Looking for great new screenwriters

2018 Results

A message from Phil Gladwin, founder of Screenwriting Goldmine:

What a contest it’s been.

Wilder and more inventive than ever, with a wider range of stories than we’ve ever seen, and a base level of writing ability that has improved significantly from last year.

Goldminers are getting so much better at writing!

Before the results, let’s have some context:

  • We accepted entries from Oct 12th to Dec 14th 2017
  • We had 308 entries from 271 writers in 13 different countries
  • Gender breakdown was approximately 42% female to 58% male (A significant shift. Every other year so far has been approx. 30-35% female to 65-70% male.)

All five of these finalist writers have a very bright future in British television, and I’m delighted with the field of entries overall.

It was definitely smaller than before, but overall things felt sharper, and more focused.

It seems that, as the years go on, the inner pack of Goldminers just get better and better.

In fact this comment from one of the judges sums up the reaction rather well.

“Some amazing scripts this year, Philip. I can’t wait to see who wins!”

Each writer on this final list, wherever they placed, should feel proud.

OK, let’s get to it.

Phil Gladwin

First place and overall winner

And Then I Wake – written by Geoff Gedroyc, story by Geoff Gedroyc & Karel van Bellingen

An Iraqi man travels to Plymouth, UK, in an effort to reunite with his long-lost wife and son. But his presence is unwelcome and exposes dark secrets best left in the past.

The barest outline of a script that is a rich, fully formed story of an estranged family pulled apart in the process of fleeing to a new life.

As well as being a wonderful page turner, And Then I Wake is a meditation on the situation of migrants in Europe and in the UK, the agonising complexity of split loyalties, and how love can drive immense sacrifice.

With its absolute topicality, its depth of humanity, and the sharp writing Geoff first displayed when he won the 2015-16 Goldmine contest, this is a worthy winner.

Second place

An Austrian Holiday – by Ann Hawker

Ada has Alzheimer’s, but she’s been in complete control of her life for the past 70 years. and she’s not about to lose it now. She decides to travel to Austria, (confusing it with Switzerland), in search of a Dignitas clinic. Her daughter, Zoe, arrives to bring the stranded Ada home. Faced with Ada’s growing distress, Zoe agrees to drive her mother through the mountains to Switzerland in the hope she can change Ada’s mind about her suicide.

Ann handles this potentially devastating story brilliantly. While in no way diminishing the seriousness of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, such is human nature that, even in the midst of deep despair, Ann can find lightness, warmth and humour, as well as an unflinchingly poignant look at the realities of the situation. Loved almost across the board by our panel of judges.

Third place

Greenland – by Fred Martenson

In a post-apocalyptic England, the survivors struggle to rebuild society while facing a daunting new challenge: ancient creatures of legend and folklore who have returned to reclaim the land that was once theirs.

A huge, high-concept, even resonant idea about a fight to reclaim England, all delivered with considerable elan. Fred avoids a common pitfall of genre and maintains clearly relatable characters alongside a high-stakes battle for survival. After all – as Fred observes well – a teenager in a small human enclave in a post-apocalyptic Britain is still a teenager, wanting kicks and sex just like teenagers everywhere. Greenland is a rich and well-crafted piece throughout, and possesses serious narrative punch.

Fourth place

In Vitro – by Jon Baker

A black comedy drama about a family of dysfunctional sex therapists. Widow Barbara Stein is sixty years old. On her birthday she gathers her three adult sons together, and reveals she’s using their inheritance to fund an IVF baby. She’s sorry she’s screwed them up: she’s going to try again, and this time she’ll get it right.

Subtle, dark, clever and mordantly witty, this script feels very fresh and modern. Yet underneath it operates in an area of primal psychology that makes it relevant to every grown up. In Vitro tells an apparently simple story of a simple family feud that twists everything until it stings. Smart dialogue, a bitter humour that makes you want to howl while forcing you to smile, and filled with fascinating family dynamics.

Fifth place

Petticoat Pirates – by Caroline Dean

Northern working-class Lucinda is thrilled to be admitted to Oxford University along with her twin brother Danny. But it’s 1964 and women are segregated and have curfews, higher discipline and no societies. While Danny can throw himself into university life Lucinda is restricted. The message is clear: women are second rate. Close to quitting, Lucinda’s underprivileged ‘scout’ inspires her to challenge the community by starting a women’s rowing crew.

Perhaps the most fully formed TV pilot on the list, the promise of the series is absolutely clear. The script finds a way to take us into the Oxford from fifty years ago in a way that makes it absolutely fresh and real. There is no sense of “period drama” here, just a fascinating world filled with strong, vivid characters.

Similarly, even though this is currently a resonant story, Petticoat Pirates avoids the trap of falling into overt political agenda or polemic. The characters are absolutely people first and foremost, with strong desires and needs accordingly, and the story comes only from that.

Congratulations to all five writers.

Contact to any of the writers via philip@screenwritinggoldmine.com in the first instance.


Initial rounds:
Phil Gladwin, Screenwriting Goldmine

Final round:

This is a snapshot of the panel as the contest opened in October. Job roles may have changed since then. Each of these judges read each of the five finalist scripts in March 2018 – a staggering simultaneous distribution of these writers’ work.

  1. Adrian Banyard, Development Producer, STV
  2. Nick Barron, Literary Agent, United Agents
  3. Matthew Bates, Literary Agent, Sayle Screen, London
  4. Sharon Batten, Series Producer, EastEnders, BBC Drama
  5. Anne Brogan, Founder, Kindle Entertainment
  6. Alison Davis, Executive Producer, Hetty Feather, CBBC Productions
  7. Meg Davis, Literary Agent, Ki Agency
  8. Kiren Dadwhal, Script Editor, Strike Back, Left Bank
  9. Charlotte Essex, Script Editor, Mainstreet Pictures
  10. Lucy Fawcett, Literary Agent, Sheil Land Associates Ltd
  11. Luke Fresle, Script Editor, BBC Drama
  12. Julie Gardner, Co founder, Bad Wolf Productions
  13. Sue Gibbs, Creative Director, Chrysalis Vision
  14. James Gillam-Smith, Script Editor, Silent Witness, BBC Drama
  15. Kris Green, Script Producer, EastEnders, BBC Drama
  16. David Hancock, Writer, The Crown, Left Bank Pictures
  17. Alexis Hood, Script Producer, No Offence, AbbottVision
  18. Edward Hughes, Literary Agent, Linda Seifert Management
  19. Emma Kingsman-Lloyd, Executive Producer, Humans, Kudos
  20. Nick Lambon, Development Executive, Sister Pictures
  21. Jake Lushington, Head of Drama, World Productions
  22. Kirstie Macdonald, Creative Director, Drama, Expectation
  23. Kara Manley, Executive Story Producer
  24. Steve Matthews, VP Executive Producer, Drama Development, HBO Europe
  25. Catherine Moulton, Development Exec, Tiger Aspect
  26. Jayasri Naik, Assistant Script Editor, CBBC Drama
  27. Lorraine Newman, Executive Producer
  28. Julie Press, Literary Agent, Kitson Press Agency
  29. Lucy Raffety, Series Producer, Casualty, BBC Drama
  30. Oliver Rance, Development Executive, Hat Trick
  31. Aimee Rowling, Head of Development, Bentley Productions
  32. Adam Sales, Script Editor, Emmerdale
  33. Dan Sefton, Writer/Producer, Seven Seas Films
  34. Ben Stoll, Script Producer, Fortitude, Fifty Fathoms
  35. Angus Towler, Script Producer, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Carnival Films
  36. Julia Tyrrell, Literary Agent, Julia Tyrrell Management
  37. Lisa Walters, Development Coordinator, Channel 4 Drama
  38. Danny West, Script Editor, EastEnders, BBC Drama
  39. Vicky Wharton, Producer
  40. Joe Williams, Head of Development, Vox Pictures
  41. Adam Woodhall, Development Producer, Company Pictures

Long Listed Scripts

Representing just under 10% of the field, here are this year’s long listed scripts.

A brochure containing more details about all these writers and their scripts has been distributed to each of the judges.

  • 2nd Coming by Jonathan Cliffe
  • Blackwater by Claire McGowan
  • Bloodsick by Alex Thompson
  • Bluebirds by Simon Wilkinson
  • Come Back Kenny by Kevin McDonnell
  • Dark Travelling Angel by Ian Craine
  • Deliver by Claire Peate
  • Godmother by Liz Holliday
  • Heartland by Brian McEvilly
  • Hometown by Deirdre Murphy
  • Luv U Long Time by Alan Davis
  • Nathan by Sarah Penrose
  • Nice Jewish Boy by Geoff Gedroyc
  • Ragnarok Ridge by Barry Hutchison
  • Rootless by Alison Wilkie
  • Stakeknife by Rossa McPhilips
  • The Celestial Teapot by Carol Cooper
  • The Children of Dorian Gray by Patrick Monger
  • The Jihadist’s Opera by S Kapoor
  • The Monster in My Father’s House by Thomas Vowles
  • The New Claytons by James Marson
  • The Rosy Hue of the Dying Day by Lauren Hoekstra
  • The Tower by Gerald Cole
  • Tru Hero by Richard Griffiths
  • TVCK by Dale Winton
  • Valentine by Stephanie Ginger
  • Vivid by Graham Higgins

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