‘Emma is passionately engaged in the world and really wants to write about stuff that matters’

  • 36
  • Writer
  • Consent (C4)

As a specialist in fact-based drama, Aysha Rafaele is used to marrying up writers with provocative subject matter. When she read Emma Dennis-Edwards’ play Funeral Flowers, which explores life as a teenager in care, and with a mother in prison, she knew she had the right person for the Channel 4 single Consent.

Word was already spreading of Dennis-Edwards’ talent. Indies were circling her to obtain the rights to the play, and she was also signed up for the BBC Studios writers’ scheme.

“It was easy to see why,” Rafaele says. “Funeral Flowers was a confident, original work of a writer with a distinct voice – someone with lots to say, and an ease with words that is gorgeous to read.”

Based on young people’s real-life testimonies, the Broadcast Award-nominated Consent required its writer to step out of her comfort zone. Dennis-Edwards impressed Rafaele by bringing her own knowledge and experiences to bear, conducting interviews to give the drama further depth.

“Looking for writers, it became really clear that there are just not enough from working-class black and Asian backgrounds,” Rafaele adds. “Finding an original writer with the confidence and the skill to write dialogue and story in the way Emma can is a rare thing.”

Following the traditional TV bootcamp of EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City, Dennis-Edwards has joined the writers’ rooms on BBC dramas Champion and Boarders. She also has projects in development with The Forge, Firebird and Studio Lambert.

“Emma is passionately engaged in the world and really wants to write about stuff that matters,” Rafaele concludes.

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