I Helped Write A Song!

Men With Ven are a brilliant band based in Whitstable who, aware that I am a man who spends half his life sitting in a shed, asked me to come up with some lyrics for their song “Down The Shed”. I was bloody chuffed that they actually used some of them – and gave me a co-writer credit to boot. No sign of a royalty cheque yet, though. They assure me it’s in the post.

Here’s the video! My shed features in it, of course.

 

Vera Series 6

I wrote the second episode of ITV’s hit crime drama Vera. “Tuesday’s Child” will be broadcast in the UK, on ITV1 and ITV1 HD on Sunday 7th February 2016. I hope you all enjoy it.

I’ve seen it and couldn’t be happier. It’s a cracking episode, with some wonderful guest performances. Heart-wrenching stuff. In fact, I think this series is going to be the best Vera yet. There are four really strong, emotional episodes, including the adaptation of Ann Cleeves’ latest Vera novel The Moth Catcher in episode 3.

Here’s the official trailer for Vera Series 6:

 

Vera Series 6 Broadcast Dates

Some exciting news. The sixth series of Vera begins on ITV in the UK, at 8pm on Sunday 31st January 2016. No news yet on US or other international air dates. The episodes for the series (writers in brackets) are:

  1. Dark Road (Martha Hillier)
  2. Tuesday’s Child (Glen Laker) – 7th Feb
  3. The Moth Catcher (Paul Matthew Thompson) – 14th Feb
  4. The Sea Glass (Martha Hillier) – 21st Feb

Here is the promo for series/season 6:

One Last Dance Wraps

The short film, starring Jonathan Pryce and Shane Attwooll, has now wrapped. Directed by Luke Losey, it looks like it’ll be a cracking short. Should have more updates toward the end of the year and hopefully a trailer to post up. 

 

Director Luke Losey and Jonathan Pryce on the set of One Last Dance

  

Shane and Jon doing some acting

  

Director Luke Losey and Jonathan Pryce

 

Vera – episode 2, Series 6

The episode of Vera I wrote for series 6 is into its last 2 weeks filming. An amazing guest cast have joined Brenda and Kenny for the episode. Keep an eye out on Twitter and Instagram for the #Vera and #Vera6 hashtags for some on-set shots and updates. 

Here’s one posted by Riley Jones (DC Edwards) from one of the locations for the episode. Brenda, Kenny and Kingsley doing their thing. 

 

Vera Series 6 Episode Shoots

Episode 2 of Vera series six is now shooting around Northumberland for the next 4 weeks. A great guest cast have joined Brenda Blethyn and Kenny Doughty. 

I can’t say much more about the episode storyline at this stage, but it does include a murder and some sleuthing.  😉

One Last Dance

One Last Dance is currently shooting in London and Herne Bay. Financed by a successful Kickstarter campaign, it stays Jonathan Pryce and Shane Attwooll and is directed by Luke Losey. I wrote the script. 

It’s an ambitious film, with a huge crew shooting anamorphic on 35mm film stock. I’m very proud to have supplied the words for it. Can’t wait to see it at festivals later this year. 

   

Vera – Muddy Waters – Reviews

Brilliant news. The Vera episode I scripted has been choice of the week in the Radio Times, as well as Pick of the Day in the TV Times, Radio Times and What’s On TV magazines. It was given 5/5 in the TV Times. Tune in tomorrow at 8pm on ITV1.

 

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Writing A Deaf Character In ITV’s Vera

This is a copy of the piece I wrote for The Limping Chicken blog (Deaf news and deaf blogs from the UK).

Writer Glen Laker tells us how having a deaf son led him to include a deaf character in Sunday’s episode of Vera on ITV1 

 I’ve been writing for 20 years, much of it alongside a day job, where I worked in Access Services at the BBC for 12 years (before that, I was a subtitler at ITV for 3 years), as a development manager, looking at and developing new methods to create subtitling and signed programming for the BBC output.

I wrote in my spare time; one of my first broadcast script jobs was writing information films and sketches for BBC’s See Hear. 

 In 2008, my son Toby was born and diagnosed with a severe bilateral hearing loss. It was an odd coincidence. After 15 years of working on programmes for Deaf viewers, I was raising one. 

 The learning curve was steep. My family were immersed into a new world of British Sign Language, of hearing aids, of loop systems, of making sure everyone around you is deaf-aware. 

 From 2010-2012, I worked with Deaf writers and directors, script editing three series of the Zoom and Zoom Focus strand for the BSL Zone, a compilation of TV movies and short films made entirely in BSL, which are shown on Film Four.

This inspired me to write more deaf characters into my own scripts. I also wrote on two Zoom films, Chasing Cotton Clouds (co-written and directed by Samuel Dore) and Champion Of The World (directed by Bim Ajadi). 

 In 2012, I wrote a television pilot called Snow Angel, which features a deaf police officer as the main character. I didn’t think it would appeal to anyone, as the majority of it was in BSL, but it ended up being a finalist in the Red Planet Prize and has since been developed as a six-parter with Noho Film and Television. 

Also, it landed me a chance to pitch on writing for ITV’s Vera. I wanted to put a deaf character into my episode. I also wanted an honest representation of what it’s like to be a hearing parent of a deaf child.

The reality is that you just get on with it. You don’t stop to admire or reflect. That matter-of-fact portrayal of deafness appears to be on the increase in TV drama, which is a good thing.

 

Vera Sign 2 

 The cast and crew of Vera really embraced the deaf storyline. ITV searched local Northumberland schools and cast a deaf boy in the role. They had a sign language interpreter on set to translate and teach the actors playing the boy’s parents (Alex Reid and Mark Bonnar) some BSL. Even Vera gets to show off some of her sign language training, by finger-spelling her name (though she mistakenly spells it “Vira”!).

I know one episode of a show isn’t going to change the world, but the more exposure that deaf characters get on television, the more viewers will get a flavour of that wonderful world. And for me, on a deeply personal level, that increases the chances that deaf children like my son will experience less ignorance and more acceptance as they grow up. 

You can watch this episode of Vera on Sunday night from 8pm-10pm on ITV1.