Michael’s TV pitch gets the BBC treatment

A North Shields actor and University of Sunderland graduate has been chosen to work alongside a BBC script editor to bring his idea for a TV series to life.

Michael Hunter is one of 10 talented storytellers to be named one of the BBC Writersroom North East Voices 2021.

The programme is designed to offer writers an insight into TV and how the industry works, with expert masterclasses that provide the tools and knowledge to write for broadcast television.

Michael said: “After many sessions learning more about writing we were asked to submit a one page pitch for a TV series.

“I was thrilled to hear that mine, Three Lasses, is one of three pitches that has been chosen to be taken forward with the BBC onto the treatment stage where I will receive help from an experienced script editor.”

Michael, who now lives in Islington, London, added: “Three Lasses is about three Geordie women in their fifties who exact revenge when one of them is the victim of online romantic fraud. The best friends come together to track down the fraudster posing as the singer Donny Osmond.”

The 26-year-old graduated from Sunderland in 2016 with a degree in Broadcast Media Production, before heading south to study a Masters in Screen Acting at the prestigious Drama Centre London.

Graduating straight into the Covid-19 pandemic, Michael used lockdown to write his debut short play Wednesday Afternoon, which has been selected by the Customs House, South Shields, and performed as part of their ‘Play’ competition.

It also featured in the SHORTS New Writing festival and performed at the White Bear Theatre in London this summer.

Michael has recently reached the top one per cent of the BBC Writersroom Drama Room 2021 out of more than 5,000 entries with his first feature-length screenplay – Hotneverending, about a young couple from North Shields desperately trying to leave their dark past and demons behind to forge a new life together against the backdrop of ‘Broken Britain’.

Jo McCullock, Senior Lecturer in Media Production and Digital Film at the University of Sunderland, recently shortlisted as University of the Year, in this year’s THE – Times Higher Education – annual awards, said: “Michael was very interested in the scriptwriting element of his degree from the start, and immediately showed a great deal of promise.

“He always had excellent ideas but also worked hard on crafting his talent throughout his degree. In his writing, he managed to create believable yet flawed characters and wrote scripts that combined pathos and a commentary on contemporary life.”

Senior Lecturer in Broadcast and Digital Media at Sunderland, Ian McPake, added: “While at the University of Sunderland Michael was an extremely hardworking student with a deep interest in many areas of the media industry.

“His passion for scriptwriting was obvious. He is clearly a very talented writer and staff at the University are delighted to hear about his success.”

When asked what he would tell other budding creatives who are thinking of studying at the University of Sunderland, Michael said: “Go for it! Especially if you’re studying anything media-based.

“Make use of all the equipment and facilities they’ve got there and just have fun with it. It’s quite amazing what you have at your fingertips.

“I’ve studied a Masters in London and I would say we don’t know how much we have and just how great the potential is in the North East. There’s space to get out there and create stuff, especially with the latest developments in the region in the creative sector.

“Also, listen to the tutors and appreciate how incredibly generous they are with their time.”

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