Creating without Conflict report launched

on Sunday, 24 November 2013 11:16. Posted in General

New report says the creative industries are a hotspot for bullying

Anne Marie  Cathy1

Creating Without Conflict report author Cathy John (right) with Anne Marie Quigg

The worlds of the media, arts and entertainments are often seen as glamorous, but a survey of 4,000 workers has revealed these industries are hotspots of bullying, with more than half of those questioned (56%) saying they had been bullied, harassed or discriminated against at work.

People who contributed to a survey, commissioned by the Federation of Entertainment Unions, ranged from household names, top screenwriters and performers to those at the beginning of their careers.

The results showed shocking levels of ill-treatment and inappropriate behaviour and a culture of silence, with only a third of those suffering bullying and harassment reporting the incidents.

Writers' Guild Awards winners

on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:37. Posted in General

The Writers' Guild Awards were presented in London on Wednesday 13 November 2013

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Writers' Guild President Olivia Hetreed introducing the Awards (Photo: WGGB/Simon Denton). More photos:

TV Drama Series
Winner: Silk (Peter Moffat)
Shortlisted: The Village (Peter Moffat), Broadchurch (Chris Chibnall)

Continuing Drama
Winner: Coronation Street
Shortlisted: Holby City, Casualty, Waterloo Road, EastEnders, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Doctors

TV Comedy
Winner: Getting On (Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine, Joanna Scanlan)
Shortlisted: Fresh Meat (Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain), Him and Her (Stefan Golaszewski)

TV Drama Short Form
Winner: The Girl (Gwyneth Hughes)
Shortlisted: Room at the Top (Amanda Coe), Murder:Joint Enterprise (Robert Jones)

Children’s TV
Winner: The Dumping Ground - What Would Gus Want? (Elly Brewer)
Shortlisted: What’s the Big Idea - What is Art? (Alan Gilbey), The Dumping Ground - The Truth is Out There (Emma Reeves)

Radio Drama
Winner: Tennyson and Edison (David Pownall)
ShortlistedL The Go-Between (adapted by Frances Byrnes from the novel by LP Hartley), Once Upon a Time There Was a Beatrix (Lavinia Murray)

Radio Comedy
Winner: Susan Calman is Convicted (Susan Calman)
Shortlisted: Fags, Mags & Bags (Sanjeev Kohli and Donald McLeary), Meet David Sedaris (David Sedaris)

Winner: The Universe versus Alex Woods (Gavin Extence)
Shortlisted: Big Brother (Lionel Shriver), The Card (Graham Rawle)

Winner: Thomas Was Alone (Mike Bithell)
Shortlisted: Tomb Raider (Rhianna Pratchett), Lego City Undercover (Graham Goring)

First Screenplay
Winner: What Richard Did (Malcolm Campbell)
Shortlisted: Sightseers (Alice Lowe, Steve Oram), Good Vibrations (Colin Carberry, Glenn Patterson), Grabbers (Kevin Lehane), 

Winner: My Brother the Devil (Sally El Hosaini)
Shortlisted: Byzantium (Moira Buffini), Skyfall (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan)

Theatre Play
Winner: Quietly (Owen McCafferty)
ShortlistedL Brilliant Adventures (Alistair McDowall), The Thrill of Love (Amanda Whittington)

Theatre Play for Young People
Winner: Whole (Philip Osment)
Shortlisted: I, Cinna (Tim Crouch), Mr Holgado (Christopher William Hill)

A special Writers' Guild Award was presented by Lee Hall to David Edgar for his outstanding contribution to writing and writers.

Tribute to Bryan Forbes

on Thursday, 24 October 2013 14:30. Posted in General

By Olivia Hetreed, President of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain

King Rat film posterI recently had the privilege of attending the Bryan Forbes Tribute put on by the National Youth Theatre, of which Bryan was, for many years, the enthusiastic President.

Bryan was writer and director of such films as King Rat, Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Whistle Down the Wind.

Through a series of recollections from family, friends and colleagues, punctuated by performances by present NYT members and illustrated by lovely photographs of Bryan on film sets and with his family, we were treated to a wonderful overview of a life lived generously and tirelessly in pursuit of the best work, enabling the brightest talent to shine and in a spirit of tremendous love and generosity.

From the opening, entirely unprintable anecdote to Nanette Newman's on-the-brink-of-tears final words, it was a funny, outrageous, touching and very appropriate memorial to a great man of British film and theatre.

Forbes was treasurer of the Guild in its formative years and in 1962 he won the Guild's Best British Comedy Screenplay Award for Only Two Can Play.

In 1969 Bryan Forbes became managing director of Associated British Productions, at that time the biggest name in the UK film industry. He was sent hundreds of scripts. He welcomed every contribution and then "asked everybody to believe that every single submission would be considered." Those writers who showed promise he directed to the Guild and he was clear that he wanted to make Elstree a Guild studio.

In his memory the family have set up a bursary for directors at the NYT.

Radio and theatre rates rise

on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 14:29. Posted in General

Guild negotiates increases for writers

The Writers’ Guild has negotiated a 2% increase in minimum fees for BBC radio writers, backdated to 1 August 2013. The flagship rate for an original drama by an established writer goes up to £91.73 for two transmissions, while the fee for an episode of The Archers goes up to £920. Other rates include a scale between £183 and £374 for a 15-minute short story, and £10.58 per minute for abridgements. The new rates replace those implemented on 24 January this year and will be reviewed again with effect from 1 August 2014 - download full details (pdf)

There is also good news for playwrights working for leading theatres – minimum rates for the Royal Court Theatre, Royal National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company were increased by 2.2% with effect from 1 April 2013, bringing the basic rate for a full-length play to £11,759 - download full details (pdf)

Marie Banks and Robert Leeson

on Sunday, 06 October 2013 18:28. Posted in General

Remembering Marie Banks and Robert Leeson who both died at the end of September

Marie Banks

Marie Banks, former Assistant General Secretary who worked for the Writers' Guild for 28 years, died on 28 September.

Marie's contributions to the Guild were many, not least her phenomenal memory, which allowed her to place the names – and usually the faces – of hundreds of members. Much of her time was spent dealing with the finances of the Guild, working closely with several treasurers.

She started work for the Guild in the basement of No. 7 Harley Street on 15 March 1962 as an office temp, and 25 years later she was fêted at a celebration at the Café Royal. President Maureen Duffy presented Marie with a glass rose bowl and the Chair, Robert Leeson (who has also just died -- see below) announced that grateful members had subscribed no less than £6,500 towards her pension as a testimonial of gratitude.

Marie died of cancer at University College Hospital, London.

Robert Leeson

Robert Leeson, chair of the Writers’ Guild in 1985-86, died on 29 September aged 85.

He was a prolific writer of novels for children, publishing more than 70 titles, including Maroon Boy, Never Kiss Frogs, Tom’s Private War and several Grange Hill spin-offs. As chair of the Guild’s Books Committee in the early 1980s he played a vital part in negotiating minimum terms agreements with the leading UK publishers of the time. A full obituary will appear on the Guild’s website shortly.

The funeral will take place in Harlow, Essex on Wednesday 16 October. Any former colleague of Robert wishing to attend should contact the Guild office for full details

Nick Yapp adds:

I suppose everyone who's ever sat on any sort of committee has their idea of an ideal committee member. Mine would be Bob Leeson - modest, an extremely good listener, constructive, and always contributing the mot juste, the helpful suggestion, the faultless gathering together of every contribution as the discussion nears its end. Bob was way ahead of me. He'd had years of experience before I joined the Books Committee back in the late 1980s. I sat at the bottom end of the table in the Meeting Room upstairs at the Guild's Office in Edgware Road, listening carefully to what Bob said in the hope that one day I would have the skill and wisdom to follow in a master's footsteps. I never could, but that wasn't Bob's fault.

He was most active in the Guild during difficult times (come to think of it, aren't they all). The Books Committee was struggling to persuade all the major publishing houses in the UK to agree to a standardised Minimum Terms Contract for writers. The struggle was long, intense, and largely successful, and Bob played his part.

In short, Bob was one of those remarkable colleagues who make the rest of us proud to be part of the same Guild as them.