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Northern writers get Channel 4 backing

Channel 4 is to support 3 emerging Northern writers with a bursary, placements and mentoring.

The 3 winning writers were announced at the Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards at Newcastle’s Biscuit Factory last night.

Harriet Ghost is an actor and writer from Newcastle, who will receive a nine-month programme of mentoring and support from Leeds-based production company, Rollem Productions (The Syndicate; Fat Friends). Trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Ghost’s acting credits include Ken Loach and ITV projects. She has written for the stage and in 2020 was selected for BFI’s Script Lab and received mentoring from Aisling Bea through the BAFTA Connects scheme supporting women in TV and film.  

Joe McNally is a writer from Liverpool whose debut play ‘Cosmic’ was staged at Liverpool’s Royal Court theatre in April 2023. He holds a Masters in Screenwriting and is a graduate of both Liverpool’s Royal Court Stage Write Development Programme and Liverpool Everyman’s YEP writers’ programme. His award includes a nine-month placement with Bonafide Films (Mood; The Last Post).

Finally, Liz Redwood, from Southport will spend her placement on the production of Hollyoaks, where she will work with members of the core writing team and shadow the script development process. She has completed the Liverpool Royal Court’s Playwright Programme and the Liverpool Everyman’s Playwrights’ Programme. In 2020 she was shortlisted for the Kenneth Brannagh New Drama Award at the Windsor Fringe Festival and the Sphinx Theatre programme for female playwrights. Her first professional production, ‘A Tipsy Christmas Fairy Tale’, was staged by Liverpool Royal Court in 2022. 

“Our flagship awards programme for screenwriters continues to grow and thrive through Channel 4’s generous ongoing support,” said Will Mackie, Senior Programme Manager (Talent Development) at New Writing North.

“The Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards give us the chance to identify and support three immensely gifted and exciting emerging writers. These awards offer genuine career-changing experiences and it’s enormously fulfilling for us to play a part in nurturing and celebrating new talent. So much of the success of this programme is down to the dedication and innovation of our brilliant production company partners — Rollem, Bonafide and Lime – who open doors into the world of TV for writers in the North.” 

The awards are funded by Channel 4 and produced by New Writing North, the writing development agency for the North of England. The Northern Writers’ Awards are England’s largest and longest-running writer development programme, supported by Northumbria University, Arts Council England amongst others.

“Nurturing the next generation of talent is a key priority for Channel 4, particularly in the north, which is why we are so committed to these awards,” added Channel 4’s Head of Drama Caroline Hollick.

“We want to ensure that anyone who is determined to work in the creative industries has an opportunity to fulfil that ambition, regardless of their background or where they live.” 

Previous winners include Sharma Walfall, who won the inaugural award in 2015 and has gone on to write for productions including Dreamland, Noughts and Crosses and A Town Called Malice, and Jayshree Patel, whose award led to her becoming a core writer on Hollyoaks before recently moving to EastEnders. T

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