Buzzing in the heart of Great Marlborough Street, The Courthouse seemed the ideal location to host The Bournemouth University Screenwriting Degree Show 2011.

The warm spring evening did not only witness students, lecturers and their guests attending the show but also notable celebrity figures such as Kevin Whatley, the wife of the recently deceased Alan Plater, Shirley Plater, and the comedian Richard Sandling, who was presenting the evening.

The evening kicked off with drinks, giving the guests an opportunity to let their hair down on one of those busy London evenings, and brace themselves for a show that was to display immaculate talent by young graduates of Bournemouth University.

The content of the show varied from short extracts taken from written scripts to clips of short films. Before the performance of each written extract the Mr Sandling would give a brief background and introduction – embedded with witty anecdotes. However, Mr Sandling’s lack of ad-libbing from the card he was reading was a slight disappointment.

Professional actors performed the extracts impressively. Furthermore, the extracts covered a great variety of science genres such as fiction, thriller, comedy and drama.

Clips of short films seemed to take away the limelight from the written extracts, however it was not because the written extracts lacked any element in comparison to short films, but because the direction of these films and trailers proved to be exceptionally brilliant. Their content ranged from the story of Superman at a 9-5 job to animated clips and a fascinating thriller. One of the animations is soon to air on Cartoonito.

Honouring his memory, The Alan Plater Screenwriting Award was presented to top scoring graduates by his wife, Shirley Plater.  It was heart-rendering to witness Kevin Whatley’s tribute to Alan Plater as he went on to reminisce upon his experiences with one of the most articulate writers of British Television.

As the show approached its end, the auditorium echoed with a huge round of applause from the audience. Another round of drinks was called for along with some mouth-watering canapés, during which I got the opportunity to have a short conversation with Kevin Whatley and Shirley Plater. They both expressed a great amount of admiration for the work of these young students.

Kevin Whatley also showed particular interest in the scripts and expressed curiosity to discover how each script would have ended on paper. He took another moment to remember his friend Alan Plater stating that Alan would have loved to go through each script individually to appreciate new talent. He believed such events were a great platform to recognize and encourage young and talented people.

Finally, when I asked him whether he had a particular favourite performance, he chuckled and after giving it a thought, claimed that he had no particular favourite, but he found the extract written on Jimmi Hendrix’s and Chas Chandler’s life encounters highly interesting as he had the opportunity to meet both the stars as a young actor.


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