The BBC has announced three new Assistant Drama Commissioners as well as the next Drama Room Writers. The new appointments, based in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, join the Assistant Commissioner in Salford to complete the new roles, based across the four nations of the UK.
The four new Assistant Commissioner roles were announced back in March as part of the BBC’s plans to increase portrayal of all audiences across the territory. This also included moving the center of gravity of the BBC Writersroom department to Salford, under the leadership of Jessica Loveland, Head of New Writing.
The new Assistant Commissioner roles will have dual reporting lines to the Nations Commissioning Editors and the Head of New Writing. They will lead on new writer development across the four nations and support the existing commissioning editors for each of the Nations.
● ASSISTANT COMMISSIONERS
Helen Perry is Assistant Commissioner for Wales. She joins from Bad Wolf where she was Script Executive for the second season of the acclaimed HBO/BBC drama “Industry,” and prior to that was Development Producer for BBC Writersroom Wales.
Heather Larmour is Assistant Commissioner for Northern Ireland. She worked in BBC Northern Ireland’s Drama department as an Audio Drama Producer for a number of years before moving to work in TV at Kudos, where she was a Development Executive and mostly recently a Script Editor across several of the company’s productions.
Stephanie Fyfe is Assistant Commissioner for Scotland. Prior to this, as a development executive and script editor, she has worked with a range of writing talent across multiple genres and formats.
They join Siobhan Morgan, Assistant Commissioner for the North of England during Alice Ramsey’s maternity leave. Alice Ramsey joined the BBC Writersroom team from the BFI Network in Summer 2019, and was appointed as Assistant Commissioner in 2021.
In addition, Usman Mullan and Zahra Al-Sultani have been announced as BBC Writersroom’s Development Producers based in Salford and London, respectively.
“The BBC Writersroom and Drama Commissioning team are delighted to be welcoming Alice, Heather, Helen and Stephanie in these exciting new Assistant Commissioner roles. They are a talented group of individuals who bring a wealth of experience and real commitment to nurturing storytellers who reflect the whole of the UK. I’m really looking forward to working with them across the new year as we work together across the nations and regions to support the next generation of bold new voices,” Jessica Loveland commented.
● THE DRAMA ROOM WRITERS 2021-22
Following the Open Call script submission window which closed last January, and an intensive process of script-reading and interviews, these sixteen writers have been selected for the Drama Room development group 2021-22: Alex Riddle, Alvin Yu, Benedict Lombe, Brennig Hayden, Carlo Kureishi, Emilie Robson, Faebian Averies, Fionnuala Kennedy, Georgia Affonso, Gillian McCormack, Houmi Miura, Nathan Ellis, Paris Ventour, Rosanna Suppa, Sarah Gordon, and Tim Barrow.
The Drama Room is one-year development scheme during which the writers usually meet once a month for six months and receive targeted training and development including workshops (with practical writing exercises), masterclasses, introductions and networking events, and writing briefs with the opportunity to pitch. Following this they receive the support of a Script Editor for a further six months to develop their original spec' script. The aim of the scheme is to encourage and develop the best in new drama writing and to give these writers the opportunity to build strong connections with producers and help them gain BBC broadcast commissions.