Memorandum from TAPS




Training and Performance Showcase Ltd (TAPS) was formed some 17 years ago as a company limited by guarantee and also as a Charity to find, train, mentor and promote the talents of new writers for Film and TV from across the UK.


In these 17 years TAPS and its more recently formed Welsh subsidiary TAPS Cymru have trained over 900 writers new to the Film and TV industry and some 85% of these have gone on to become successful and gain commissions from the Broadcasters. 15 of the writers have had scripts made as feature films.


TAPS has an Executive Board of Trustee Directors and also an Artistic Advisory Board, both of which are made up from working professionals in the industry.




Lord Richard Attenborough CBE

Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE

Lucy Gannon MBE

Paul Abbott

Maurice Gran

Lynda La Plante

Laurence Marks

Kay Mellor

Alan Plater


Artistic and Advisory Board


Mike Dormer Chairman, Independent Producer

Ruth Caleb OBE Vice Chairman, Executive Producer Films/Drama - BBC


Hilary Bevan Jones Independent Producer - Tightrope Pictures

Marc Boothe Independent Producer - B3 Media

GF Newman Writer/Producer

Victoria Fea Commissioning Executive - ITV

Gina Fegan Chief Executive - South East Media Network

Gareth Gwenlan Head of Comedy - BBC Wales

Sharon Hughff Drama Executive Producer - Shed

Jill James Executive Director - TAPS

Johann Knobel Producer - Company Pictures

Nicola Larder Drama Producer - Tiger Aspect

Liza Marshall Commissioning Editor Drama - Channel 4

Paul Mendleson Writer

Clova McCallum Head of Development - Carnival Films

Ben McGrath Development Assistant - ITV

Hayley McKenzie Script Editor -ITV Drama, Manchester

Hilary Norrish Independent Development Producer

Elaine Pyke Commissioning Editor Drama - SKY

Sam Snape Writer/Director

Abigail Webber Independent Producer

Marcus DF White Director

Johnathan Young Head of Drama - Talkback Thames

Richard Zajdlic Writer



Keith Richardson Chairman

Richard Price MBE Vice Chairman

Jill James Company Secretary


Susanna Capon

Ewart Needham

Hilary Salmon

Sam Snape

Nigel Whitehouse






Why are the Nations and Regions of the UK so important for the supply of programmes that reflect the different flavours of life in those areas and why is it so important to have plurality of content delivery.


The UK has several tiers of government such as the Westminster Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly Government and Northern Ireland Assembly.


The UK also has Metropolitan Counties, Boroughs, County Councils, Districts, Local and Community Councils.


There are structures in places so that representation of people can be enacted and also so that the "voice" of a particular area is represented and heard. There is therefore an important need for these voices to be given opportunity through media choices in each and every region of the UK.


Local news is important to every area, but more particularly in the Nations. Wales has a particular problem in that it has to cater for the Welsh language. With the likely demise or at least the slimming down to almost extinction of ITV news in Wales, the country is left with only one National Broadcaster in English -the BBC.


There is an appetite in Wales for a second English language channel to supply not only news but those vital local current affairs programmes and documentaries that underpin the fabric of the community. A point made in the report from OFCOM by its Chief Executive.


In its prime, ITV and the "big five" companies - Thames, LWT, Granada, Yorkshire and Central, provided the bulk of network programmes such as Drama, Comedy, Documentary, Arts etc.


A second tier of Meridian, HTV, Tyne Tees, Scottish and Ulster provided some network input but basically transmitted programmes that were aimed at a more local audience.


The third sector of the ITV structure, West Country, Border, Grampian and Channel were focussed on delivering programmes to their particular area and outside to network delivered programmes - these were generally news and current affairs.


Since this structure has now been dismantled by the centralised ITV company, the Regions and Nations are left with little that reflects their own areas and regional drama and comedy has all but disappeared from the ITV schedules.


For these reasons it is the view of our organisation that it is vitally important for there to be plurality of content delivery.




All media requires written work in one way or another to produce its output, therefore the development of local writers is very important to the development of truly local media.


For the past 17 years TAPS has been delivering training courses across the UK to search out, train, mentor and promote talented new writers for film and television.


Our courses have discovered some amazing new talent, so much so that TAPS has been called the "X Factor" of Writing.


What we know therefore is that there is no shortage of talent but sadly a lack of opportunity for that talent in their Regions and Nations.


New opportunities through the developments in digital media are therefore very encouraging and should be used to develop new networks for the dissemination of regional and national news, current affairs, documentaries, regional dramas and comedy.


Partnerships should be formed outside the existing established broadcasters using independent producers and the major facility companies as the lead partners joining together with print and electronic local media to form consortia of sufficient strength to deliver channels of alternative content.


Financial incentives should be made available to those organisations perhaps funding from Regional Development Agencies in return for employment targets and use of locally generated content output.


The ill fated City TV initiatives that commenced some years ago were blighted by the shortage of spectrum, the limited life of broadcasting licences on offer and the reluctance to allow more cross media ownership.


This must not be allowed to happen again. One area that the City TV models did deliver was a major reduction in the cost of production, which was commendable since they were not operating in the digital domain where more significant cost savings can be anticipated.


TAPS could play a significant part in the provision of the talent needed to generate national and regional content. There does however need to be finance made available to this vital element in the rebuilding of the content base, TAPS would be prepared to assist any consortium set up to deliver content to these new media services.


May 2009