Regional Breakthrough Writers Unveiled: We are proud to announce our incredible cohort!

At DANDI, we are thrilled to announce the 11 writers who have been chosen for the Regional Breakthrough Writers Programme, as delivered by ourselves in partnership with ScreenSkills. The programme is commissioned and funded by ScreenSkills’ High-End TV Skills Fund, with contributions from High-End TV Production.

The 11 writers are being provided with a 6-month development opportunity alongside additional training and support, as organised by the HETV Skills Fund and DANDI. They will be paid £15,000 as an initial option fee and will have the chance to develop their original High-End TV drama idea with their partnered production company. At the end of the 6 months, the production company will decide to either extend the option and continue to develop the project or will return the rights to the writer.

On Tuesday 28th November, we met the writers at our launch event in Birmingham. The day began with an informal lunch and an introduction to the DANDI team followed by a fireside chat with writer, Avril E Russel and Script Editor, Yasmin Kalli. The writers had the opportunity to discuss the HETV production, Three Little Birds, on which both Avril and Yasmin Kalli worked, and were able to ask them questions about their experiences of the industry. Both guests had their own unique insights and a lot of advice for the writers!

Shortly afterwards, we were joined by Development Editor, Yasmin Ali from Rope Ladder Fiction for an Introduction to Development and Story Structure workshop. The session gave the writers an overview of the departments they will be working with and how they can begin to develop their ideas and creativity.

Finally, we hosted a networking session to give the writers the chance to chat further and to meet the production companies and industry professionals in attendance. We had an amazing time getting to know everyone in person and are immensely proud to be supporting this talented cohort.

The Regional Breakthrough Writers and the production companies that are supporting them:

  • Sufiyaan Salam – Northern SISTER (Manchester)
  • Lorna Riley – Rope Ladder Fiction (Manchester)
  • Rachel Clark – Saffron Cherry Productions (Manchester)
  • Jodie Ashdown – LA Productions (Liverpool)
  • Steph Lacey – Warp Films (Sheffield)
  • Katrina Smith-Jackson – TriForce Productions (Midlands)
  • Tamsyn Kelly – Sid Wild Films (Sid Gentle Films), (Bristol)
  • Lydia Rynne, Emma Pritchard and Azuka Oforka – 5 Acts Productions, part of ITV Studios (Cardiff)
  • Mariama Ives-Moiba – Hill 5.14 Media (Bedford)

At DANDI, we will continue to check in with both the production companies and writers and will be providing the writers with training sessions over the course of the programme. As well as gaining invaluable industry knowledge, connections and taking their own creative work on an incredible journey, it is our hope that our writers can connect up with each other and find support they can carry with them throughout the rest of their career.

In the words of our very own Sam Fray, Talent Development Lead at DANDI, “We can’t wait to see what stories and talent emerges over the coming months.”

DANDI team members Sam Fray, Talent Development Lead and Charlotte Taylor, Senior Talent Manager at the Regional Breakthrough Writers launch event