Eileen Gallagher and Ann McManus – 28th November, 2012

Our meeting with ‘Shed Productions’ was a great night, exploring writing for TV with Eileen Gallagher and Ann McManus. It gave us a fascinating insight into the beginnings of their successful company. From the beginnings of working at LWT, and writing for ‘Take the High Road’, we heard some highlights from writing for ‘Coronation Street’: ‘This character isn’t working, shove her down a hole’… ‘Nope make her a transsexual.’
The idea for the company’s very successful ‘Bad Girls’ was also interesting. Having been inspired by ‘Prisoner Cell Block H’ and its popularity, Gallagher and McManus set about to explore a world which hinged on rules, regulations and hierarchy, and the tensions that this creates. Having been turned down by production companies, the two decided to set up on their own, and ‘Shed Productions’ was born. We heard, in this, the fear and commitment involved in leaving one’s job for a new venture – that leap of faith. In researching prison life, stories that, ‘you couldny make up’ came to the fore, and the importance of sharing your ideas in order to allow creativity was highlighted.
Their advice was practical. Start with your characters. Understand your story scene by scene. Break the scenes down to find the beats. Bring your characters’ stories together. Understand the turning points you are creating.
We also explored the difference between story of the week and the serial story, and the importance of getting the balance right.
Ann and Eileen showed great interest and patience in listening to our pitches. We heard a wide variety: Medical, Romance, Territorial Army, Mystery, 60s Pop Culture, and comedy-futuristic.
Thanks to them for an insightful and generous evening.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.