#ITV’s ‘Original Voices’ returns to Emmerdale

Aspiring drama writers from under-represented groups which include those from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic backgrounds and disabled people are being offered an opportunity to work on one of Britain’s biggest soap operas as ITV today announces its successful writing initiative, Original Voices, is to return.

The initiative aims to provide workplace training opportunities within ITV Studios Continuing Drama, to develop the writing skills of applicants from under-represented groups, whilst also creatively connecting ITV with a diverse range of talent that is currently under-represented on mainstream channels.

First launched in 2012, ITV has run the Original Voices initiative four times so far with writers gaining the opportunity to join the Story & Writing teams at Coronation Street or Emmerdale alternating each time. The initiative lasts 12 weeks.

The last initiative which took place at Coronation Street has already seen a successful placement receive a permanent contract. David Proud is now a regular writer for the Weatherfield soap.

David says, “Original Voices has been such a life changing experience for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process and it was great to spend time in various roles within the writing team. Having that time to immerse myself into the show really gave me confidence to write the best trial script I could. I was over the moon to be asked to join the writing team and am now writing my ninth episode. I’ve had the chance to write comedy, drama, heartbreak, and every combination in between. I’m loving every minute. I would encourage everyone to apply. I nearly didn’t apply due to my disability, I was anxious about how it might all work logistically. I am so glad that I didn’t let my anxiety hold me back. Just go for it, if you are destined to work on Emmerdale, ITV will make it happen, no matter who you are and what you might need’.

For the current intake, Original Voices, which now returns to Emmerdale, is seeking submissions from talented writers with a view to offering the four considered best-suited to working on Continuing Drama an opportunity to spend a month in the Emmerdale story office. There they can develop their skills at creating gripping stories, weaving multiple story strands and writing credible long running story arcs. They will then spend four weeks in the Script Department with the Script Producer and Script Editors, following an episode through the script process, being mentored in this part of the process by the writer whose episode they are following.

Successful candidates will be given the opportunity to write a shadow script, which is commissioned at the same time as the script by the current writer, following that process in parallel, to complete the learning of the whole story-to-script process.

Original Voices offers invaluable transferrable storyline and writing experience which can be put to good use with other drama opportunities.

Jane Hudson, Executive Producer, Emmerdale, ITV Studios, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring writers to come and work with one of the country’s best loved shows. The successful candidates will get the chance to look behind the curtain and see what goes on backstage as we create new and exciting stories.”

Ade Rawcliffe, Group Director, Diversity and Inclusion, said:

“At ITV we are committed to ensuring that our continuing dramas accurately reflect the diversity of modern Britain, onscreen in our storylines and cast, and off screen within our production teams. That is why creating opportunities for writers from underrepresented groups through Original Voices is so important to us.”