What a startling background for an unknown TV script writer!

While Colman, fresh from her starring role in the BBC’s big hit The Night Manager, might have been a bit skittish about her role, Channel 4 has taken on more of a risk by staking its 10pm slot on the relatively unknown writer of Flowers, 29-year-old Will Sharpe, an English-Japanese actor, writer and director.

Eager to underscore its reputation for distinctive, risky programming, and miffed by the loss to Netflix of its hit Charlie Brooker series Black Mirror, Channel 4 decided Sharpe was not only a gamble worth taking but that he deserved special treatment. So each episodes will be broadcast at the same time every day over a week, beginning with a double bill on Monday.

Sharpe was born in London but until the age of eight he lived in Tokyo. He was educated at Winchester College, then went to Cambridge, where he read classics and joined the university’s dramatic club, Footlights, subsequently spending a year with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Winchester, Cambridge, Footlights, RSC.

Just come out of nowhere he has, honest.

14 comments on “What a startling background for an unknown TV script writer!

  1. It’s a nice PR story, but writers aren’t much of a risk except with stuff with a rapid turnaround like Saturday Night Live. You’ve got producers reading it and if you’re shit, you get fired. And he wouldn’t have been hired without a) showing some ability, like that short film he made years ago and b) submitting treatments etc.

    And really, we want the posh boys doing the arts. We think of people like Benedict Cumberbatch or Eddie Redmaynes as successful, but for each of them, there’s 10 posh boys that burnt through their trust funds before getting a real job. Screen writers do about as well as any other writers.

  2. You forgot to mention the BAFTA nomination for a short film he made.

    Also, he wasn’t just in Footlights, he was President. (Not that guarantees you anything — I know someone who was a Footlights president, and while he gets a lot of acting he’s struggled for years to get his scripts on screen).

  3. Perhaps what they mean is that it isn’t yet clear that his views and general outlook conform in all respects with goodthinker standards.

    It’s a pretty fair bet that they do, but there’s always a risk of him having an independent mind.

    Myself I reckon they’re on pretty safe ground.

  4. And he’s an ethnic minority! Tick box! Even betterer, he’s a hafu! Double tick box! He just needs to get a boyfriend and break a leg, then he’ll have the media luvvies drooling into buckets.

  5. One would like to think that he is not a complete arse but sadly experience militates against it.

  6. Winchester & Cambridge isn’t such a hot combination apparently, at least not according to the HR department at Winchester College. I have just received a letter of rejection after applying for a fairly minor post working for a pittance in their archives. Apparently there were better candidates on paper for a 6 month job paying £8 an hour than this particular Winchester scholar and Cambridge exhibitioner/ graduate.

  7. Alex – “I have just received a letter of rejection after applying for a fairly minor post working for a pittance in their archives. Apparently there were better candidates on paper for a 6 month job paying £8 an hour than this particular Winchester scholar and Cambridge exhibitioner/ graduate.”

    In fairness, these sorts of jobs mainly appeal to the sort of people who want to hang out with public school boys. You know, paedophiles.

    That is why they pay so badly.

    Apparently it is one of the unspoken benefits of a public school education.

    So be more, how does one put it?, flamboyant next time.

  8. @SMFS: Not much hanging out with boys in that job, but some pretty heavy duty mediaeval manuscripts … if gilt illuminations and leather bindings is your bag.

  9. Alex, perhaps they didn’t want an old boy who’d been to Cambridge back doing a menial job. Doesn’t look good to all the students if they’re giving them the impression they have a glittering career in front of them (especially if they go to Oxbridge), and there right in front of them is one such student just back from Cambridge, doing a rotten job for a pittance (and possibly saying cynical things to the students).

    If I was a teacher there I certainly wouldn’t want an old boy around doing that job. I’d hire a brain-dead gibbon for that job rather than you.

  10. @Cal: One of my contemporaries at the school took a junior teaching position thereafter retiring as head of Chemistry at Charterhouse. It’s not the pay, but whether you enjoy/like working in mediaeval buildings (we are both semi-retired). This is more like pro-bono work. It should be abundantly cler to them that I am not applying in order to waste their or my time, but that I would actually be interested in the job (cataloguing the archives which go back to the 1300s) A brain dead gibbon probably wouldn’t enjoy it at all.

  11. I’d got the impression you were fresh out of Cambridge. An older semi-retired guy would be just the ticket (assuming no brain-dead gibbons who are Masons also apply).

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