Can television drama still explore the state of the nation.
Is there a place for politics in television drama. And just how truthful is docudrama.
The second programme in this two-part South Bank Show Special takes an in-depth look at whether television drama can still break new boundaries in a medium dominated by reality TV and lifestyle shows.
Real life, everyday stories, or topical issues have long been the inspiration for gritty television dramas, and the demand for this type of programming has never been greater.
The challenge for the writers behind them is to turn these events in to compelling television.
In this film, Melvyn Bragg talks to some of this countryís most critically acclaimed and prolific writers including Paul Abbott, Tony Marchant and Russell T Davies (who gave us Clocking Off, Never Never and Queer As Folk respectively) who reveal the secrets and craft behind their work.
This South Bank Show has exclusive footage from several up-and-coming dramas for 2004 including Tony Marchantís Passer By and Sex Traffic, a major Channel 4 drama by exciting TV writer Abi Morgan.
Also featured are contributions from actors including Christopher Eccleston, James Nesbitt and David Morrissey.
Additional contributors include Stephen Poliakoff (writer of The Lost Prince), Paul Greengrass (writer and director of Bloody Sunday and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence), filmmaker Roger Graef, Jane Tranter, Controller of Drama Commissioning for the BBC, Nick Elliott, Controller of Drama at ITV and John Yorke, Head of Drama at Channel 4.
Produced and Directed by Archie Powell
Edited and Presented by Melvyn Bragg
To be shown on Sunday February 8th, 22:45