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BFI season to shine a light on female-penned TV dramas

Seven Faces of Woman, which is being screened as part of the BFI's season Seven Faces of Woman, which is being screened as part of the BFI's season
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A month-long season celebrating TV dramas written by women will take place at the BFI in London

Drama She Wrote: Pioneering Female Writers of the Television Play will shine a light on female-written dramas and TV films that have been broadcast over the past century.

It comes soon after a damning report from the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain exposed the lack of opportunity for female TV writers in the UK, and the BFI said the season should serve as a “timely reminder of what we could be missing”.

According to research, not a single one-off drama or TV film was written by a woman in 2017.

The Writers’ Guild report also found just 14% of prime-time TV dramas are written by women, and that female writers account for 28% of all UK TV episodes, despite women being prevalent in genres such as soaps and children’s TV.

The BFI’s season, which runs from September 7 to October 8, features a programme of dramas written by female TV writers such as Fay Weldon, Susan Pleat, Elaine Morgan and Julia Jones.

Some of the dramas being screened have never been seen since their original broadcast.

Dick Fiddy, TV programmer for the BFI, said: “The single play was the high-watermark of television culture for three decades from the 1950s to the 70s, and although writes such as Fay Weldon, Susan Pleat and Andrea Newman flourished, they were the exception rather than the rule.

“As the industry faces questions about the lack of gender equality regarding the writers of current high-end TV drama, the quality and diversity of the material featured in the Drama She Wrote season should serve as a timely reminder of what we could be missing.”

The programme includes Weldon’s 1972 drama A Splinter of Ice, as well as Choice by Newman, who will join a panel discussion following its screening.

Other writers featured in the season include Bernice Rubens, Watson Gould and Jill Laurimore.

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