John Wilsher

John Wilsher

“When I first started writing for radio and television, I was signing contracts with the BBC, and with companies that held ‘territorial’ ITV franchises (it was that long ago). Those contracts were based on agreements negotiated by WGGB members; writers of an earlier generation had given time and effort to ensure that they – and their successors – had decent levels of payment, working conditions that showed respect for their contribution to the production process, and, crucially, an ongoing participation, through royalties and residuals, in the rewards from the exploitation of their work.

“The world of broadcasting has changed massively in the years since then (the word ‘broadcasting’ itself doesn’t accurately describe the ways in which our scripted material is now distributed). There are multiple TV channels, subscription-based services, digital and online access to our work. The contracts we sign are still based on agreements negotiated by the WGGB (or if they’re not, we’re probably being ripped off); but those agreements need constant renegotiation and updating, which is still the work of Guild members and officials. As a Guild member, I can contribute to those negotiations; and I have a platform from which I can argue and complain if I think my interests have not been adequately represented.

“Writers who are not Guild members, and some who are, might ask ‘What does the Writers’ Guild do for me?’ What they should be asking is, ‘What can I do for myself, and my fellow writers, through the Writers’ Guild?’ The answer is, that you can help in the constant struggle to secure and protect your rights as a creative worker.”


John Wilsher has been a freelance writer since the late 1970s, and is based in London.

He has had several radio plays produced and broadcast in the UK and abroad.

His TV credits include original TV single dramas, The Quiz Kid and Sin With Our Permission. He has written episodes for The Bill, Silent Witness, The Vice, Murder In Mind, Dalziell & Pascoe, New Tricks, Torchwood and Midsomer Murders. Docu-dramas include The Dinsoaur Hunters and If Drugs Were Legalised. He was the series creator and lead writer on Between the Lines and co-creator of Call Red.

He is a former Chair of the WGGB TV & Film Committee, Deputy Chair of WGGB, and a former Guild President.

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