You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2013.

The search for Mairi Hedderwicke’s ” Katie Morag” is over. Glasgow schoolgirl, 7 year old Cherry Campbell,  will play the part in Move On Up TV’s new live action series for CBeebies  and BBC Childrens.Image

As far as the writing is concerned, the casting of Mairi Hedderwicke’s diminutive heroine completes a saga which began for me on a   wet Sunday in  November 2011, on the day of the Scottish BAFTA awards.  I was  meeting in a coffee bar with Don Coutts and Lindy Cameron of Move On Up TV . They asked if I was interested in the possible adaptation of the popular children’s series, Katie Morag, written and illustrated by Mairi Hedderwicke. I advised them that  I was a great fan of Mairi’s work , but that if the large number of episodes (it turned out to be 26) which needed to be written were to be successful, then they should consider using the Team Writing For TV method .

My colleagues and I , Dr John Quinn, Dr Gill Jamieson  and writer and actor Martin McCardie , have been developing the concept and practice of TWFTV through the module which we teach at University Of The West Of Scotland in Ayr . Over the past 5 years we have created a robust methodolgical approach to team writing which lays  down a series of crucial production steps designed to ensure that the concepts of theme, tone and  narrative coherence are successfully carried across the large number of episodes of a long running TV Series. Crucially,  it requires ALL writers to be present at ALL storylining sessions, and for detailed beat outlines to be created by the the entire storylining team. All team members have access to all others scripts and beat outlines, and the entire final product is then passed through the hands of a single lead writer. The lead writer’s  job  is to unify the entire process and reconcile production, narrative, and executive notes in order to create a coherent shooting script.

I am delighted  to report  that under the stewardship of Lindy and Don, along with lead writer Sergio Casci, and Script Exec Angela Galvin of the BBC, the Katie Morag team  have now brought the entire 26 Episode arc to a level ready for the production to go into principal photography at the end of April 2013. It is no mean feat to successfully bring  such a large scale project to fruition in such a relatively short time. I think that the Broadcasters should feel   indebted to Lindy and Don for whole-heartedly embracing the TWFTV process . At  times it would have been much easier, (and certainly less expensive)  to just send out spec outlines to a series of unconnected writers,  but they held to the plan , and I am confident that the final product will reflect this coherent approach.

Katie Morag is Produced by the Move On UP team of  Lindy Cameron,  Margaret Mathieson and Donald Coutts.   Donald Coutts  will also direct all 26 episodes. Apart from myself, the  series was scripted by  writers Sergio Casci, Martin McCardie , Jan Storie & Louise Wyllie.  Huge thanks also due to BBC’s Producers & Execs Angela Galvin, & Sarah Harkins . Angela was a key mover in the Team Writing Process, acting as the executive link between the writing team and the broadcasters and deserves huge credit for her role.

Katie Morag starts shooting in Lewis at the end of the month. I wish the entire team, the newly cast actors, and  especially Cherry Campbell all the very best for a successful shoot. We should see all 26 Episodes on CBeebies towards the end of the year.

Full details of the BBC Katie Morag Press Release can be found here

I am very proud to announce that the Student’s Association of the University Of The West Of Scotland last night awarded me the accolade of their 21st Century Teaching Award. This is voted for by students across the 4 UWS Campuses to recognise innovation in teaching and the use of the new technologies. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the students who voted for me.

I would also like to thank my colleagues within the Performance team at UWS , including Dr John Quinn, Jane Robertson, Jo Ronan, Dr David Overend, Martin McCardie, Michael Hines, Ashley Cowie, Keith Bird and Jamie Hare for their continued help and support. Many thanks to all.

21st Century Teaching & Harris Tweed.

21st Century Teaching & Harris Tweed.

Rehearsals  are well under way  for my new play “Marco Pantani: The Pirate”. The play  will be running at Oran Mor as part of the “Play , A Pie And A Pint”  series from May 13th -18th. It will  will also be presented at The Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock on Sunday 19th.

Details of bookings and ticket prices for Marco Pantani: The Pirate can be found online here.

The part of Italian Cyclist Marco Pantani will be taken by Scots Actor Jordan Young, who has just finished filming in Irvine Welsh’s new pic “Filth”.

The part of Tonina, his mother will be played by Blythe Duff, who has just returned from  an Off Broadway production of David Harrower’s “Good With People.”

The cast is completed by actor James Smillie, who has appeared in a a multitude of television shows and stage plays, both in the UK and Australia. His television credits include The Tomorrow PeopleAdventure IslandSpace: 1999ThrillerPrisoner: Cell Block H,

The play has a real UWS feel to it. Director David Overend is a lecturer in Performance, our Studio managers, Jamie Hare and Keith Bird  will be providing visuals, while UWS Radio Graduate Stuart Watt will be creating a bespoke soundscape using special recordings of cycle parts.  The production team is completed by  UWS Performance Graduand Deborah Lochran and Catriona Hepburn who studied Playwriting & Team Writing For Television at UWS.

Unknown Blythe

Jordan Young

Jordan Young

Studio Lab Digital ScreenStudio Lab PosterFor more info eMail [email protected]




CCA, 6.30PM

Tickets £5 from CCA Box Office



Do you want to work in TV entertainment?  Are you interested in hearing how some of the biggest hits in UK television were devised?  Get the inside track on how to create and produce award winning TV entertainment with a panel made up of the cream of British television production – Andrew Newman, David Flynn and Karen Smith.


Andrew Newman started as a runner on The Big Breakfast before going on to produce The Word and Brass Eye.  In 1998 he became Entertainment Commissioner at Channel 4, overseeing shows like TFI Friday and Da Ali G Show. After a stint at Five, he returned to C4 as Head of Comedy & Entertainment, commissioning 8/10 CatsPeep Show and The Inbetweeners. He joined Objective Productions in 2009 and became Chief Executive in 2011.

David Flynn became joint Managing Director of Remarkable Television in September 2009, after taking over Brighter Pictures in 2007. Most recently, David created and executive produced hit game show The Million Pound Drop Live (Channel 4), and was involved in the show’s international roll out. He also co-created and executive produced daytime hit Pointless (BBC Two), Seven Days On the Breadline (ITV1) and Divided (ITV1).

Karen Smith started as a Day Producer on This Morning, going on to become Editor.  She then joined Endemol, helping to launchComic Relief Does Fame Academy (BBC 1).  In 2004, she joined BBC Entertainment and was the Co-Devisor and Executive Producer of Strictly Come Dancing, one of the biggest entertainment formats in the world.  In 2009, Karen joined Shine and became Joint Managing Director, before starting Tuesday’s Child in 2012.

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