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U.K. writers pledge support to WGA

Awards seen as chance to show solidarity

See Nominees

LONDON — The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain is taking a stand of solidarity with its striking American counterparts.

The WGGB plans to highlight the importance of writers at its awards ceremony Sunday, the first time the kudos has been held in 10 years.

Organizers don’t want the show to be overshadowed by the breakdown in relations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

“We wouldn’t want it to turn into a rally, but if anything, it’s a good chance to let the world know that writers exist and need nurturing and rewarding,” said deputy general secretary Anne Hogben. “We are in solidarity with the WGA and we’ll be doing anything we can to make sure there aren’t any scab writers in our constituency.”

WGGB general secretary Bernie Corbett is in Montreal at a meeting for English-speaking international affiliates of the writers’ guilds, including East and West Coast branches of the WGA. He will return to Blighty before Sunday’s ceremony, where he will update guild members on strike developments.

A number of high-profile U.K. writers, some of whom are WGA members, will also be at Sunday’s event.

Although there is no strike in the U.K., as the WGA has no jurisdiction in Blighty, the debate over what constitutes a Brit production is proving an uncomfortable gray area.

“That raises the question of when is a U.K. company a U.K. company. The best support you can give is just to hold the line and not work with the studios while this is going on,” said scribe and WGA member Jeremy Brock, who is nominated for the WGGB’s screenplay award for “The Last King of Scotland,” along with co-writer Peter Morgan.

“If we were fortunate enough to win, I would want to voice my support for the WGA, but also you don’t want to bore the audience by being the 10th person to say the same thing. I sincerely hope the studios go back to the table to negotiate, because that’s the only way this is going to be resolved.”

The WGGB kudofest’s 10-year hiatus was caused in part by an increasingly long and unwieldy set of categories. The last show had 25 categories; the revamped version has 10, including awards for feature, original TV drama and vidgame.

Sponsorship from the BBC Writers Room website, BBC talent rights department, as well as ITV and Working Title have enabled the WGGB to re-launch the show. “We’ve been trying to bring it back every year to raise the profile of writers,” Hogben said. “We feel that other awards shows, such as BAFTA, never reward writers and airbrush them out of the picture. We feel that writers are the backbone of any project.”

Nominated writers must be British or have worked in Britain.

And the nominees are…

THE FULL LIST OF NOMINATIONS ARE…

ORIGINAL DRAMA (TV)
Victoria Wood – “Housewife, 49”
Peter Morgan – “Longford”
Neil McKay – “See No Evil: The Moors Murders”

SOAP/SERIES (TV)
Chris Chibnall, Paul Cornell, Russell T. Davies, Stephen Greenhorn, Steven Moffat, Helen Raynor and Gareth Roberts – “Doctor Who,” Series 3
Joe Ainsworth, Lisa Holdsworth, Nigel McCrery, Charles McKeown, Roy Mitchell, J.C. Wilsher and Richard Zajdlic – “New Tricks,” Series 4
Chris Chibnall, Mark Greig, Matthew Graham, Guy Jenkin, Tony Jordan, Ashley Pharoah and Julie Rutterford – “Life on Mars,” Series 2

COMEDY/LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT (TV)
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche – “The Thick of It”
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant – “Extras”
James Corden and Ruth Jones – “Gavin & Stacey”

PLAY (THEATRE)
Gregory Burke – “Black Watch”
Peter Morgan – “Frost/Nixon”
Tom Stoppard – “Rock ‘n’ Roll”

SCREENPLAY (FEATURE FILM)
Tony Grisoni – “Lives of the Saints”
Paul Laverty – “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”
Jeremy Brock and Peter Morgan – “The Last King of Scotland” (based on the book by Giles Foden)
Shane Meadows – “This Is England

RADIO PLAY
Charles Wood – “Conspiracy at Sevres”
Mark Lawson – “Expand This”
Steve Gooch – “McNaughton”

VIDEOGAME SCRIPT
Charles Cecil and Neil Richards – “Broken Sword: Angel of Death”
Dan Houser and David Bland – “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories”
Dan Houser and Jacob Krarup – “Canis Canem Edit”

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