“One of the most influential dramatic voices, chronicling modern Britain often through the prism of working-class women”
Band Of Gold, Fat Friends, The Syndicate, In the Club – Kay Mellor is a master of mainstream drama whose career has spanned four decades.
In an industry dominated by a London elite, and in an era dominated by crime drama and high-concept shows, she has been one of the most influential dramatic voices, chronicling modern Britain often through the prism of working-class women.
Part of that can be attributed to her background. Mellor was born in Leeds, and began her career by forming the Yorkshire Theatre Company with two friends from Bretton Hall College in the city.
She developed her voice on soaps such as Coronation Street and Brookside before her breakout TV success in 1995 with Band Of Gold, the award-winning ITV drama that ran for three series.
Shows such as Playing The Field and an adaptation of Jane Eyre followed, before Mellor launched her own indie – Rollem Productions – in 2000, in part to secure a greater degree of control over her projects. The decision paid off in spades.
Rollem produced Fat Friends – a huge hit that ran for four series and first introduced Ruth Jones to James Corden – inadvertently laying the foundations for Gavin & Stacey.
The indie has gone on to deliver In The Club, Love, Lies And Records, Girlfriends and The Syndicate. The latter averaged more than 6 million viewers over three series and 17 episodes, and the BBC has decided to bring it back after a five-year hiatus.
Mellor has also demonstrated a long-standing commitment to breaking new writing talent, launching The Kay Mellor Fellowship in partnership with the Leeds Playhouse and pushing Rollem into new territory for BBC3 via adaptations of Eva O’Connor’s stage play Overshadowed and Michael Patrick and Oisín Kearney’s testicular cancer comedy My Left Nut.
From prostitution and dieting to pregnancy and lottery wins, Mellor’s relatable, regional work stands out – she is a real-world storyteller to rival any other and her impact on British television has been profound.
Award sponsored by CTV