MA Television Scriptwriting

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Comments about MA Television Scriptwriting - At the institution - Leicester - Leicestershire

  • Objectives
    This long established and unique postgraduate course concentrates on the craft of television scriptwriting and prepares students for the competitive and demanding world of professional writing. It offers direct links and networking opportunities within the industry by introducing the students to professional Writers, Script Editors, Agents and Producers through its regular programme of guest lectures, workshops. location visits and one-to-one mentoring.
  • Entry requirements
    Although we favour students with a good academic record (2.1 honours degree is ideal), the main criteria for admission to the course is writing talent. Students are required to submit examples of their scriptwriting with their application form and to show evidence of an informed interest in television drama and/or comedy.
  • Academic title
    MA Television Scriptwriting
  • Course description
    Career opportunities

    This course provides a positive platform for students wishing to launch themselves into a career in scriptwriting by instilling technique, encouraging creativity and bringing students into contact with industry professionals. The continuing expansion of popular television drama either in the form of ‘soap operas’ or generic series such as The Bill and Casualty offers new and emerging writers the opportunity to develop their writing skills. Those writers who attend the Television Scriptwriting MA will have a greater knowledge and understanding of popular drama writing; its economic restrictions, deadlines and story-telling demands. They will be introduced to the realities of the industry and the opportunities available to them.

    The course's growing reputation within the industry is reflected in the willingness of visiting professionals to read students' work and, in some cases, forward it to active producers and script editors. Literary Agents have attended as guest tutors, read students' scripts and given feedback.

    Previous students from the MA course have gone on to/been commissioned to write for Doctors (BBC), Shameless (Channel 4), New Tricks (BBC), Heartbeat (ITV), Emmerdale (ITV) and Hollyoaks (Channel 4). Two have had their dissertation screenplays accepted for the Moondance Film Festival in Colorado.


    This is a part-time course divided into four, twelve week semesters, over two years. It is taught one day a week (usually on a Thursday), in a seminar group of around fifteen students. In the first year students develop and script their own original television series and write ‘shadow’ episodes of existing television drama. Workshops are led by the Course Tutor and guest writers who encourage the students to produce concept documents, synopses, outlines, treatments, scene by scenes and second draft scripts. In the second year students are divided into groups to undertake team writing, having chosen a subject from the many TV genres – sit-com, soap, childrens’ drama. There are day workshops on commercial series analysis, screenplay structure, genre television, pitching and submission strategies.

    All students do the following modules: Learning Scriptwriting Techniques, Writing for Existing TV Series and Serials, Team-Writing an Original TV Series/Serial, Writing Situation Comedy and Comedy Drama, Writing for Other Television Genres and Markets and a dissertation/script project.


    Lectures, workshops and tutorials are undertaken by the course tutors and visiting professionals. These take place one day a week over four twelve week semesters in a two year period. A visit to a BBC drama studio offers the students a ?behind the scenes? perspective of television drama production. Industry based script editors deliver a full & professional script report on first year scripts. A visiting group of actors undertake a workshop reading from scripts in order that students can hear their dialogue spoken and interact with the actors to define and improve their writing skills. Students are required to write script reports and a 5000 word essay and - for those who choose this option - a 20,000-word dissertation. However, they will be mainly assessed on the quality of their scripts, one or more of which they will be required to write for each module, and they are encouraged to circulate their work within the industry and the contacts forged by the course.

    Further information


    Jim Hill (Course Tutor) is a freelance writer/producer/director. He is best known as the Co-Creator of the television series ‘Boon’. He has worked on such popular shows as ‘Minder’ ‘The Bill’ ‘Lovejoy’ ‘Casualty’ ‘Byker Grove’ & 'Pie in the Sky’ as well as directing a six part series about Subbuteo table top football for BBC Scotland. He has been employed as a producer/director for LWT on reality crime shows ‘Coppers’ and ‘Crime Monthly’ and has worked extensively in Europe for Fremantle Worldwide Drama as a story consultant on daily serial drama. He wrote the ‘Directors Handbook’ for Lego’s ‘Stephen Spielberg Movie Maker Set’. He has been working for McCann Erickson and their client The Carbon Trust directing a series of case studies about the business community and the effect of climate change. He has recently been advisor to Interaktív-Fiction (Hungary), which produces the prime-time soap opera ‘Joban Rosszban’ for the commercial channel TV2 and is now developing drama projects with Fire Mountain Films.

    Christopher Walker (Course Leader) is former head of the script unit of Central TV where he produced all seven series of the successful situation comedy 'The Upper Hand'. He was creative executive for CTCP (Columbia TriStar Central Productions) and subsequently developed comedy projects for Carlton Television and the BBC. He is also tutor for the undergraduate module on scriptwriting within the department.

    For their dissertation project every student is assigned a mentor drawn from the industry. Current mentors include Laurence Marks (Birds of a Feather, The New Statesman), Lizzie Mickery (Messiah 1, 2 & 3, Dirty War) and Ashley Pharoah (Down To Earth, Where The Heart Is).

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