Connect with us

ATV Today

The women behind Weatherfield: Creatives behind the scenes

Soapworld

The women behind Weatherfield: Creatives behind the scenes

2 of 6
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

 JAN MCVERRY – WRITER

Tell us a bit about your role, what’s a standard day like for you?

The great thing about the job is there is no standard day, we have 3 days a month where we’re brainstorming ideas at story conference, they’re exhausting days but really good fun. Writing can be a really lonely job but what is great about working on a show like Corrie is you get all the solitude that writers crave but you also get the company of being part of a team. Then you also have other times where the day is your own, you can structure your writing how you want, have that flexibility and that really suited me as a mother. I just love that every day is different. You can be working creatively under your own steam or working collaboratively with other people and that is a really great aspect of the job.

How did you get started in the industry?

I don’t come from a media background but I was always really interested in drama at school. I did my degree in English and Spanish and did a little bit of drama at university. You don’t always need to have a media degree, just a love of drama and storytelling. Then when I left I did some placements in theatre, lots of jobs for nothing so I could build contacts and luckily for me lived in Liverpool where there’s a big culture in writing. I did night school classes in writing, build up a lot of contacts through that, I did voluntary script reading for The Liverpool Playhouse and then my big break came with Brookside.

I went in at the bottom of the ladder as a script continuity assistant. There were hundreds of people who applied for the job and I know I got it because I’d done all that work experience and voluntary work and proved my commitment. After that I came over to Granada and worked with the writing teams on some very low budget afternoon shows with Kay Mellor, David Liddiment, Paul Abbott, Russel T Davies, Sally Wainwright. We were making shows on a shoestring but it was amazing working with all these people who were the absolute bedrock of creativity for Granada at that time. 

How long have you been at Coronation Street and what is it that keeps you here?

I first came over to Coronation Street as a storyliner in 1991 so am the longest serving female on the writing team I believe. I did about 3 years in the story office, then in 1995 I left to find my voice and become a writer by getting experience elsewhere. I worked on Emmerdale, Children’s Ward, Revelations, various shows, then after a few years Brian Park brought me back over to Coronation Street as a writer.

During that time I’ve also done some development work and I took a year out while my husband and I took our two children round the world for a year which was amazing and something I could only have done due to the flexibility here. What keeps me here is my love of the show, it’s absolutely in my DNA, I grew up watching it as a family and talking about it at school the next day. As soon as I knew I wanted to be a writer, writing for Corrie was the thing I wanted to do and it never disappointed. Corrie has been everything I ever hoped it would be and it’s given me a great life. It’s a lovely balance between the variety of the stories you’re working on and the security of working with a great team of people who are absolutely at the top of their game, really committed to what they do and never phone it in.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Coronation Street?

It’s the variety in the job, the stories that we get to tell and working with people who you absolutely trust who have all got each other’s backs.

What does it mean to you as a woman to be working in the industry and seeing so many other women in high profile roles?

It’s really important because unfortunately those big steps that have been taken on Coronation Street and other soaps are not true for the rest of the industry. There’s a big report out at the minute which shows that sadly representation is going down in the industry, in terms of women in senior roles and the gender pay gap. I’m so proud that Corrie bucks that trend.

When I first started on Corrie there was only one female writer and one woman in the story office and I just kept my head down for the first three months. But the culture has changed so much, now we are listened to, we lead debates, we tell domestic stories using our own first hand experience and the womens’ voices are very strong around the table. We also have a female producer and a female assistant producer so it’s unrecognisable compared to what it was when I started out and I’m so proud to be here.

2 of 6
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading
Advertisement
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Hannah Boyle

    June 4, 2024 at 4:25 AM

    Well they’re trying their best. Shame EastEnders is knocking them for six with their storylines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Soapworld

To Top