Women dominate at Writers’ Guild Awards in London

Women have enjoyed a strong showing at the Writers’ Guild Awards, scooping nine of the 16 prizes.

Writers such as Call The Midwife’s Heidi Thomas and Killing Eve’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge were among those honoured at the ceremony in London, scooping accolades across theatre, TV, radio, comedy, books and video games categories.

Thomas was presented with the outstanding contribution to writing award in honour of her body of work, which includes Little Women and Cranford as well as creating and writing BBC One drama Call The Midwife. 

She was given her trophy by Dame Pippa Harris.

Waller-Bridge picked up the award for best long-form TV drama for the fifth episode of the smash hit drama Killing Eve, which sees Sandra Oh as an MI5 officer hunting for serial killer Villanelle (Jodie Comer).

Mary Lynn Bracht picked up the best first novel award for her debut White Chrysanthemum, and Hannah George and Tasha Dhanraj scooped the best online comedy award for Where Are You From? The Game.

Sarah Kendall took home the award for best radio comedy for the second year in a row, for Sarah Kendall: Australian Trilogy Volume 2 – Part 1 – Seventy-Three Seconds, while best radio drama went to Alex Ganley, Martin Jameson, Vivienne Harvey, Cath Staincliffe and Richard Monks for Stone.

Best play went to Frances Poet for Gut, and Tim Crouch scooped the award for best play for young audiences with Beginners.

Other winners included Russell T Davies, known for his work on Doctor Who. He was recognised for his critically acclaimed three-part drama A Very English Scandal in the best short-form TV drama category.

Comedy Detectorists, written by and starring Mackenzie Crook, scooped the best TV situation comedy award at the event, hosted by Joanna Scanlan.

The best long-running TV series award went to Coronation Street, episode 9,451/2, written by Jonathan Harvey, while best screenplay was awarded to American Animals by Bart Layton.

The big night for female writers came after the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain’s (WGGB) 2018 Equality Writes research, which said only 16% of working screenwriters in film in the UK were female, and the percentage of UK TV episodes that were predominantly female-written stood at just 28%.

WGGB president Olivia Hetreed said: “Sixty years on from the founding of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain it is thrilling to see that British writing and British writers are in such great shape, with a fantastic array of winners across all disciplines.

“And in the year of our Equality Writes campaign, highlighting the long-term failure to give women writers equal access to film and TV work, it’s impressive to see so many female winners in all categories as well as to celebrate the success of Call The Midwife creator Heidi Thomas for her outstanding contribution to writing.”

The event, held at the Royal College of Physicians in London, also celebrated WGGB’s 60th anniversary.

Guests included Jessica Hynes, Charlie Covell, Lisa McGee, Hugo Speer, Armando Iannucci, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and David Schneider.