08/07/2011

BBC NI Announces Primetime Scripts

Three local scriptwriters are to have their work made into dramas for television in a new initiative from BBC Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Screen.

Primetime, launched last November, offers Northern Ireland-based writers the opportunity to have an original one-hour drama produced for television.

The scripts selected for production are At Water's Edge by Dean Hagan and Glynis Hagan and The Year of Greater Love by Patrick FitzSymons.

Dean Hagan has been writing on the side for years, but this is the first time he has teamed up with Glynis, his wife and childhood sweetheart.

Living in Newtownabbey, Dean and Glynis felt that dramas reflecting the true experience of family life in Northern Ireland were missing from our screens.

Dean said: "We feel that there is much about our culture that is universal in life experience, but what is unique to is is our biting wit and our ability to cry, laugh and survive adversity."

Patrick FitzSymons is the writer behind the script A Year Of Great Love. Patrick, who lives near Dunseverick on the North Coast, already has an extensive career as an actor for TV, radio and film including BBC Northern Ireland's dramas Betrayal Of Trust and Scapegoat.

After many years in TV and film production he was inspired to start writing - to get back to what motivated him in the first place - good stories.

Patrick said: "In writing A Year Of Great Love I hoped to examine the impact of abnormal circumstances on normal family life, to create a situation in which those senses of duty and obligation felt between those related by blood are stretched to the limit. Where does our duty to family end and our duty to our fellow human beings begin?"

The two 60-minute dramas, to be produced by Mammoth Screen, are set to go into production towards the end of this summer. Both of the character driven scripts explore the idea of family.

Andrew Reid, Head of Production at Northern Ireland Screen, stated: "Northern Ireland Screen is delighted to have the delivery of the Primetime projects in the capable hands of Mammoth Screen. Their involvement adds considerable value to an already strong opportunity for the Northern Ireland creative community.

"The selected projects have constantly shown that new writing talent is alive and flourishing in Northern Ireland.

"We know that both Mammoth Screen and the creative teams will deliver projects that will be a testimony to our belief in the creative talent within Northern Ireland."

Ailsa Orr, Head of Programmes BBC Northern Ireland, added: "BBC Northern Ireland is delighted to be part of Primetime. This initiative is exciting and unique because it nurtures new local writing talent by facilitating creative partnerships; this year with one of the UK's top independent drama companies, Mammoth Screen. This gives successful candidates the very best opportunity to develop their ideas and showcase their films on BBC Northern Ireland. We are excited to see the results and wish the writers the very best of luck."

Michele Buck, Joint Managing Director of Mammoth Screen Northern Ireland, said: "Mammoth was totally thrilled to win the tender to develop and produce these films for Northern Ireland.

"There are so few avenues for new writing talent to have their work produced that this is a unique opportunity for the writers, only made possible by the successful collaboration of the BBC and Northern Ireland Screen."

In its first year Primetime received close to 140 submissions. Primetime will broadcast on BBC One Northern Ireland early next year.

(KMcA/BMcC)

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