Writers’ Guild Award winners 2017

Tom StoppardAcclaimed playwright and screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard (pictured left) was presented the Outstanding Contribution to Writing Award at the Writers’ Guild Awards on 23 January 2017, at the Royal College of Physicians in central London.

The award was presented by WGGB Theatre Co-Chair and former President David Edgar (read his full speech).

Talking about the prestigious accolade, Stoppard said: “For a writer, no award can compare to an award from other writers.  The Writers’ Guild is a bright spot in a dark world, and I feel very grateful to it.”

Comedian, actor and writer Meera Syal hosted the annual event honouring the cream of British film, TV, theatre, radio and gaming writing.

Commenting on her involvement, she said: “Someone once said, probably a writer, that the writer is the only true originator of a script, everyone else that follows is merely an interpreter. Whilst the directors and producers slug it out, let’s at least agree that whilst everyone can have a great idea, it takes a great writer to bring it to life. And I’m very honoured to be hosting the WGGB Awards where we can come together to celebrate our extraordinary community of writing talent.”

Other winners included Phoebe Waller-Bridge who was awarded Best TV Situation Comedy for Fleabag; Guy Hibbert, who took home Best Screenplay for Eye in the Sky starring Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman; Best Writing in a Video Game was claimed by Jonathan Burroughs, Lyndon Holland and Terry Kenny for the first person mystery adventure, Virginia; Best Play went to Caryl Churchill for Escaped Alone.

Women scooped wins in 8 out of 13 (over 60%) of the categories, bucking the UK statistics of women being under-represented in film (where they make up 14% of writers), prime time drama (34%) and new plays (31%).

Talking about the Awards, WGGB President Olivia Hetreed said: “It is very exciting, after a year when truth has often seemed stranger than fiction, to celebrate the insight, humour and humanity in the very best of dramatic storytelling across the whole range from film to TV and radio, theatre to videogames.”

Special tributes were given to WGGB members who died last year. Actress Celia Imrie led a tribute to Victoria Wood while producer/director Charles Garland paid tribute to Jimmy Perry.

Presenters of individual awards included Helen Lederer, Josie Lawrence, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Patrick Ness and Louiza Patikas and Timothy Watson, who play Helen and Rob Titchener in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.

Writers’ Guild Awards 2017 winners:

Outstanding Contribution to Writing

Sir Tom Stoppard

Best Radio Comedy

Winner: John Finnemore’s Double Acts – Series 1, Episode 5, “English for Pony Lovers” by John Finnemore

Shortlisted: Guilt Trip by Katherine Jakeways, Felicity Montagu, Olivia Nixon; The Pin by Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen

Best Radio Drama

Winner: Fat Little Thing by Lucy Gannon

Shortlisted: Cuttin ‘It by Charlene James; lament by Debbie Tucker Green

Best Long Running TV Series

Winner: Doctors, Series 18, Episode 29, “There is No Place” by Claire Bennett

Shortlisted: Coronation Street, Episode 8946 by Chris Fewtrell; Emmerdale, Season 1, Episode 7628, “Holly’s Death” by Karin Young

Best Writing in a Video Game

Winner: Virginia by Jonathan Burroughs, Lyndon Holland and Terry Kenny

Shortlisted: FIFA 17 “The Journey” by Martin Korda, Matthew Turner, Tom Watt; Fragments of Him by Mata Haggis

Best Children’s TV Episode

Winner:  The Dumping Ground, Season 3, Episode 20, “Refuge” by Emma Reeves

Shortlisted: Danger Mouse, Season 1, Episode 3, “Greenfinger” by James Griffiths, Mark Oswin; Hetty Feather, Series 2, Episode 10, “The Reunion” by Helen Blakeman

Best Long Form TV Drama

Winner: Trapped by Clive Bradley

Shortlisted: Victoria, Season 1, Episode 4, “The Clockwork Prince” by Daisy Goodwin; Spotless, by Ed McCardie

Best First Screenplay

Winner: Adult Life Skills by Rachel Tunnard

Shortlisted: Radiator by Tom Browne and Daniel Cerqueira; Florence Foster Jenkins by Nicholas Martin

Best Play for Young Audiences

Winner: (Joint winners) What The Thunder Said by Ed Harris and Rise Up by Lisa Evans

Shortlisted: This Changes Everything by Joel Horwood

Best Play

Winner: Escaped Alone by Caryl Churchill

Shortlisted: Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland; All The Little Lights by Jane Upton

Best Screenplay

Winner: Eye in the Sky by Guy Hibbert

Shortlisted: The Survivalist by Stephen Fingleton; Suffragette by Abi Morgan

Best TV Situation Comedy

Winner: Fleabag, Episode 1 by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Shortlisted: People Just Do Nothing, Series 3 by Allan Mustafa, Steve Stamp; Plebs, Series 3, Episode 1, “The Beasts” by Tom Basden, Sam Leifer

Best Short Form TV Drama

Winner: Ellen by Sarah Quintrell

Shortlisted: And Then There Were None, Episode 3 by Sarah Phelps; Murder, “The Big Bang” by Robert Jones


Presenters of the Writers’ Guild Awards 2017:

Host – Meera Syal

Best Radio Comedy – presented by Joel Morris and Jason Hazeley

Best Radio Drama – presented by Louiza Patikas and Timothy Watson

Best Long Running TV Series – presented by Helen Lederer

Best Writing in a Video Game – presented by Jameela Khan and Manos Agianniotakis

Best Children’s TV Episode – presented by Patrick Ness

Best Long Form TV Drama – presented by Denise Black

Best First Screenplay – presented by Caroline Goodall

Best Play for Young Audiences – presented by Vicky Ireland

Best Play – presented by Timberlake Wertenbaker

Best Screenplay – presented by Dave Johns

Best TV Situation Comedy – presented by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran

Best Short Form TV Drama – presented by Josie Lawrence

Outstanding Contribution to Writing – presented by David Edgar


Thank you to the sponsors of the Writers’ Guild Awards 2017

Lead sponsor: ALCS

Champagne reception sponsor: eOne

Thank you to all our other sponsors: BBC Drama, BBC Worldwide, Company Pictures, Tiger Aspect Productions and Nick Hern Books.

All photos by Matt Writtle