Lisa Holdsworth - Screenwriter

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WHY SHOULD YOU LISTEN TO HER…? Because she’s a British writer who has consistently worked on an impressive selection of successful, long running series.  Here is someone who can teach you not only how to get your foot in the door but how to keep it there once you’re in.


Lisa Holdsworth is originally from Leeds and has worked in television in the city since she graduated.  Lisa’s first commission was an episode of FAT FRIENDS which she devised herself and was shortlisted for a Best New Writer BAFTA.

Since then, she has written an original play for Radio 4 and spent three years on the EMMERDALE writing team. She left to write for the third series of the BBC’s police drama NEW TRICKS.

She has contributed to the show ever since and is about to start work on an episode for series eight.  She has also written on four series of WATERLOO ROAD including a feature length series opener.

She wrote two of the final series of ROBIN HOOD; including the much-discussed ORIGINS episode. She currently has projects in development with several production companies and the BBC.

Q:  What was your favourite film as a kid?

A:  PRETTY IN PINK – I was a sucker for a fairytale makeover.  Twenty-five years later and I still love John Hughes movies.

Q: Who inspired you when you were starting out?

A:  Kay Mellor. She came from the same city as me and wrote about warm, female Northern characters.  She was taken seriously as a writer.

Q: What was your big break?

A:  Kay read one of my scripts and liked it. She offered me a job as her PA. Whilst I was booking trains and typing letters, she decided to do a second series of FAT FRIENDS. We had a story meeting and she encouraged me to participate. I went home that weekend and wrote a story pitch for an episode and Kay commissioned it.

Q: What was the best day in your career?

A:  The day John Yorke commissioned my pilot on the strength of a five minute verbal pitch.

Q: What has been your most important lesson?

A:  Write your first draft just for you, always remembering that you will be the only person that will ever see it in its raw state.

Q: If a niece or nephew wanted to be in the business, what would you advise them?

A: Don’t do it for the money, do it for love.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job and how do you overcome it?

A:  The constant rejection.  You just have to absorb it and constantly think, “Screw ‘em. It’s their loss”.

Q: What do you feel is a writer’s or filmmaker’s key responsibility?

A:  A writer’s responsibility is to create a document (the script) that gives a director and the actors absolutely everything they need to get your idea/vision on screen.

Q: What mistakes do you see writers or filmmakers making over and over?

A:  Over-writing – getting bogged down in details/incident that don’t serve the story or the characters. Cut, cut and then cut again.

Q: What advice would you offer a writer or filmmaker?

A:  Write what you are passionate about or get passionate about what you are writing.