Writers on shows from Succession, Doctor Who, Black Mirror and The Full Monty gathered in London this week in a show of solidarity for the striking members of the Writers Guild of America.
The Writers Guild of Great Britain organised the event in Leicester Square on Wednesday, part of a coordinated global effort to support the strikes in 20 countries. Other gatherings took place outside locations such as the European Parliament in Brussels, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Central Library in Tel Aviv.
WGGB members were joined by their peers from Bectu, acting union Equity, the Musicians’ Union and the National Union of Journalists.
Jesse Armstrong, the British showrunner of HBO’s Succession, told a Variety interviewer that having experienced writers’ rooms on both sides of the Atlantic, the strikes also highlight the existing problems facing writers in the UK.
“The conditions the British writers work under are the conditions that American writers are now seeking to avoid: lack of security, lots of free work, lack of clarity, lack of being seen as a necessity on set,” he said.
“All the kind of things which are a natural part of the America writer’s work are not necessarily seen that way in the UK – and it should be working the other way: that the UK should be becoming more like the US [for] writers, rather than the other way round.”
Armstrong was joined at the event by fellow Succession writers Tony Roche, Francesca Gardiner and Jamie Carragher.
Speaking to Deadline, returning Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies said: “I know that what happens in America happens here. These problems will be coming this way… Some of them are starving and are having to take second jobs to just work on shows. It’s wrong, it’s a fight, and I’m behind it.”
WGGB president Sandi Toksvig kicked off proceedings, telling those present: “We need to make sure those who profit from the creative brilliance of writers, share those profits with writers, so they can be paid properly, enjoy fair working conditions and are treated with dignity and respect.”
Other writers in attendance included the team behind Disney+’s continuation of The Full Monty - Alice Nutter and Simon Beaufoy; Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker; Best Interests writer Jack Thorne; The Beast Must Die screenwriter Gabby Chiappe; writer and actor Susan Wakoma; Bridgerton and Doctor Who writer Sarah Dollard; and Tom Wentworth, part of the writing team on Ralph and Katie.
The WGA, which has 11,500 members, has been on strike since 2 May, with working hours, the rise of AI and tight schedules among their many concerns.
Photo credit: Em Fitzgerald