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Tag-Archive for "writing"

See the Forest for the trees Nov 13

It’s been great over the last few weeks to be reunited with the Pensive Federation. I’ve been taking part for the second time in the Collective Project, their theatre project themed around collaborative working and group dynamics.

Over 12 days, two directors, eight writers (of which I was one) and twelve actors developed 12 new 12-minute plays, all of which are being performed this week at the Etcetera Theatre. Shows are at 7pm each night until Saturday 14th November, which a 2:30pm matinee on Saturday too. You can book tickets online.

Each play in the Collective Project has a collective noun as its title and thematic driver, although this year the Pensive team have added the complication of genres. Each play has been assigned a genre like period drama, sci-fi or, in one case, silent. But we’re not telling the audience which is which.

My play is called Forest and, like the others, features six actors. Usually when you’re writing a short play, you’re trying to keep it small and simple, so it’s a fun challenge to fit in six characters and ensure they all get a fair bite of the cherry. The cast and directors have done a fantastic job – I’m really happy with how the piece, and the whole show, has turned out.

1001 reasons to buy this book Jul 28

1001 TV Series modelled by meI love cult TV so I jumped at the chance to be involved in this huge undertaking: 1001 articles about classic television series, from the 1950s right up to the present day.

A massive round of applause to editor Paul Condon who took on such a mammoth task, including all the arguments about what should go in and be left out, and turned out this beautiful tome.

I’ve contributed around 2.5% of the content with articles on some of my favourite series, including The West Wing, Columbo, the 1960s Batman, Dark Season and Forbrydelsen (The Killing).

There are plenty of non-fiction shows in there too, plus a good representation of excellent drama from around the world – it’s a truly international book.

1001 TV Series You Must Watch Before You Die is due out in October but is already available to pre-order.

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More Dark Shadows out now Jul 27

In the Twinkling of an Eye coverThe latest story I’ve scripted edited, Penny Faith’s In the Twinkling of an Eye is out now and available to order from the Big Finish website. It’s an atmospheric character piece with a wonderfully creepy undertone and a great vehicle for Marie Wallace. As with most releases in the series, while there’s extra reward for regular listeners, it’s also accessible if you don’t know anything about Dark Shadows.

I’ve also script edited next month’s release, Deliver Us From Evil by Aaron Lamont (which follows on from the events of my own story, The Enemy Within), and September’s CD, Daniel Collard’s Tainted Love. Plus you can still get hold of the first Dark Shadows drama I script edited, Alan Flanagan’s Carriage of the Damned.

Dark Shadows: Bloodlust volume 1If all that wasn’t enough, it’s also worth plugging the 13-part miniseries Dark Shadows: Bloodlust. It was storylined and co-written by me, Alan, and Joseph Lidster. Joe and his co-producer David Darlington wanted to get back to the TV series’ soap opera roots, so we came up with a tale has that ongoing feel, with character arcs weaving in and out of each other, while also delivering a self-contained supernatural murder mystery.

Big Finish released Bloodlust in twice-weekly installments earlier this year – a nod to the show’s daily television episodes in the 1960s and ’70s – and we’re really proud of how it turned out. The first episode (which I wrote) is available free on Soundcloud.

Dark Shadows: The Enemy Within Jul 30

Dark Shadows: The Enemy Within cover

“Cyrus, I haven’t been completely honest with you…”

Cyrus Longworth has a secret. On the outside, he’s the quiet handyman helping out with odd jobs. But his neighbours don’t know about the voice inside his head.

Sabrina Jennings has a secret. She’s just moved in across the street, here to teach at the local school. But her new husband is nowhere to be seen.

They could live happily ever after. But the dark secrets of Collinsport cast long shadows…

So, nearly a year ago I pitched a treatment to the producers of Big Finish‘s Dark Shadows audiobooks. It was for a story called The Enemy Within featuring the characters of Cyrus Longworth and Sabrina Jennings. It was commissioned at the beginning of this year, the script written in the winter and the actors recorded in the spring, in both the UK and America. All those performances were edited together, atmospheric music was added, a lovely cover was designed and today the final hour-long drama is released to the world.

Most people in the UK who have heard of Dark Shadows will know it from the Johnny Depp film, but the original show was a soap opera that ran on American television from 1966 to 1971 – though sadly never broadcast on terrestrial TV over here. Unlike other soaps, it took a distinctly supernatural turn and over its run of more than 1,200 episodes featured vampires, werewolves, witches, warlocks, time travel… all produced at a rate of five episodes a week, with the added challenge in the early years of recording as live. It was a brave, innovative and brilliantly mad show and one of the many cult series that Big Finish has brought back to life on audio.

The good news is that you don’t need to be familiar with hundreds of episodes of the TV show to follow the plot of The Enemy Within. We learn about the main characters as they learn about each other, so although they have back stories, you can enjoy the drama (and, dare I say, the comedy) even if you’ve never seen an episode of the show. And if you do know the show… well, there are what I hope are a few treats scattered through the story.

I’m really pleased with the finished play. The cast are great and I’m particularly chuffed to be bringing back Lisa Richards’ Sabrina and Chris Pennock’s Cyrus for the first time since 1970. (Although not exactly this Cyrus – on TV we only met a Parallel Time version. Yes, they did parallel universe plots too!)

Thank you to all involved in bringing this to life, and in particular producers David Darlington and Joseph Lidster for commissioning the story, and to them and script editor Alan Flanagan for their excellent script notes. The play is available on CD for £9.99 and as an immediate download for £7.99, so do go and buy it!