How to Write a Drama Series


TV long form drama, or box set drama, is the dominant form across a wide range of popular genres from police procedurals to workplace or domestic comedies. Many people feel that this form of storytelling has raised the quality of television drama.

Box sets hook us in, they can take over lives (!), and they can build worlds we come to know intimately. But just how do the writers achieve this level of consistent storytelling and audience engagement?

This short course will explore the techniques that are used to shape compelling and convincing small-screen, long-form drama. It will help you develop creative ideas if you are a writer wanting to contribute to this ever-growing form of TV drama. It will also enhance your understanding and enjoyment of viewing box sets.

We will analyse how stories are coherently told over multiple episodes, and how different plot levels shape mini story arcs. We will use examples from box sets in different genres to understand how characters grow with the story and engage us as viewers.  We will see how writers create the world of the drama. Finally, we will look at the opportunities for creating new styles and subjects for long form small screen drama in an ever expanding market for quality original television drama.

No writing experience is necessary but a willingness to creative share ideas with fellow students is essential. Being able to mention at least one box set that has impressed you would be a distinct advantage.

Programme details

9.45am  Registration

10.00am  Structuring box set drama: three levels of plot 

11.15am  Coffee/tea

11.45am  Creating a cast of characters to populate each plot level

1.00pm  Lunch

2.00pm ‘Precinct drama’ : creating the world for the drama                

3.15pm  Coffee/tea

3.45pm  Creating innovation in box set drama?                   

5.00pm  Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition only £80.00
Baguette Lunch £5.50


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Mr Shaun McCarthy


Shaun McCarthy has had over a dozen stage plays professionally produced and a range of radio dramas broadcast. His adaptations include J M Synge’s The Aran Islands (BBC R4 Classic Serial), a stage version of A Christmas Carol that was a critique of David Cameron’s ‘big society’ and had a happy, unexpected ending; and a re-set of Strindberg’s Miss Julie to Oxford 1963. Shaun teaches a range of creative writing courses for OUDCE, runs Hooligan Theatre Productions to develop his new plays, and co-runs the writing events and residential writers’ retreats company ‘Stage and Page’ in the UK and Italy.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.