Writers’ Guild Awards winners

Jack ThorneWriters behind some of the most critically acclaimed works over the last two years were honoured at the 29th Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards ceremony, including Russell T Davies, Kevin Dyer, Emerald Fennell, Andrea Gibb, Chinonyerem Odimba, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Jack Thorne (pictured left).

The awards, across 16 categories in film, television, radio, theatre, comedy, books and videogames, took place at a ceremony at the Royal College of Physicians in London on the evening of Monday 14 February 2022.

Hosted by WGGB President Sandi Toksvig OBE, it honoured two years of the best of British writing following the cancellation of last year’s awards due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ceremony was held on Valentine’s Day as a gesture of appreciation to writers and the creative industries who have endured a challenging two years but have kept audiences entertained throughout the pandemic.

Stage and screen writer Jack Thorne was presented with the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Writing Award by Jane Tranter whom he collaborated with on BBC’s fantasy drama trilogy His Dark Materials.

Thorne’s career has seen him write extensively for TV, film, stage and radio, winning multiple awards. His TV writing credits include Help, National Treasure, The Virtues, Kiri, The Last Panthers, Glue, The Accident, The Eddy, The FadesShameless, Cast Offs, This Is England ’86This Is England ’88, This Is England ’90, and he was a core writer in the first three series of Skins. He has also written the upcoming BBC 2 film drama Then Barbara Met Alan.

His film work includes the features Enola HolmesThe Scouting Book for Boys, The Aeronauts, Radioactive, The Secret Garden, A Long Way Down, Wonder, War Book and the upcoming The Swimmers. 

Thorne has also written extensively for stage, where his most recent credits include After Life, an adaptation of a film by Hirokazu Kore-eda for the National Theatre; the end of history… for the Royal Court; an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Büchner’s Woyzeck, both for the Old Vic; as well as Headlong’s Junkyard, a co-production with Bristol Old Vic, Rose Theatre Kingston and Theatr Clwyd; and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre. His radio plays include Left at the Angel and an adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame both for BBC Radio 4, and People Snogging in Public Places for BBC Radio 3’s Wire slot.

On receiving his Outstanding Contribution to Writing Award he said: “I think all writers would say that being given something from other writers is the greatest honour. I’m very proud to be a member of the Writers’ Guild, and I’m delighted that they have decided to give me this. I don’t think I’ve really contributed anything much in this strange career, and writing is a really strange job, but I’m grateful, and slightly anxious, to now have this award to live up to.”

Emerald Fennell won Best First Screenplay for her black comedy psychological thriller Promising Young Woman starring Carey Mulligan, with the award presented to her by former WGGB President Olivia Hetreed, while Andrea Gibb won the Best Short Form TV Drama accolade, for BBC One’s Elizabeth is Missing; the story of an elderly woman living with dementia who struggles to piece together a double mystery. Comedian Mae Martin and writer Joe Hampson took home the award for Best TV Situation Comedy for Feel Good, presented to them by Helen Lederer, and multi award-winning Russell T Davies won Best Long Form TV Drama for his celebrated Channel 4 drama It’s A Sin, which was presented by Neil Pearson.

Kevin Dyer won Best Play for The Syrian Baker, handed to him by Emma Reeves, with comedian Eleanor Morton presenting Chinonyerem Odimba with the Best Musical Theatre Bookwriting accolade for Black Love, the first musical to be created for Paines Plough’s Roundabout stage.

Children’s TV royalty Paul Chuckle presented two awards, handing Emma Reeves the accolade for Best Children’s TV Episode for My Mum Tracy Beaker: I want my Mum back, and Martin Travers with the Best Play for Young Audiences Award for Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles?.

Simon Blackwell and Armando Iannucci won Best Screenplay, presented by Andrea Gibb for The Personal History of David Copperfield, starring Dev Patel in the title role, while author Sue Teddern presented Eli Lee with the Best First Novel accolade for her debut A Strange and Brilliant Light, and Avin Shah was awarded in the Best Radio Drama category by broadcaster Samira Ahmed for The Half Widow.

The Best Radio Comedy Award went to Olga Koch and Charlie Dinkin for BBC Radio 4’s Olga Koch: Fight – they were given the award by Sioned Wiliam, Commissioning Editor of Comedy for BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, while Best Online Comedy was presented to Hannah George, Taylor Glenn and Catie Wilkins for Remember Getting the Period Talk at School #Menopause.

Best Writing in a Video Game was awarded to Jon Ingold for Overboard!, presented to him by Giles Watling MP, and the Best Long Running TV Series accolade went to Jillian Mannion for River City, Series 21, Episode 28, handed to her by scriptwriter Damon Alexis-Rochefort.

Sandi Toksvig OBE said: It’s been a complete joy to host this year’s Writers’ Guild Awards and to be among such incredible writing talent from all areas of our industry. We couldn’t hold the Awards last year, so it has been even more special to be able to celebrate these wonderful people tonight. They have kept us entertained and allowed us to escape into the marvellous stories and worlds they have created for us, which we have needed more than ever after another challenging year. Congratulations to all of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards 2022 winners – you are simply magnificent!”

During the ceremony WGGB Treasurer Gail Renard paid tribute to Adele Rose and WGGB Chair Lisa Holdsworth paid tribute to Ronald Harwood, with further tributes to other WGGB members who had sadly died in the previous two years.

The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) was the lead sponsor of the 29th Writers’ Guild Awards. Our other sponsors were BBC, ITV, Script Angel and Nick Hern Books.

A full list of winners and presenters follows below (you can see the full shortlists here).

Outstanding Contribution to Writing

Jack Thorne

Presenter: Jane Tranter

Best Online Comedy

Remember Getting the Period Talk at School #Menopause by Hannah George, Taylor Glenn and Catie Wilkins

Presenter: Helen Lederer

Best Long Running TV Series

River City, Series 21, Episode 28 by Jillian Mannion

Presenter: Damon Alexis-Rochefort

Best Writing in a Video Game

Overboard! by Jon Ingold

Presenter: Giles Watling MP

Best Children’s TV Episode

My Mum Tracy Beaker: I want my Mum back by Emma Reeves

Presenter: Paul Chuckle

Best Radio Comedy

Olga Koch: Fight by Olga Koch and Charlie Dinkin

Presenter: Sioned Wiliam

Best Long Form TV Drama

It’s A Sin by Russell T Davies

Presenter: Neil Pearson

Best First Novel

A Strange and Brilliant Light by Eli Lee

Presenter: Sue Teddern

Best First Screenplay

Promising Young Woman by Emerald Fennell

Presenter: Olivia Hetreed

Best Radio Drama

The Half Widow by Avin Shah

Presenter: Samira Ahmed

Best Play for Young Audiences

Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles? by Martin Travers

Presenter: Paul Chuckle

Best Play

The Syrian Baker by Kevin Dyer

Presenter: Emma Reeves

Best Screenplay

The Personal History of David Copperfield by Simon Blackwell and Armando Iannucci

Presenter: Andrea Gibb

Best TV Situation Comedy

Feel Good by Mae Martin and Joe Hampson

Presenter: Helen Lederer

Best Short Form TV Drama

Elizabeth is Missing by Andrea Gibb

Presenter: Damon Alexis-Rochefort

Best Musical Theatre Bookwriting

Black Love by Chinonyerem Odimba

Presenter: Eleanor Morton

Find out more about the Writers’ Guild Awards

Watch a highlights video below and head over to our YouTube channel for a full video of the ceremony, with closed captions and BSL interpreters.

Photos: Matt Writtle