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Writing Miniseries
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With Simon Moore, writer of the miniseries "The Tenth Kingdom" and "Traffik"


You don't hear many people say, "I want to write miniseries when I grow up." Yet this week's guest, who's written several, has found great satisfaction as well as success in this oft-neglected niche.

Simon Moore is an award-winning writer and director in film, television, and theater. His first produced film was "Superhero," a cinema short about a comic-obsessed teenager, starring Ray Winstone. This was followed by "Inside Out," a six-part comedy drama series for the BBC about two women running an employment agency for ex-cons. 

Other works include:

  • "Up on the Roof," an acapella musical, co-written and directed with Jane Prowse, which followed a group of friends over ten years. The play continues to be performed throughout the world; in 1997 Simon directed a film version, which was produced by Granada Films.

  • "Traffik", a six-hour miniseries for Channel 4 about the world heroin trade. Filmed in Pakistan, Germany and England, it starred Julia Ormond, Bill Paterson and Lindsay Duncan. The series was a critical success throughout the world, winning many awards including the International Emmy for "Best Series," four BAFTA awards, four FIPA awards, the top prizes at the BAMPF and Umbria Fiction Festivals, and the UK Critics Award as "Best Series." In 2000 the series was adapted into a feature film that enjoyed worldwide critical and box office success and won four Oscars.  

  • "Under Suspicion," a private eye movie set in 1950's Brighton, directed by Simon, starring Liam Neeson and Laura San Giacomo.

  • "The Quick and the Dead," a Western for Tri-Star pictures about a female gunslinger, with an exceptional cast including Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, and Leonardo DiCaprio. The picture was directed by Sam Raimi, and opened as the number one film at the US box office.

  • An adaptation of Gulliver's Travels, made by Hallmark Entertainment and Jim Henson Productions for NBC and Channel 4.  Simon won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing and the prestigious U.S. Humanitas award.

  • "The Tenth Kingdom," a 10-hour fantasy series that explored the world of fairy stories from an adult perspective. Aired in April 2000, it was the first 10-hour mini-series on U.S. network television for more than twenty years.  

  • A six-hour adaptation of James Gurney's cult Dinotopia books, which describe a utopian world where humans and dinosaurs co-exist. The miniseries aired on ABC in America, and Sky and Channel 4 in the UK. A 13-part TV series has been made based on the miniseries.

  • A four-hour television adaptation of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, made for Hallmark television, starring Bridget Fonda.

  • "The Star" for Sony Pictures, which tells the Nativity story from the point of view of all the animals involved. The film is slated for an Xmas 2009 release.

Simon is currently writing "The Scarecrow and his Servant," an adaptation of Philip Pullman's acclaimed novel about a scarecrow who comes to life, for Aardman, and "Food," a six-hour international miniseries about all aspects of the food trade, for the BBC.

Join Simon and host Paula B. as they discuss:

  • How he manages to maintain such a varied career
  • What the issues are in writing and producing miniseries
  • How he researched the drug trade for "Traffik"
  • Why he likes to write female lead characters
  • What he does when he pitches ideas
  • How he writes differently for UK and U.S. audiences and why (and how the difference sometimes trips him up).

Interviewee: Simon Moore
Host: Paula B.
Date: February 10, 2008
Running time: 57:04
File size: 27 megabytes
Rating: A bit of profanity