Many, (err, many, many) years ago, I left LAMDA with no particular idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I scatter-gunned my empty CV at every theatre in London.
Somehow, this got me a job as a wardrobe assistant in an open air production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, during which I nearly castrated Puck trying to repair his trousers in the dark. Later I was cautioned by the police for carrying a ten foot oar on the tube (it was a prop for a Gate production of The Odyssey for which I was an assistant stage manager), and my career as a casting assistant hit something of a wobble when I told an actor auditioning for Bernard Shaw’s The Devil’s Disciple at the National that he “looked like a Dick.” (In my defence, that’s the name of the character, but the poor guy was so taken aback by what seemed like a random insult that he forgot the speech he had prepared and his agent complained about me.)
Around then, a producer I knew asked me what I actually wanted to do for a career.
I didn’t really have an answer other than “work in theatre,” which I was doing, (even if what I was mostly doing was traumatising actors)… except that I did know deep down, but I thought it sounded a bit up myself so I couldn’t quite bring myself to say it out loud.
A few months later, however, I was stuck at home on my own as my then flatmate was on tour with a children’s show. There was nothing on TV and I was bored.
For some reason, I started idly thinking about the show I would like to watch. Then I started scribbling out the show I would like to watch. Sometime in the wee hours of the following morning, I had a (handwritten) pilot script and an outline of a first season.
It was bloody awful, but I was so taken with the high of making it up that I finally managed to say out loud what I really wanted to do: I wanted to be a screenwriter.
Within months, I was off to Canada to study Writing for Film and Television at the Vancouver Film School.
Returning to London, I froze when invited to pitch on the spot over the phone to Channel 4 so pretended I’d just seen a car crash and hung up. I sobbed to a then script-reader (who would go on to commission shows like Life on Mars and Broadchurch) about a breakup when I was supposed to be pitching scripts to her, and made up a series on the spot to a producer who dismissed all the ideas I had carefully prepared… and he bought it.
I was on the writing team for Making Waves, a digital series developed for Nickelodeon, then was shortlisted for the BBC Writers’ Academy in 2010. Shortly afterwards I moved to Stockholm, where I was commissioned to write a pilot, Sånt är Livet for Swedish Television, wrote web series Darkness for Tre Vänner, and created web pilots RealTales: Södermalm for LittleBig Productions and Love Refugee (which I also directed) for Press2Play.
I was commissioned by Storytel to write an original audio series, The Stranger/Annars Tar Jag Dig, which was read by Joanne Froggatt. It was released in thirty countries including Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain and India in November 2018. It was recently optioned for TV and the second season was commissioned in September 2020.
I’m currently writing the second season of The Stranger/Annars Tar Jag Dig. working on the development of a major US/Swedish period drama in Stockholm and what will be my first feature as director, a feminist gangster drama set in sixties Glasgow.