Soap plot thickens as writers join course

August 25, 1995

Two leading writers from the soap world are to join university lecturers to teach up-and-coming scriptwriters some tricks of the trade.

EastEnders writer Chris Reason and Emmerdale's Gary Brown will join academics from the Centre for Media Performance and Communication at University College Salford - from where the cardboard facade of Coronation Street is almost visible - to teach on a new MA programme.

Both began as storyline writers for "The Street" and Mr Reason said he wished a university course had been available to him in the early days of his career. "The course provides a tremendous opportunity for new writers to learn the craft of scriptwriting from the fundamentals of how to tell a story through to the completion of full-length screenplays," he said.

The MA covers various forms of scriptwriting from television and radio drama to soap opera and comedy and also provides training in how to market and sell scripts to broadcasters. "You can be the best writer in the world and still not get your work read. It's vital that young writers learn how to market their talents effectively," said Mr Brown.

Students will learn how to pitch ideas, how to target and write for available slots in the schedule and how to nurture working relationships with producers and commissioning editors.

Kevin Wilson, director of the centre, said the north west was the perfect place for such a programme: "There has always been a wealth of talent here and Granada and BBC North produce some of the best television and radio drama in the world," he said.

"We are confident that our graduates can reach the highest professional standards and hope that many will themselves become part of the region's best scriptwriting tradition."

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