Budding screenwriters from Yorkshire could be in with a chance to write for Coronation Street after ITV announced the return of a diversity scheme.
Aspiring drama writers from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are being offered an opportunity to work on the soap through the broadcaster’s Original Voices programme.
It aims to provide workplace training opportunities in ITV Continuing Drama to develop the writing skills of applicants from such backgrounds, while also “creatively connecting” the broadcaster with diverse talent that is under-represented on mainstream channels.
First launched in 2013, ITV has run the Original Voices scheme four times so far with writers gaining the opportunity to join the story teams and even the writing teams of both Coronation Street and Leeds-based soap Emmerdale.
The four best-suited applicants will get an opportunity to spend a month in the Coronation Street story office, where they can hone their skills at creating gripping drama, weaving multiple story strands and writing credible long-running story arcs.
They would then spend four weeks in the script department with the script producer and script editors, following an episode through the script process. They would be mentored in this part of the process by the writer whose episode they were following.
The successful candidates would then be given the opportunity to write a shadow script, which is commissioned at the same time as the script by the current writer, following that process in parallel, to complete the learning of the whole story to script process.
Successful candidates will be paid a fee on a fixed term contract.
John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the North said: “The twin engines of any long running series are the story office and the script department.
“They are also a great stepping stone onto a show’s writing team. This scheme, aimed at writers from BAME backgrounds, gives the four successful applicants a unique opportunity to spend time in both those areas, understanding what makes a continuing drama tick and contributing to its creative and editorial process. All in all, it’s a perfect grounding in soap.
“From ITV’s perspective, we need our shows not just to look diverse on screen but to feel diverse in their heart. And that comes from having a diverse editorial team making them.
“This scheme opens us up to brand new diverse talent and introduces us to people who will be story lining, script editing, writing and one day hopefully producing ITV’s two most important shows, Coronation Street and Emmerdale.”
Ade Rawcliffe, head of diversity at ITV Commissioning, said: “We are delighted to support Original Voices and are committed to creating opportunities for ITV to broaden the range of writers we work with.
“Diversity of voices is the lifeblood of creativity and it is essential that ITV works towards representing the diversity of modern Britain, both on and off screen.”
Applicants interested in the scheme can apply by sending in one sample script (television, film, theatre, radio or similar), accompanied by a short script synopsis and a biography/CV.
Scripts should be between 30 and 90 minutes, in a standard format and received by midnight on October 31.
Submissions will be shortlisted to a group of 12. The successful applicants will be notified in mid-November and invited to a one-day Coronation Street storylining workshop in ITV Studios, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester.
Following this, writers will have a week to write up and submit a bespoke story line. On the strength of this story line, pitching skills at the workshop and their original script submission, four writers will be selected.
Applicants can apply by sending their submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: John Blow