Netflix and Sky unveil first cohorts for UK Screenwriters' Fellowship

The programme aims to give underrepresented talent the chance to join a Netflix or Sky writers’ room

Bisha K. Ali, Netflix and Sky have revealed the six writers selected to participate in their first UK Screenwriters' Fellowship.

The year-long programme - which is currently at its halfway juncture - is led by British screenwriter Bisha K. Ali, head writer for the latest Disney Plus series Ms.Marvel and consulting producer for Sky Original The Baby.

The Screenwriters Fellowship - which is part of Netflix and Sky’s plan to broaden opportunities across the UK - aims to give underrepresented talent the chance to join a Netflix or Sky writers’ room and receive their first television credit.

The six successful applicants submitted a full script which had to demonstrate an 'authentic and original voice' and were selected from 2,000 entries.

The chosen fellows include Asad Ullah, a queer screenwriter and theatre performer from Manchester; Daniel T. David, an advertising copywriter and Kayla Hendy a 23-year-old writer from Slough. As well as Kim Taylor, a former teacher and freelance writer for the stage and screen; Lewis Wren, a 29-year-old playwright and screenwriter from the North West of England and Robyn Ahern, a writer who has also worked in film development and academia.

They have been assigned industry mentors and have participated in workshops and discussions with industry professionals such as Charlie Brooker, Charlie Covell, Kate Herron, Chandni Lakhani and Laurie Nunn.

Speaking about the programme in a statement, Ali said: 'I'm so proud to see the creative growth of the talented and driven writers selected for our Screenwriters' Fellowship. The world of screenwriting is a historically difficult one to break into, made even more challenging by the systemic issues within our industry. Our Fellowship doesn’t purport to have all the answers, but we aspire to be a part of the movement towards a more inclusive industry.

She continued: 'I know that our spectacular inaugural Fellows have long creative careers ahead of them, and will go on to be vital storytellers across multiple genres and mediums. Remember their names - I'm sure you'll be seeing them again in the credits of your favourite new shows!'

Anne Mensah, VP Netflix original series noted how the streaming giant's content should reflect the diverse world we live in.

'At Netflix, we want to make shows that reflect the world in which we live and develop a more inclusive pipeline of creatives across the UK. True diversity is about whose voices are heard, and whose stories and perspectives are told. Netflix is proud to play a part in helping develop these outstanding up and coming writers and designing a programme that not only tries to remove some of the barriers to entering our industry, but provides the space, time and financial security to help writers develop their craft,' said Mensah.

Cécile Frot-Coutaz, CEO Sky Studios added: 'The stories we tell shape our collective understanding of the world so it’s critical we open up the closed sphere of screenwriting to as many voices as possible, enabling us to tell untold stories to global audiences. Inspired by Bisha’s vision, we are proud to help break down the barriers and back these six new writers at this early stage of their career.'

Netflix and Sky unveil first cohorts for UK Screenwriters' Fellowship
Credit: Netflix
Netflix and Sky unveil first cohorts for UK Screenwriters' Fellowship
Credit: Netflix

Bisha K. Ali, Netflix and Sky have revealed the six writers selected to participate in their first UK Screenwriters' Fellowship.

The year-long programme - which is currently at its halfway juncture - is led by British screenwriter Bisha K. Ali, head writer for the latest Disney Plus series Ms.Marvel and consulting producer for Sky Original The Baby.

The Screenwriters Fellowship - which is part of Netflix and Sky’s plan to broaden opportunities across the UK - aims to give underrepresented talent the chance to join a Netflix or Sky writers’ room and receive their first television credit.

The six successful applicants submitted a full script which had to demonstrate an 'authentic and original voice' and were selected from 2,000 entries.

The chosen fellows include Asad Ullah, a queer screenwriter and theatre performer from Manchester; Daniel T. David, an advertising copywriter and Kayla Hendy a 23-year-old writer from Slough. As well as Kim Taylor, a former teacher and freelance writer for the stage and screen; Lewis Wren, a 29-year-old playwright and screenwriter from the North West of England and Robyn Ahern, a writer who has also worked in film development and academia.

They have been assigned industry mentors and have participated in workshops and discussions with industry professionals such as Charlie Brooker, Charlie Covell, Kate Herron, Chandni Lakhani and Laurie Nunn.

Speaking about the programme in a statement, Ali said: 'I'm so proud to see the creative growth of the talented and driven writers selected for our Screenwriters' Fellowship. The world of screenwriting is a historically difficult one to break into, made even more challenging by the systemic issues within our industry. Our Fellowship doesn’t purport to have all the answers, but we aspire to be a part of the movement towards a more inclusive industry.

She continued: 'I know that our spectacular inaugural Fellows have long creative careers ahead of them, and will go on to be vital storytellers across multiple genres and mediums. Remember their names - I'm sure you'll be seeing them again in the credits of your favourite new shows!'

Anne Mensah, VP Netflix original series noted how the streaming giant's content should reflect the diverse world we live in.

'At Netflix, we want to make shows that reflect the world in which we live and develop a more inclusive pipeline of creatives across the UK. True diversity is about whose voices are heard, and whose stories and perspectives are told. Netflix is proud to play a part in helping develop these outstanding up and coming writers and designing a programme that not only tries to remove some of the barriers to entering our industry, but provides the space, time and financial security to help writers develop their craft,' said Mensah.

Cécile Frot-Coutaz, CEO Sky Studios added: 'The stories we tell shape our collective understanding of the world so it’s critical we open up the closed sphere of screenwriting to as many voices as possible, enabling us to tell untold stories to global audiences. Inspired by Bisha’s vision, we are proud to help break down the barriers and back these six new writers at this early stage of their career.'

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