20
Jan
11

Battersea is a fairytale place…

Marco Polo House

Marco Polo House in Battersea

I used to work for QVC: The Home Shopping Channel, writing cheery product descriptions for everything from jewellery and make-up to power drills and laptops. For three long years, I sat beneath the sprawling glass rooftops of Marco Polo House in Battersea, London, where I typed out millions of words… and made the acquaintance of a young copywriter named David Jackson. David and I both had aspirations to write creatively outside of the office. For me (at the time), it was stage scripts. For David, it was his ongoing novel. We often showed each other our latest efforts and exchanged feedback in the pub after work.

I left QVC in 2005 and David is now a teacher, but a couple of years ago – more or less on a whim – we decided that it might be a laugh to collaborate on a project together. I’d been reading J.M. Barrie’s Peter And Wendy and was struck by the huge difference between the polite, austere children of 1909 and the feral kids of 2009… and the potential for humour in this. David suggested a TV series in which fantastical fairytales sit in stark contrast with dreary tales of urban UK youth – and the idea snowballed from there.

Peter Pan and Captain HookOver 6 months or so, we co-wrote a 30-minute pilot episode… which we never gave a final name to, so it still has the working title “Battersea Park Fairytales”. Coming back to this screenplay with fresh eyes, I still think it’s got a tight plotline and it’s relatively funny. I wasn’t 100% comfortable with the subject matter or the target audience (Sixth Form angst aimed at Sixth Formers). I hate shows like Skins and wanted to steer clear of that awful “down with the yoof” tone of voice. So we set our story back in the 1990s, when we were teens ourselves, in an effort to keep things ringing true. I think we just about pulled it off.

The lead characters in this story are two teenage boys: Simon Prince and Peter (Pan). You can read the entire pilot script here: Battersea Park Fairytales_Final

We even wrote an extended synopsis for the rest of the six-episode series, which I might post up on here some day. As ever, all comments are welcome.

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