ITV's Original Voices scheme returns to Coronation Street

Simon Austin's picture

ITV has announced that its ‘Original Voices’ initiative, which gives aspiring drama writers from BAME backgrounds the opportunity to work on Coronation Street, is to return.

The initiative aims to provide workplace training opportunities in ITV Continuing Drama for BAME writers. This, it is hoped, will develop the skills of BAME applicants as well as creatively connecting ITV with diverse talent. 

First launched in 2013, ITV has run the Original Voices scheme four times so far, with writers gaining the opportunity to join the Story teams and even the Writing teams of both Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

For the current intake, Original Voices, which now returns to Coronation Street, is seeking submissions from talented writers with a view to offering the four considered best-suited to working on Continuing Drama an opportunity to spend a month in the Coronation Street story office.

They would then spend four weeks in the Script Department with the Script Producer and Script Editors, following an episode through the script process.  They would be mentored in this part of the process by the writer whose episode they were following.

The successful candidates would then be given the opportunity to write a shadow script, which is commissioned at the same time as the script by the current writer, following that process in parallel, to complete the learning of the whole story to script process. Successful candidates will be paid a fee on a fixed term contract.

John Whiston, Managing Director, MD Continuing Drama & Head of ITV in the North, ITV Studios, said: “The twin engines of any long running series are the Story Office and the Script Department. They are also a great stepping stone onto a show’s writing team.

“This scheme, aimed at writers from BAME backgrounds, gives the four successful applicants a unique opportunity to spend time in both those areas, understanding what makes a continuing drama tick and contributing to its creative and editorial process. All in all, it’s a perfect grounding in soap.

“From ITV’s perspective, we need our shows not just to look diverse on screen but to feel diverse in their heart. And that comes from having a diverse editorial team making them.

“This scheme opens us up to brand new diverse talent and introduces us to people who will be story lining, script editing, writing and one day hopefully producing ITV’s two most important shows, Coronation Street and Emmerdale.”

Ade Rawcliffe, Head of Diversity, ITV Commissioning, added: “We are delighted to support Original Voices and are committed to creating opportunities for ITV to broaden the range of writers we work with. Diversity of voices is the lifeblood of creativity and it is essential that ITV works towards representing the diversity of modern Britain, both on and off screen.”