Writers' Guild deplores BBC3 & Pobol y Cwm cuts - meetings with BBC execs will seek assurances for writers http://t.co/pbvbG64Dtd
You are warmly invited to the third monthly meeting for Writers in Cornwall. The King’s Arms, Function Room, 3 Broad Street, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 8JL
Thursday 10th November 2011 at 19:00pm - open to all writers (including non-Guild members)
James Henry will be chatting about his ten years of professional screenwriting, ranging through writing for kids telly (Bob The Builder, Shaun The Sheep), comedy (Smack The Pony, Green Wing, Campus) and current drama projects and feature scripts.
Plus… The opportunity to talk about your projects and ideas with peers and the chance for networking.
Make the most of being a member of the Writers’ Guild!
Major changes will result from 'Delivering Quality First'
Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC, has announced plans for job losses and changed programming priorities in order to cut 20% from the Corporation's budget over the next five years. No TV channels or radio stations will close but the way many of them operate will change. A summary of the plans, headed Delivering Quality First, have been published on the BBC website.
Responding to the announcement, Writers' Guild General Secretary Bernie Corbett said:
'Along with the other entertainment unions I have a meeting with Director-General Mark Thompson later today, at which I hope we will learn rather more detail that the BBC has put on its website.
'The first thing to say is that Thompson should never have made the secret deal with the incoming government to freeze the licence fee for an absurd six years – he should have forced the issue into public debate, not capitulate in secret over a single weekend.
'But we are where we are, and the broad outlines of the strategy seem to make the best of a bad situation for writers and others involved in creating original new programming. We welcome reports in the papers this morning that BBC4 and Radio 4 will be protected, and hope they are true. We would like confirmation that the BBC regards scripted drama and comedy as core material that cannot and should not suffer any more – compared with most other countries we are fortunate to have such a strong home-grown industry and we would regret it deeply if we let it go.
'Let us hope that daytime repeats on BBC2 will strongly feature the many neglected jewels in the BBC’s drama archive – we have renegotiated our agreements with the BBC, making repeats much cheaper, specifically in order to help this happen. Concentrating the cuts on glossy light entertainment, quizzes and panel shows, and overpriced sports rights is sad for many performers and viewers, but is more bearable as other broadcasters can supply this kind of material.
'Using BBC3 and BBC4 as “feeders” for the main network channels, if handled courageously and imaginatively, could create opportunities for new waves of writers and performers.
'But these are crumbs of comfort, and this is a dismal day for thousands of skilled, hard-working and loyal BBC staff who are being dumped on the scrap-heap. For the UK to continually diminish the BBC is a self-inflicted wound, pointlessly damaging one of our last truly world-leading institutions. We need to stop this self-harm, reopen the licence-fee debate, and if we still need to save money we should close the World Service, now just a rolling news station, and instead make the BBC’s domestic riches available online worldwide; tell our spy agencies that if they want global broadcasting monitored they can do it themselves at their own expense; give the Welsh Assembly the power and the central funding to run a truly independent S4C; and end the self-censoring, safety-first, offend-no-one atmosphere that continues to stifle creativity in our most important cultural and entertainment service.'
The proposals from Mark Thompson and the BBC management come under the heading of Delivering Quality First, and the BBC Trust has opened a public consultation on them that will run until 21 December 2011.
Update: A further statement from Bernie Corbett
The entertainment unions’ meeting with Mark Thompson this afternoon was a predictably angry encounter, justifiably dominated by questioning from the technicians’ union BECTU and the journalists of the NUJ about mass redundancies, forced transfers to Salford, much reduced terms for new joiners and attacks on established benefits.
It was not the best occasion for forensic questioning about the slimming-down of public-facing services, which will be open to consultation until Christmas. Future meetings have been promised to cover those areas.
But further examination of the detailed proposals raises more questions than answers. There seem to be significant cuts in radio commissioning – comedy on R2 and R5 Live, new material for R4 Extra – and a suggestion that although Radio 4 has its budget preserved, drama may suffer more there as well. And what has happened to the guarantee of continued Asian-themed drama, now that the Asian Network is to be drastically cut?
BBC2 is promised more drama, but is this entirely at the expense of BBC4? Why does the list of repeats for daytime BBC2 pointedly fail to mention drama and comedy? Why is the report so reticent about plans for putting the BBC back catalogue online? We have been waiting more than two years for detailed plans, and still the silence is deafening. What on earth are the reductions promised to “outreach activity”? And is the new commitment to “four screens” – TV, tablet, mobile and PC – code for making more uses of programmes without more payments?
The Writers’ Guild will be taking up these issues and others with the BBC over coming weeks, and reporting back to our members on the answers we are given.
The shortlists for the 2011 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards have now been decided
The awards will be presented at event on 16th November at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill.
Best Continuing Drama
- Casualty: Place of Safety - Dana Fainaru
- Doctors: Pavlova’s Dogs - Claire Bennett
- EastEnders: Dot’s Impossible Decision - Simon Ashdown
Best Play for Children and Young People
- Get Santa! - Anthony Neilson
- Pirates! - Charles Way
- The Day the Waters Came - Lisa Evans
- Brink - Ed Stern
- Enslaved: Odyssey to the West - Alex Garland and Tameem Antoniades
- The Curfew - Kieron Gillen
Best Non-Fiction Book
- Graven with Diamonds - Nicola Shulman
- The Hemlock Cup - Bettany Hughes
- This Luminous Coast - Jules Pretty
Best Children’s Television Script
- Little Howard’s Big Question: Why do Things Have to Die? - Chris Chantler and Howard Read
- Rastamouse: Lady Uptown - Davey Moore
- Tracy Beaker Returns: What You Don’t Know - Emma Reeves
Best Radio Drama
- Caesar Price Our Lord - Fin Kennedy
- Severed Threads - John Dryden
- Troll - Ed Harris
Best Film Screenplay
- 127 Hours - Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy
- Attack the Block - Joe Cornish
- NEDS - Peter Mullan
- Skeletons - Nick Whitfield
- Submarine - Richard Ayoade
Best Fiction Book
- A Cupboard Full of Coats - Yvvette Edwards
- Boxer, Beetle - Ned Beauman
- Pigeon English - Stephen Kelman
Best Television Short-Form Drama
- Eric & Ernie - Peter Bowker
- Exile - Danny Brocklehurst
- Sherlock - Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Stephen Thompson
Best Theatre Play
- Sucker Punch - Roy Williams
- The Big Fellah - Richard Bean
- Welcome to Thebes - Moira Buffini
Best Radio Comedy
- Cabin Pressure - John Finnemore
- Fags, Mags and Bags - Sanjeev Kohli and Donald Mcleary
- Sarah Millican’s Support Group - Sarah Millican
Best Television Comedy
- Lead Balloon - Pete Sinclair and Jack Dee
- Peep Show - Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain and Simon Blackwell
- Rev - James Wood and Jonathan Harvey
Best Television Drama Series
- Accused - Jimmy McGovern, Danny Brocklehurst, Alice Nutter and Esther Wilson
- Doctor Who - Steven Moffat, Richard Curtis, Gareth Roberts, Stephen Thompson, Neil Gaiman and Matthew Graham
- The Shadow Line - Hugo Blick
Free training from the Federation of Entertainment Unions
The venue and dates
Manchester, 20th October: WFA Media & Cultural Centre 9 Lucy Street, Old Trafford, Manchester M15 4BX
Birmingham, 21st October: The Studio, 7 Cannon Street, Birmingham, B2 5EP
Arrive between 10.00-10.30am for registration. Sessions run from 10.30am to 4pm.
10.30am - 10.45am: Introduction and welcome to the FEU - meet the team and find out more about the information, advice and guidance available to freelance members.
10.45am - 1.00pm: Time management - the eternal challenge for anyone working freelance! This session will provide advice and techniques to help you maximize your time and take control. Learn to budget your time, organize tasks, set priorities and manage ‘time bandits’. Tutor: Stuart Worthington
1.45pm-4.00pm: Getting deeper into social networks (e.g., Twitter and Facebook): this session will help you identify your aims and blind spots as well as providing ideas as to how to use social media tools. Note: If you wish to attend this session, you will need to sign up to a FEU Facebook page before the workshop and take part in a discussion. You must do the required pre-course activities before you attend the session. Details will be sent to successful applicants one week before the workshop on Oct 13. Tutor: Nathalie McDermott
You must provide the following information in your email for your application to be accepted:
- Your name
- Which union you are a member of
- Union membership number
- Email and phone contact
We will let you know if you have a place on the workshop a day or two after the Oct 7 deadline.
From previous workshops we are expecting a high response, so apply now.
Who's an FEU training member?
The National Union of Journalists, Equity, the Musicians’ Union and the Writers’ Guild are working together in this instance under the banner of ‘The Federation of Entertainment Unions’. This enables us to maximize resources to deliver skills development opportunities common to our multi- union members.
It’s free to join the FEU Training website and there’s a variety of advice and information available to members.
To register: go to www.feutraining.org
Tel: 07784 398 160
For information on the tutors, please see the FEU training website (www.feutraining.com) where profiles will be uploaded before the workshop
You are warmly invited to the initial monthly meeting for Writers in Cornwall
The King’s Arms, Function Room, 3 Broad Street Penryn, Cornwall TR10 8JL
Thursday 8th September 2011 at 19:30pm
Doors open 19:00
Meet other local writers. All welcome - whether you are a Guild member or not.
Discuss future potential events such as: Talks; Guests; Film screenings; Discussions; Networking; Script Readings; Script Editing; Mentoring; Rehearsed Readings; South West Literary Agency; Sharing Industry Contacts; Creating a pathway towards selling your script; Opportunities; Competitions; Local writing commissions; Making the most of being a member of the Writers’ Guild.
RSVP & Enquiries welcome:
Marie Macneill, Cornwall and Devon Rep for the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain
(Car park at rear of pub; Branch line train from Truro/Falmouth; Many buses)