What’s It Like to be a TV Writer in the UK?

This profile from The Guardian does a good job of convincing some of us here at TVWriter™ that we ought to be in, oh, London, or Cardiff than the smouldering bowels of LA:

Jack Thorne
BAFTA winning writer Jack Thorne

Jack Thorne: the hardest-working writer in Britain?
by Mark Lawson

Despite having been up late last Monday night at a party marking the transmission of his latest TV drama, Jack Thorne was back next morning at the north London library where he writes seven days a week. He aims to work from 10am to 8pm, shifting to a coffee bar when the library closes early.

Thorne, 35, needs to put in those shifts because his scripts are in such demand, having achieved the rare double of winning two Bafta awards at the same ceremony (in 2012): best mini-series for Channel 4’s This is England ’88 (part of a longrunning recent-historical project with director Shane Meadows) and best drama series for BBC3’s supernatural show The Fades.

Glue, the eight-part Berkshire murder mystery, which continues on Monday night at 10pm, is one of nine television projects he has in various stages of creation. Hope, a drama about local government budget cuts, opens at the Royal Court in November, marking his return to theatre, where Thorne is also highly prized after the West End success of Let the Right One In, his adaptation of a Swedish novel and film. “I like working,” he says. “But now I have a deal with my wife that I take a half-day off each week.”

Until he met his wife, Rachel Mason, an agent who represents comedy acts, on a train to the Cornish film festival, he was living alone in Luton and would often write through the night.

Thorne is very tall and strikingly thin, probably from a combination of nervous energy and keen cycling. But, though a formidable writer of dialogue, he is less keen on speaking himself; though warm and friendly, he punctuates his conversation with the compound word “dyknowwhatImeanyknow?” Talking in a cafe near his library-office, he apologises: “I’m not very articulate. I don’t have that skill.”

His friend and frequent colleague Josie Rourke – artistic director of the DonmarTheatre in London, where she staged Thorne’s adaptation of the Swiss writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s atomic comedy The Physicists – says: “He is shy but that is not unusual in a writer, and it is a winning quality in Jack because it stems from his modesty.

“In rehearsals, he is always incredibly fluent in answering actors’ questions and contributing to the room. At his wedding, he actually gave the funniest and most moving groom speech I have ever heard. I think that his modesty comes from his fascination with people. He is deeply compassionate and fascinated by human behaviour.”

It speaks well of Thorne that collaborators speak so well of him. Shane Meadows, who this week started shooting their third collaboration, This is England ’90, says: “He is the hardest-working man I have ever met, he is at least twice as insane as myself and he is allergic to heat. It was love at first sight!”

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