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Colin Shaw wrote many radio plays and features, and a stage play for children. But his impact on writers’ lives was bigger than that, because from 1953-1977 he worked at the BBC, starting as a radio drama producer and going on to be Assistant Head of Programmes, North Region, and Head of Programme Planning Group, BBC Television. He ended his time at the BBC as Chief Secretary to the Board of Governors.
From 1977-83 he was Director of Television for the Independent Broadcasting Authority. From 1983-87 he was Director, Programme Planning for ITV Companies' Association. He was Founding Director of the Broadcasting Standards Council from 1988-96.
And even when he retired from such elevated positions, he carried on his work on behalf of writers as one of the chief negotiators with the BBC for the Society of Authors, co-operating closely with the Writers’ Guild, of which he was also a member.
Colin Shaw was also a Governor of the English-Speaking Union, 1977-83; a Member of the Arts Council of Great Britain, 1977-80; and in 1987 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Television Society.
Over 50,000 writers for film and TV were represented at the World Conference of Screenwriters (WCOS), which took place on 1-2 October 2014 in Warsaw.
A delegation from the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain joined 29 other guilds and writers' organisations from 19 European countries, plus North America, New Zealand, Israel, Mexico, South Africa and India.
The conference, the third of its kind, took as its theme the ‘golden age of TV’ and explored issues affecting creators in the audio-visual sector. These included writing for an international market, independent cinema, episodic television and children and young audiences.
It also brought together authors of globally renowned film and TV productions, Oscar winners and holders of other prestigious awards, including Writers’ Guild member Andrew Davies (House of Cards) and Israeli film and TV writer Hagai Levi (In Treatment).
BAFTA-nominee and Writers’ Guild of Great Britain President Olivia Hetreed was among the delegates, and took part in panel discussions on the lack of representation of women writers and the pros and cons of co-production.
Writers’ Guild General Secretary Bernie Corbett took part in panel discussions focusing on negotiation and copyright.
The international gathering of screenwriters' guilds, unions and associations brought together the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE) and the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG), of which the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain is a member.
Previous World Conferences of Screenwriters have been held in Barcelona (2012) and Athens (2009). They built on successful joint initiatives including the European Screenwriters' Manifesto (2006) and an International Day of Solidarity in support of the Writers Guild of America high-profile strike in 2007/8.
Written Into the Picture, a report investigating screenwriters’ lack of visibility at film festivals, was published at the second conference in Barcelona in 2012 where it was resolved that the vital contribution of screenwriters needed to be more fully acknowledged.
“It is fantastic that writers and their guilds from many countries can gather to discuss the issues they face – and even better that WCOS is now genuinely global, with representatives from every continent,” said Writers’ Guild of Great Britain General Secretary Bernie Corbett. “TV, film and the other media are all now global – and we are also going global in our battle to preserve and improve writers’ pay, terms and rights. Power to us!”
You can read the two resolutions that were passed at the conference, plus closing remarks, here.
Nominations are now being accepted for the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards 2014.
The Awards will be presented by writer, presenter, comedian, actress and producer Sandi Toksvig at a ceremony in central London on 19 January 2015.
Writers will be honoured in the following categories: TV, Theatre, Film, Books, Radio, Games, Children’s (TV and theatre).
The eligibility period is from 1 June 2013 to 26 September 2014 and all entries must be received by 17 October 2014.
Guild member and award-winning playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s new production Roundelay has its world premiere at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough on 9 September 2014 (running until 4 October 2014).
Roundelay consists of five short, self-contained plays (The Judge, The Novelist, The Politician, The Star and The Agent), written to be played in any sequence. Many of the plays are connected, sometimes through shared characters, sometimes through an overlapping narrative. Sequels turn out to be prequels, and each evening will develop differently. Tickets for the production, billed as a “unique adventure in theatre”, with 120 different possibilities, can be booked online.
Writers' Guild has vacancies for Deputy Chairs and regional representatives
Dear Guild member
Following last month’s Writers’ Guild Annual General Meeting, four vacancies remain for Officers and Executive Council members. We need to find two deputy Chairs, plus regional representatives for the East Midlands and Greater Manchester and the surrounding area.
To be eligible, you need to have been a Full Member of the Guild for at least two years continuously prior to the date on which nominations close, or else you need to be a Life Member. You also need a proposer and seconder, who must be Full Members of the Guild in good standing.
Officer vacancies will serve for a one-year term. Those elected to the other EC vacancies will serve for a three-year term.
Members of the Executive Council attend about six meetings per year at which they formulate Guild policy and take decisions about collective agreements, membership and financial matters, and other issues of importance to working writers. Members attending EC meetings can claim expenses for their travel, meals, and, if necessary, overnight accommodation.
If you are interested please click here for further details and a downloadable nomination form. Fill in the details and return the form as soon as possible to: General Secretary, Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, First Floor, 134 Tooley Street, London SE1 2TU. You can also apply by email to the address below.
7 August 2014
The Writers' Guild has agreed to an increase of 1% in minimum rates for BBC radio writers. The increase, effective from 1 August 2014, emerged from a meeting of the Radio Writers Forum, which also includes representatives of the Society of Authors and the Personal Managers' Association (representing writers' agents).
But the Guild said it regards the rise as a "disappointing interim increase". General secretary Bernie Corbett said: "This is way below the current level of increase in the cost of living. BBC staff have been offered £800 a year, which for someone on £50,000 a year is 1.6% and for someone earning the national average of £26,500 is over 3%. Once again writers are being undervalued. We are continuiing our negotiations with the BBC in the hope of achieving a fairer settlement in the near future."
For an established writer on a standard two-transmissions contract, the rate per minute goes up from £91.73 to £92.65; for an episode of The Archers the fee goes up from £920 to £929. The agreement also covers short stories, abridgements, features and talks, prose and poetry.
For full details click here.