Merseyside-born Cottrell Boyce, a father of seven, cut his teeth on scripts for Brookside and has gone on to become one of Britain’s most celebrated and decorated screenwriters and novelists.

His collaborations with director – and fellow Northerner – Michael Winterbottom led to acclaimed films such as Welcome to Sarajevo and 24 Hour Party People, while his Widnes-set novel Millions was garlanded with awards and subsequently became a successful film, directed by Danny Boyle.

But it was another collaboration with Boyle, on the staggering opening ceremony for the London Olympics, that truly catapulted Cottrell Boyce to mainstream attention. His most recent work has included the screenplay for The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, and he’s also written an episode for the much-anticipated new series of Doctor Who.