Mark’s Blog

What The Colcloughs means to me – Mark Bickerton

Twenty-two years ago I was fresh from University clutching my MA in Playwriting, eagerly seeking my first break as a freelance writer. After a reasonably successful week-long run of my first stage play at the Edinburgh Fringe, there followed a series of rejections. But I was desperate to succeed and believed my dogged determination would win through in the end. Ironically, my first big break arrived via a stroke of luck. I was registering my daughter with a modelling agency, where I heard about a radio project in Stoke on Trent. I contacted the producer and within a week I was introduced to Mike Hopwood Productions, and a member of a very special family called THE COLCLOUGHS.

As an avid fan of CORONATION STREET, I was delighted to be commissioned to write a radio soap whose tone was not far removed from that of a show I’d watched and admired on TV since the 1960s, ie a blend of drama, intrigue and more than a smattering of warmth and wit. After some ropey few eps, and under the guidance of Mike Hopwood and senior COLCLOUGHS writer Tony Perrin, I cut my teeth, honed my skills and finished up writing 30 episodes of the 90 or so that were broadcast.

But all good things come to an end, as they say, and when THE COLCLOUGHS finished it was back to peddling my scripts. Yet now I’d served my apprenticeship I found it easier to generate more work. Since then, I’ve travelled the world as a consultant, training writers in the art of soap opera, written numerous episodes of FAMILY AFFAIRS, HOLLYOAKS and others, and storylined over 2000 episodes of CORONATION STREET!

Thanks to THE COLCLOUGHS, I’ve enjoyed a long, varied and successful career and if other hungry young writers could be afforded the same big break as this hungry writer was, that could only be a good thing.

Mark Bickerton
Senior Story Associate, CORONATION STREET
March 2012