SCREENWRITER AND DEVELOPMENT PRODUCER
I’ve always loved children’s television and I wasn’t very much of an adult when I was given a very lucky break by children's television legend Anne Wood. After a couple of weeks work experience, I started my writing career as a Publishing Editor at Ragdoll Productions – then home to Tots TV, Rosie and Jim and Brum. At Ragdoll, I learnt to appreciate the care, creativity and craft that goes into making quality programmes that make children feel confident and clever.
I left Ragdoll to work on the publishing launch of Teletubbies, and then Bob the Builder, over at BBC Worldwide. My scriptwriting break came from the Producers of the live action, preschool series Balamory. Joining a team, in the very early days, behind a show that went on to be a BAFTA-award-winning hit, provided me with valuable insight into the development process.
Since then I have been a freelance Screenwriter, producing scripts for shows as varied as Mike the Knight, House of Anubis, Thomas and Friends, Tree Fu Tom, Dennis and Gnasher, Postman Pat – and many others. I wrote sketches for Dick and Dom in da Bungalow as well as all the related publishing – eight books in all.
In 2011, I was shortlisted for a Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for an episode from the first series of Rastamouse. Since then, the show itself has won many awards – including two Broadcast Awards and Best Animated Preschool Series at Kidscreen 2014 – and I have gone on to enjoy writing for two further series of this very special show.
As well as script writing, I have worked with many other license holders – including LEGO, Cadbury, BBCi, Doctor Who and Ladybird Interactive – to tell open stories across diverse media platforms. I love developing the story behind an IP with the notion that it can be exploited in other media (the LEGO Life on Mars stage show, for example, was based on the origin story I wrote in the bible).
My interests, all of which inform my work, are Nintendo, TV comedy, films (any genre done well) and live music. I am a huge fan of what I call “pop”, which includes everything from the indiest of indie-schmindie bands that about three people know about (but they all REALLY LOVE it) to Prince at the peak of his purple-pant-wearing, globe-striding popularity.
I am – and have always been – a happy consumer of what we might call “Saturday morning TV”. It doesn’t exist in the formatted way it did when I was growing up, but I still love a mixture of comedy-adventure shows such as Adventure Time, Wander Over Yonder and Bravest Warriors, pop music and live action comedy (ideally watched while sitting on a bean bag, eating a bowl of Coco Pops).
My favourite shows from my own childhood and teenage years are The Red Hand Gang, Educating Marmalade, Ulysses 31, Grange Hill (at least ten years of essential viewing!), Brookside, Blakes 7, Network 7, Max Headroom, The Chart Show, whatever was on BBC2 between 6 and 7pm throughout the 80s and, of course, the essential cultural leveller, the pop-barometer, the playground divider and unifier – the much-missed Top of the Pops (always, and only, ever as good or bad as what we – the general public – opted to buy and listen to).
The kids shows that I have enjoyed most since then are Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Ren and Stimpy (of course), Eerie Indiana, KaBlam!, Adventure Time and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. (I ADORE Flapjack!) I think what a lot of shows I love have in common is an idiosyncratic and strong authorial voice. They very much exist within their own universe and stay true to it. I am also a sucker for an irrepressibly cheerful, “can do” character – from Stimpy via SpongeBob to Flapjack, Finn and, now, Wander. These characters totally have the right attitude!