Express & Star

Sir Lenny gives backing to scheme looking for new screenwriters

A new scheme working to support emerging writing talent from across the region has been given backing by a comedy legend.

Sir Lenny Henry is backing a new scheme that will support emerging writing talent from across Birmingham and the Black Country. Photo: Nick Robinson

Sir Lenny Henry has backed the new Write Across Birmingham and the Black Country scheme, a BBC scheme which aims to provide 12 aspiring writers with all the tools to learn how to write for television.

Through a series of workshops, expert-led sessions and networking opportunities, the eight-week scheme will cover the foundations of storytelling for the screen, while demystifying the process of writing for television.

It runs from June to September in 2024 with applications closing on Tuesday, March 5.

Speaking at the launch event in Birmingham on Friday, which was also attended by BBC Director General, Tim Davie, Sir Lenny said: “This is a very good time to be in the Midlands, the next few years is all about development.

"It’s going to be a cultural hotspot again. The BBC is here, Create Central is here, BBC Writers is here.

"I want to be involved in that and Steven Knight wants to be involved in that. Good things are coming.

“This is a brilliant way of saying the doors are open, come in and there are a gazillion people who want to write stories, and represent people like them.

"This is a brilliant opportunity for people to say ‘I’ve got eight weeks, I don’t have to pay, I’ve got all of these brilliant people to learn from, and to nurture me. I want to be part of something like that.’”

Jessica Loveland, head of New Writing for BBC Writers and BBC Drama Commissioning, said she was urging up and coming writers to get their applications in now.

She said: “We know there are many brilliant writers in this region who have exciting, entertaining and urgent stories to tell.

"The aim of Write Across is to give writers the tools and the knowledge to share those stories more widely and, with some creativity, hard work and a sprinkle of magic, hopefully in time they’ll bring their writing to screen.

“We want to work with a range of new voices who represent the diversity of this incredible region.

"We’re looking for writers who absolutely LOVE TV, who watch lots of shows, read all the scripts and are really excited to explore writing for the medium.”

Sir Lenny Henry said he wanted to do more in the region and said schemes like Write Across would help him tell those stories.

He said: "I want to do more things set in the Midlands, my production company are hopefully going to create more here because why wouldn’t you?

There are so many talented people here, so many great places.

"I want to say ‘this is a place you haven’t seen before – Dudley, Wall Heath, Tipton, Smethwick. I want to make a drama in Tipton, in Smethwick. I want to write about the North Street riots.

"I want to do a story about black American soldiers meeting people in Wolverhampton, and asking what pork scratchings are.”

BBC Writers will be hosting a second launch event for the scheme at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton on Wednesday, February 21.

For more information on how to apply for the scheme, go to

Free tickets for the next BBC Writers Wolverhampton event are available now from the Arena Theatre box office at

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