Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Jimmy McGovern Interview

The BBC Writers' Room has an interview with Mr Jimmy McGovern.

I don't always agree with the man, but he has some interesting stuff to say - well worth ten minutes of your time.

And I did like this bit...

Q. For many writers the thought of going to write on a continuing drama series makes them worry they are going to lose their individuality, their voice, who they are. What would you say to that?

A. Get real. You should be so lucky. There are brilliant writers on Coronation Street, on EastEnders. I know sometimes it can look naff, but that's often down to other things. These are really good writers. If you get the chance to write something that goes out in front of eight million, nine million people, how dare you turn your nose up at that? You should give your right arm for it. I loved and hated the show I worked on. But mostly I loved it.

If you get the chance to write for a soap opera the first thing you do is fall in love with it and every single character on it. Okay hate them as well but love them and live and breathe it. Eat and sleep it. Be ever so grateful that you've got the chance to do this. Then eventually after eight, nine, ten years you might get the chance to do a single drama and that's your chance.

Not sure about the eight, nine or ten years though!


Sally A said...

I was just talking about this very interview not one hour ago. For me, Jimmy McGovern is the the Governor - or maybe I should say the McGovernor.

Suw said...

I can't really agree with McGovern on this. Yes, there may be brilliant writers on Corrie and Eastenders, but that doesn't mean that everyone should want to (or have to) write for a soap. If writing for a soap is something that might make someone feel deeply unhappy, then they shouldn't do it because they just won't produce good work and by not working at their best they may end up short-changing their future career.

I dislike the attitude of "Just suck it up, pay your dues like the rest of us, and be grateful", regardless of where I find it, because it smacks of elitism. There are other ways to develop a screenwriting career that are just as valid.

Surely it should be horses for courses - those that feel happy writing for soaps should obviously do so, but those that don't can choose a different road to walk.