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The Retired Re-fresher: why discovering I'm descended from a French pirate led me to try comedy

The last few weeks have been busy on Planet TV Fiction with a welter of guest speakers and a visit to the set of hit BBC Scotland drama, River City, which has happily broken up the usual routine and heavy work load.

The River City set now finds itself set in a banner waving estate of new build, red brick boxes in Dumbarton. It's a large set and intended to be an imagined corner of Glasgow - although having watched some episodes it looks like it is expanding its base to include a lot more external Glasgow locations.

Who knows they may even have a forthcoming episode set in a Glasgow-gangster hang-out in Benidorm! Cross curricular TV. Imagine Billy Kennedy from River City ending up in ITV's Benidorm. Might help him chill out.

We had a visit from TV fiction writing royalty in the form of Ann McManus and Eileen Gallagher, co-founders of Shed Productions - makers of Waterloo Road and other hit TV dramas - and the opportunity to practice pitching ideas to them.

This was followed by a succession of great writers Sergio Casci, Martin McCardie and Rob Fraser who all in turn thrilled us with a succession of stories surrounding being sacked.

I suggested they referred to it as being let go, but these hardened TV industry professionals are so used it now they view it almost a badge of honour. Apart from the football fraternity, I can't think of any other profession and I've known a few, in which you see people sacked with such alarming regularity.

It never fails to amaze me how the writer seems to remain bottom of the pile but like all things in life, it doesn't seem to be balanced.

There's a lot of things in the air to bother the industry just now; with the independence debate looming large and the destiny of the Scottish TV landscape being an unknown quantity.

Will we have a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation and how would the license fee fit into a post-Referendum Scotland? The future of the license fee is already debatable. Then we have BBC 3 moving online with the slack in the diminished spend being used to pay a deficit incurred through DQF.

On another note, The ex Sheddies (aka the Shed Productions gang) has its 'Bad Girl's the musical in Glasgow and the Sheddies are now off to America to brand the American High School with its very own Waterloo Road magic. If all else fails, and harking back to my past life as a dance teacher, maybe I could persuade them to give me a job choreographing Waterloo High cheerleaders?

In other news, my story suggestion to the Doctors story liner two weeks ago, about Vitiligo caused by the stress of Female Genital Mutilation, went down like a lead balloon. So it was with added interest I read all the headlines stating that for the first time in the UK, a hospital doctor has been charged with just such a crime.

There is a growing wave of support against this crime.

However hit drama, Law and Order, is covering this crime FGM in one of their episodes. I know this because our more recent guests was Jane Dauncey, series producer of Law and Order UK.

If you ever get the chance to watch Jane's independent 60 minute film 'Zig Zag Love,' then do so. It is a beautiful, touching sixty-minute quirky film.

Assignments are weighing heavy as we near the end of our weekly visits to Glasgow for classes. In the final term we will work from home on an original script project. We will create our own six part drama series supported by a mentor.

This week also saw us meeting the agent assigned to the course and we should be extremely lucky if we get signed.

I'm looking forward to this last assignment as I have chosen to do comedy drama. We are not being taught comedy writing, but it feels right to me for me, so I'll give it a go.

Meanwhile I am also researching a book about my father, George Wyllie, and through our genealogy research I'm finding out I am the direct descendent of a French pirateā€¦ now that is a bit of comedy drama!

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