Monday, August 20, 2007

The Write Stuff

One of my life's ambitions as a writer is to write for the BBC, which for my money produces more great drama than anyone.

As it happens, I have a brilliant way of reviving a long-defunct BBC series, which I won't mention here because of certain copyright delicacies. (But make note, BBC, it's really cool, so give me a call.)

Since I have dual US/UK citizenship, thanks to my dad being clever enough to be born in England 70 years ago, it's an ambition I hope to realize one day.

But thanks to a new program, you may be able to realize it, too.

Unlike Hollywood, which makes it virtually impossible to break into the world of TV production, BBC is actually putting the call out to new talent, and doing so in an exceptionally easy manner. Not only does it provide you information as to what it is looking for in new writers at its Web site, but it also provides you free screenwriting software and script templates from many of its great series.

Not only that, but it links you to a screenwriting contest run by the great TV producer, Tony Jordan ("Life On Mars," "Hustle").

In an era when it's more difficult than ever for baby writers to break into the business, this is a great opportunity for newbies to make their mark.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: I saw the first "Californication" (Showtime, 10:30 p.m.) last week, and I was pretty underwhelmed. It seemed to be an exercise in how much sex they can pack into a half-hour. Anyway, Episode 2 follows a new "Weeds."

Jeremy Sisto guest stars as P.J.'s old flame on "My Boys" (TBS, 10 p.m.), although the subplot in which we get to see Andy's "skills" as a lawyer is much better.

Finally, Warner Robins Little Leaguers need a win tonight (ESPN, 6 p.m.) against a team from Massachusetts to keep going in the World Series in Williamsport, Pa.


Jonathan said...

That's really cool news about the BBC. I'll have to check that out. And while, I am too a BBC lover, the one problem I've always had is that they seem to use a lot of the same sets for their various shows. And this is especially true with the mystery series; there's this one pub location I swear to god I've seen in about twenty or so different mini-series and shows, etc. Not that American television isn't notorious for that as well; there was that one Star Trek set that got dubbed "Planet Hell" and was used on all four of the modern series a number of times.

I thought I would also comment on your Saturday Post re: HSM2. Two things amaze me about that. One, with this being the Summer, that was probably also the most watched show of the week; in fact, it had to be. I think "America's Got Talent" has pretty much owned the number 1 spot all summer with around 10-11 million viewers. And maybe you mentioned this, but the fact that it was a Friday night show as well. The hit network shows in the regular season on that night (Ghost Whisperer and Numbers for instance) might draw 8-9 million viewers on an average. So, very impressive indeed.

Phillip Ramati said...

I find most BBC shows overcome their budgeting limitations.

Of course, if they brought in HSM 2 numbers, the sky would be the limit!

Hotspur said...

A lot of episodes of the mystery series are shot in country estates in the London counties. Many houses are similar thus they appear to be shot at the same site. I agree the BBC and BBC American produce many fine series with "Masterpiece Theatre" probably the highest standard TV today.

zodin2008 said...

"Life on mars" is a terrific Drama and great BBC import. It's a shame a talentless hack such as David E. Kelley has decided to ruin it with an Americanized version.

The only positive I can say about the Americanized version is that Kelley has somehow actually made a brilliant casting decision by casting 'Chief O'Brien' himself, Colm Meaney, in the wonderful role of Gene Hunt.

The fact that Meaney is an Irish actor is rather humorous, since I believe the American version will be set in San Francisco or Chicago.

I have to say, as much as I loathe Kelley, the casting of Meaney actually may get me to check this pilot out.

Jonathan said...

I'm a little confused. I thought that Kelley's version of "Life on Mars" had not gotten picked up for the fall. Was it always intended to air after 2007? I was under the impression when he started working on this it was supposed to be on this fall. However, whatever the case may be, Colm Meaney does get me a little more excited about it.

Phillip Ramati said...

The US version of Life on Mars, I think, is intended to air in the winter or spring, not the fall of '07. I'll likely watch the pilot just because I enjoy torturing myself.

BTW, Zod, star Jason O'Mara is also Irish, so you have two UK actors playing Americans. Um, if you're going to watch two UK actors star in this series, then why not stick with the UK version in the first place?

Hopefully, Kelley isn't applying to one of those BBC submissions Web sites...

zodin2008 said...


I have EVERY intention of watching the second season of "Life on Mars" on BBC whenever it airs coming up shortly.

Just because I will possibly check out the U.S. version (out of morbid curiosity and the casting of Meaney) doesn't mean I will not be watching the U.K. version.

I watched, with great enjoyment, both the UK and US versions of "The Office".