Screenwriters throughout Europe have joined like-minded organisations in the cultural and creative sectors to form a coalition: Creativity Works! Its objective is to kick-start an open and informed dialogue with EU policymakers about the economic and cultural contribution made by creators and the cultural and creative sectors in the digital age.
WGGB is part of this effort through its affiliation to the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe and supports the key aims of Creativity Works! including:
- Intellectual property rights sustain not only well-known creators but also help support many less well-known artists and promote cultural diversity.
- Freedom of expression secures a creator’s ability to produce content that challenges, informs and entertains without fear of censorship and prosecution, thereby contributing to democratic debate and society.
- We are committed to explaining how our sectors really operate, how many lives they touch and how everyone will lose out if we are forced to create only “free” content which provides no reward and therefore no incentive to its creator.
You can find out more on the Creativity Works! website
By Anthony Read
Roy Russell, a stalwart of WGGB’s early days, died on 8 January 2015 aged 96, after a long illness.
Roy was Treasurer for 12 years, from 1966-1978, steering WGGB through financial turbulence with a calm hand and managing to avoid insolvency.
Roy's great legacy, however, is the pension scheme, which he helped to establish and organise, utilising the experience he had gained while working in a bank, his first job after leaving the army. It says much for his character and ability that when he gave in his notice to the bank, to become a freelance writer, his boss refused to accept it.
Born in Blackpool, the son of a theatre manager, Roy was always destined for a career in show business of some sort. Choosing the relatively new medium of TV drama, he went on to write more than 200 scripts, for series such as No Hiding Place, The Saint, A Man of our Times, The Troubleshooters, The Onedin Line, A Family at War, Doomwatch, Tales of the Unexpected and others, as well as several single plays.
The funeral will take place on Wednesday 4 February 2015, 11.45am at Randalls Park Crematorium, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 OAG.
Jean McConnell, a founder member of WGGB and a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, died on 6 January 2015 in Tunbridge Wells.
Jean was also a Vice President and former Chair of the Society of Women Writers & Journalists.
Her funeral will be held at 12 noon on Thursday 22 January 2015 at Tunbridge Wells Cemetery Chapel, Benham Mill Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 5JJ, followed by a wake at the Oast Theatre, London Road, Tonbridge TN10 3AN.
Donations in memory of Jean, for the continued work of the Oast Theatre, where many of her plays were previewed, or to a charity of choice.
By Gail Renard
Brian Clemens, screenwriter and long-standing WGGB member, died on Saturday 10 January 2015. His prolific career spanned decades.
Clemens started as a messenger boy at advertising company J. Walter Thompson and, whilst there, sold his first thriller screenplay, Valid for Single Journey Only, to the BBC. He went on to write many of the most popular ITC drama series, including Danger Man, The Persuaders and The Professionals. Clemens also wrote the pilot of the original The Avengers television series, and went on to be its script editor, associate producer and lead writer for eight years. His output was so vast he often used the pseudonym Tony O'Grady.
Clemens also worked in America on the Father Dowling Mysteries, Perry Mason and Diagnosis: Murder.
It's not surprising that writing formed a large part of Brian Clemens' DNA. He was related to Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens). In recognition of his contribution to British television and film, Brian Clemens was honoured with an OBE.
His work was the background for many of our childhoods. Brian Clemens was a unique writer. Our sympathies to his wife Janet and family.
Writers’ Guild West Midlands representative William Gallagher joined hundreds of campaigners to condemn proposed cuts to the Library of Birmingham, at a public meeting in the Library’s Studio Theatre last night (Wednesday 7 January 2015).
In a passionate speech, he said the cuts – if they go ahead – would be an embarrassment to the city:
"Birmingham is supposed to be a great place to do business. But we are showing the world we can't even keep our library open."
Sam Owen, a member of staff at the library, branded proposals to cut staff "short-sighted" and said only basic counter services would remain if cuts were approved.
She said the building's specialist archive and research staff would be lost, and collections would be "irreparably damaged".
If the cuts go ahead to the £188-million library, 100 staff will lose their jobs and opening hours will be reduced from 73 to 40 hours per week.
Birmingham City Council has said it was exploring alternative ways to save services.
You can hear William Gallagher’s full speech here.