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.
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