctor show compassion for them. It all seems a little cruel.

Mandy loves Casualty and Holby and such like; and on the rare occasion I stay in the room when they’re on I keep thinking about how the writer came up with the storylines:

“Let’s have a little girl who loves to dance and wants to be a ballerina.”

“Yeah, and … ?”

“And then lets run her over with a train and have to amputate her legs.”

“Brilliant! You’re a fucking genius! I love it! Maim that happy little bitch”

Nah, not for me.

So what do I want to write for, seeing a I’ve ruled out just about everything on TV?

I still don’t really know. Although, I have to say I caught an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures the other day and I thought it was brilliant. I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be making a vague effort to watch more.

So that makes the list:

Doctor Who
The Sarah Jane Adventures

And that’s it so far.

Pathetic, isn’t it? Must try harder.

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Categories: Industry Musings, Random Witterings | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Writing for TV

  1. Agree totally about reality TV and Doc drama’s, the cop show has been done so many times from so many angles it’s hard to imagine a new take.

    There are other drama’s out there though. I think Primeval is great fun, and Doc Martin is light but very witty.

    Shows like Torchwood and Bonekickers may be patchy but they demonstrate that not everyone is afraid of a drama that isn’t about crime or injury!

    I think it’s time for new shows and I think it’s up to us to create them.

    So there!

  2. I’m absolutely positive there are new ways to do cop shows – I just don’t really have the interest or the ability to find them. Primeval, Bonekickers, Doc Martin – they could all be superb, but I just haven’t got round to watching them.

    Creating and writing a new show would be cool – but I’d rather have some experience working for someone else first.

    I like to take baby steps.

  3. Noooooo…. not baby steps!

    Sorry. That was an instinctive, uncontrollable reaction to the words “baby steps”. At the Screenwriting Festival this year, the only below-par session was run by a lady who talked about getting your writing career off the ground… and her catchphrase was “baby steps”. Which for some reason, came across as so deeply patronising that it made you want to invert the poor woman and dip her head into the nearby lake.

  4. What if I say I was using it ironically? Would that let me off the hook?

  5. No… gawd bless ya… but it’s too late. I’ve already keeled over with the horror of it all. You go on… save yerself…

    Luckily, I’ve foreseen incidents whereby I keel over with the horror of it all, and have installed a second keyboard and (non-touch)screen on the floor at ground level. Which is how I’m able to write this comment.

  6. Perhaps some kind of stabilisers might be in order? A frame you strap to your waist which prevents you from keeling over in the event of feeling all overcome.

  7. Sort of like a weeble?

    I like that image, so much in fact that it has replaced my previous mental image of Jason.

  8. Why not write your own TV series?

    P.S. I also have fond memories of that Casualty episode with the ballerina: was good, wasn’t it?!

    P.P.S. The Wrong Door was great. Particularly your bits. Well done.

  9. Christ, was that a real episode? Oh, now I feel like a cunt for ridiculing a fellow writer.

  10. No, I was kidding. But it does sound oddly familiar.

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