Courtesy of Alexandra Arlango
British production companies such as Left Bank, Carnival Pictures and Eleven Film have already signed up to a slew of new writing projects comprising the annual Brit List. Just 5 out of the 19 scripts this year are still without a production company attached.
The U.K. platform for emerging British screenwriting talent and their unproduced scripts unveiled its 2022 lineup at its first in-person gathering since 2019.
The Brit List was established in 2007 to discover writing talent from the U.K. that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. It has built a reputation for being the country’s leading showcase for emerging British voices. The list is compiled from recommendations by British production companies, talent agencies, sales companies, financiers, distributors and broadcasters. Scripts need a minimum of 6 recommendations for inclusion. This year’s list features 19 scripts in total, with almost half by female writers. This year, more than 40% of writers are diverse or from underrepresented communities — the highest levels ever for diversity within The Brit List.
Brit List founder and director Alexandra Arlango said: “For 2022 I’m delighted to announce that more companies than ever have taken part, and that 22 writers have made it onto the list with 19 scripts. Also, this year, The Brit List features the highest ever number of writers from diverse backgrounds – and those with underrepresented voices – at more than 40%. “The Brit List is committed to supporting writing talent from British writers of all backgrounds, and because of the way it is compiled, acts as a mirror held up to the U.K. industry,” continued Arlango. “I feel so proud of our industry this year, and look forward excitedly to many more years to come.”
Since 2019, The Brit List has run The Brit List Writers’ Program, a series of workshops and events designed to help writers navigate the film and TV industries in the U.K. and globally. Additionally, a program of webinars has seen The Brit List writers meet with top producers, showrunners and buyers from the U.K. and U.S., including Disney, Amazon, BBC, ITV and Netflix.
The Brit List is sponsored by headline partner Kinetic Content Scripted. Audible has joined as a new sponsor, joining the Film Distributors’ Association and ScreenSkills.
This year’s Brit List is:
17 RECOMMENDATIONS “Model Behaviour” by Issy Knowles (Curtis Brown) Producers: Carnival Films Form: TV Genre: Comedy Drama Summary: An ambitious young model puts everything on the line to achieve her dream of making it big, only to discover too late that success isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. After being faced with the best and the worst the industry has to offer she must choose to live a lie in the limelight or turn her back on everything she has ever known.
15 RECOMMENDATIONS “The Hoax” by Sam Spinks & Mattias Mella (Curtis Brown) Producers: Hat Trick Mercurio Form: TV Genre: Drama Summary: A 4-part drama inspired by the true story of the lonely Parisian ambulance driver who faked his own heroic involvement in the 2015 Bataclan attacks, and how the enormous lie unravelled. 13 RECOMMENDATIONS “Loco Parentis” by Matthew Jacobs Morgan (The Agency) Producers: Joi Productions Form: Feature Genre: Dark Comedy Summary: A dark comedy about a queer Black man in his mid 30s who is desperately searching to find his role in life, grappling with what family means, especially when he falls in with a group of privileged white moms and a baby that isn’t his.
“Man Like Me” by Richard Wood (Curtis Brown) Producers: Left Bank Pictures Form: TV Genre: Grounded SciFi Summary: In this grounded sci-fi pilot, a small coastal community experiences a wave of unnatural activity when a mysterious stranger arrives in town.
12 RECOMMENDATIONS “Without You” by Sharmila Chauhan (Dench Arnold) Producers: Available Form: Feature Genre: Drama Summary: In the face of her mother’s death, Shiv unearths the family’s secret of intra-family adoption. Throwing her own ideas of motherhood and sibling love into question, she is forced to face the cycles of her past, and whether she’s given too much to the people she loves.
“Two Become One” by Isaac Tomiczek (The Agency) Producers: Joi Productions Form: Feature Genre: Coming-of-age Comedy-drama Summary: A vibrant and uplifting coming-of-age comedy-drama that captures the spirit of ‘Cool Britannia’, as it follows two sisters’ attempts to attend The Spice Girls’ rumoured final concert. Escaping their strained family life and small town, they set off for London on an adventure-filled quest of scrapes, capers, and conflict set to a soundtrack of 90’s Britpop classics.
11 RECOMMENDATIONS “Night Shifts” by Tom Clapham (Independent Talent Group) Producers: Available Form: TV Genre: Surreal Comedy Drama Summary: Joe and Gemma, two strangers to one another, have their lives upended when a mysterious connection is formed between them every time they fall asleep. Night Shifts is a surreal comedy-drama about a universal accident like no other.
9 RECOMMENDATIONS “If It Was Different It Wouldn’t Be Like This” by Ava Pickett (Curtis Brown) Producers: Available Form: TV Genre: Drama Summary: After an incident at a birthday party, best mates Olive, Sorcha and Pamela get a taste for justice, setting off a dangerous chain of events for the boys of a small Essex town and the girls themselves.
“Stamford Hill” by Evan Placey (The Agency) Producers: Tall Story Pictures Form: TV Genre: Contemporary Crime Thriller Summary: Detective Inspector, Yael Rosen, must return to the Hassidic Jewish community and family she left behind 20 years earlier to investigate the murder of a young man in Stamford Hill.
“Self” by Rose Lewenstein (Lark Management) Producers: Kudos Form: TV Genre: Drama Comedy Summary: On the cusp of 30, Eve reflects on her life and how it hasn’t turned out the way she’d imagined. Running away from memories of a trauma she experienced as a teenager, Eve realises she can see, and interact with, her 15 year-old self.
“Anonymous” by Danny McNamara & Lauren McNamara (Casarotto) Producers: Eleven Film Form: TV Genre: Crime Thriller Summary: William Clarke has no idea how he came to be running for his life in the middle of the night, or why a seemingly normal family would try to bludgeon him to death in the street. He also has no idea why there’s a group of anonymous vigilantes committing increasingly ambitious crimes wearing a mask of his face. “Anonymous” is a gripping crime thriller set in West Yorkshire, where the boundless and mythical moors collide with the urban dystopia of Halifax.
“Love At Second Sight” by Zina Wegrzynski (Casarotto) Producers: Eleven Film Form: TV Genre: Comedy Drama Summary: A teen psychic may be able to see the future – but her anxiety means she can’t always trust what she sees. Now she has to figure out what she wants to do with her life, whilst juggling school and new love interest Teo, the one thing she didn’t see coming.
“Wonderland” by Juno Dawson (Mulcahy Sweeney Associates Ltd) Producers: The Lighthouse Film and Television Form: TV Genre: YA Drama Summary: Based on Juno Dawson’s best-selling YA novels, “Clean,” “Meat Market” and “Wonderland.” A twisted urban fairy tale in which three seemingly unconnected teenage girls are thrown together following the death of a socialite.
“Debris” by Matt Hartley (United Agents) Producers: Clerkenwell Films Form: TV Genre: Thriller Summary: A small Devonshire fishing community’s world is turned upside down when a mysterious boat is found floating out at sea. A character led thriller, shining a light on the world tourists never see in coastal villages and the lengths those who live there will go to to survive.
“Mouse Circus” by Jodie Ashdown (Berlin Associates) Producers: Boom Form: TV Genre: Comedy Drama Summary: Darkly comic mystery drama about a hotel maid in her 60s with a love of taxidermy who yearns for a Hollywood romance. The only thing standing in her way is her boring husband. “Long Lost” by Abi Hynes (Independent Talent Agency) Producers: SunnyMarch Form: TV Genre: Drama Crime Thriller Summary: Radio presenter Anna is contacted by her estranged sister, Sophie, when their mum unexpectedly sells their childhood home with the body of their abusive father, who they killed when they were teenagers, still hidden inside it.
“Paradise” by Liv Little (Lark Management) Producers: Available Form: TV Genre: Thriller Summary: “Paradise” is “Search Party” meets Lena Waithe’s “Twenties”: a propulsive, twisty LGTBQ+ thriller touching on wellness conspiracy theories, the growing pains involved with existing in your twenties, and what it means to feel safe and visible as a queer person in the UK, all with a bit of the absurd fun of Knives Out for good measure.
“Dad Joke” by Joshua Robertson & David Abramsky (The Galton Agency & Unrepresented) Producers: Eleven Film in association with Bluebird Productions Form: TV Genre: Comedy Drama Summary: When Joshua, a disabled stand-up comedian finds out his fiancée Jen is pregnant, he’s finally ready to bare his soul onstage in a desperate bid to ‘make it’ before fatherhood hits. But as he throws everything into his hunt for fame, he risks losing his family.
“The Kate Resignation” by Will Truefitt (Curtis Brown) Producers: Available Form: TV Genre: Comedy Thriller Summary: When a downtrodden personal assistant witnesses the murder of her arsehole film director boss, she’ll have to do whatever it takes to survive. Unfortunately, her biggest obstacle may be the long-term boyfriend she was about to dump, who now insists on going on the run with her.
Variety's Manori Ravindran contributed to this post.