When I was young I was told I was very clever. ‘You are so intelligent,’ they used to say. I was also a very nice kid – generous, gentle, helpful and uncomplaining. I was full of life – ‘Fond of play’ as my form teacher wrote on my final report from the primary school. I was top of the class, number one of thirty-four, and that was in the A stream in the final year at that school – so at that time I was the top pupil of the whole school.
Me writing in the chalet/shed at the allotment. pic by Rhian
To be fair my teacher recognised this and wanted me to apply for a scholarship to go to Llandovery College – a private school around thirty miles from my home – it would have meant boarding I believe.
But, my parents didn’t have the wherewithal, either in monetary terms or in imagination to pursue the idea and the teacher realising it was an impossibility, let it go. As it happens, I’m glad about this, I don’t think I’d like the person I would have become if I’d spent those important years of my childhood in such a place.
Now, I’m approaching my 65th birthday – my mother is disappointed in me. I can see it in her eyes – and anyway, she says it often enough. ‘You used to be so clever,’ she’ll say. ‘You could have done so much.’Continue reading →
So, it looks like Tafftown is becoming a reality – when I say reality, of course I mean it’s not real, but it’s a drama of the sort that’s commonly known as a soap-opera – a term originally coined to mean a programme that depended on advertising revenues from soap (or washing powder) companies, or as Wikipedia says (although I’ve never heard the term ‘soapie’, it sounds Australian?):
“A soap opera, soapie, or soap is a serial drama on television or radio which features related story lines about the lives of many characters. The stories usually focus on emotional relationships to the point of melodrama. The term soap opera originated from such dramas being typically sponsored by soap manufacturers in the past.”
So that’s what Tafftown is, and it’s based on an idea of mine, influenced by several factors, including the fact that I have lived in an area similar to the one depicted in Tafftown for the last ten years and for a period in my twenties. I’ve been thinking about such a television series for a long time, and it finally came to a head a few days ago when after a meeting with my co-writer Dafydd Wyn Roberts and consultations with the other as yet unnamed people involved, we decided to announce it to the world.
So there it is it’s a reality.
The first episodes will be short – ten minutes or so – and will be broadcast online only.
Scripts and characters are in development and several parts have already been cast.
Overheard on a train on the Heart of Wales railway line. Notes found on a scrap of paper in one of my old files. I’m not sure when this was, probably in the last ten years.
‘The annoying thing is all the boys said – don’t, he’s gonna cheat on you.’
‘He took this scale (girl) back to his house then at 2 o’clock there was this scale leaving.’
‘They brought the family down from Newcastle. Newcastle paid the council to take them off their hands. They’re causing obstructions there. None of them working of course.’
‘Look at that fridge – they must know whose house it is from.’
‘There was a banana skin on the bus.’
‘It’s the politicians – they’re ripping us off.’
‘The word is foreign and that’s what you see all the time – what’s wrong with Welsh timber?’
‘They just chuck their McDonald’s all over the car park.’
‘I go to Aldi for all my veg, then mop up in Tesco.’
‘I’m trying to get them to eat healthy – but all they want is fish fingers and chips. So, I boiled some potatoes and put them with some faggots – all they had to do was microwave them – but they still wanted fish fingers and chips.’
TAPS – Television Arts Performance Showcase were an organisation whose aim was to discover and develop scriptwriters for television. They did pretty good for a long time then, I believe, the recession put paid to them in 2009.
I was involved in a number of their schemes and wrote a short drama with them in 2006. The drama “Bumps in the Night” never quite made it to production. Anyway I thought I’d put the script up here in the faint hope that someone will be interested in it, or at least to give an example of a tv drama script, the length of an episode of a soap opera on ITV.
The nostalgic mood continues. Here are the first two episodes of a soap-opera / drama thing I started writing specifically for publication on the Internet in its early days – 1996. The idea was that it would be published online in short sharp episodes using only text in a visual style, though there were always plans to add pictures and possibly videos when the technology got fast enough to make that viable. Maybe it’s time to do that now?
This is a script developed with TAPS with a view to getting it produced by ITV for the It’s My Shout scheme. In the end it didn’t make the final cut but got as far as a reading and development at the BBC studios in Cardiff.