WACL Speaker Dinner, Tuesday 4th April 2006
Lynda La Plante was born in Liverpool, and trained for the stage at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Work with the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company led to a career as a television actress with regular roles in dramas such as Fox, Minder and The Sweeney. La Plante began writing at a young age, but it was while she was filming The Gentle Touch that she wrote four plot outlines and sent them to the show’s producers. They were all returned as unsuitable, but on one of her ideas someone had written ‘this is wonderful!’ That was all the encouragement La Plante needed, and that brief synopsis eventually became the phenomenally successful TV series Widows, nominated for a BAFTA award in 1982.
Her nine subsequent books The Legacy, Bella Mafia, Entwined, Cold Shoulder, Cold Blood, Cold Heart, Sleeping Cruelty, Royal Flush and Above Suspicion have all been international best-sellers. La Plante is currently working on her new novel; Red Dahlia, which is due to be published by Simon & Schuster in late 2006.
La Plante’s original scripts for the much acclaimed Prime Suspect series, starring Helen Mirren, garnered many prizes including six British Academy Awards (BAFTA), the British Broadcasting Award, the Royal Television Society Writer’s Award, the Edgar Allen Poe Writer’s Award and an EMMY for “Best Mini Series”. Numerous other screen credits include Civvies, Comics, Seconds Out, Framed and She’s Out. Lynda’s own production company, La Plante Productions, was established in 1994 to maintain creative control over her work. Productions to date include two series of The Governor (1 x 2 hour film, followed by 11 x 1 hour episodes), a two hour television film and subsequent series of Supply and Demand (4 x 2 hours) all commissioned and broadcast by the ITV Network. La Plante Productions also produced Killer Net, a four hour cyberspace thriller, which was broadcast on Channel 4 Television in 1998. Mind Games, a two hour pilot drama was broadcast across the ITV Network in January 2001.
With eight series of Trial and Retribution (7 x 4 hours and 1 x 3 hour), November 2005 saw the airing of Trial & Retribution IX: The Lover on ITV1. Achieving impressive ratings, it is followed by the latest edition from the Trial & Retribution series; Trial & retribution X: Sins of the Father, in autumn 2006. January 2006 saw La Plante secure a commission to produce a further four 2 x 90min editions of Trial for ITV1. Trial & Retribution XI-XIV will be produced this year.
A brand new drama; The Commander, starring Amanda Burton in the title role, was transmitted on ITV1 in February 2003 and, following its success ITV commissioned a series (2 x 3 hours), which was broadcast in February 2005. Having just completed post production on the third instalment, The Commander III: Blacklight comes to our screens in March 2006. This is starring David Hayman a Victoria Smurfit.
La Plante won the 1997 Liverpool Echo Arts Award for best television writer for Trial and Retribution and the series was also nominated for an Indie and a Royal Television Society Award.
In America, La Plante co-wrote and produced The Prosecutors with Tom Fontana (Oz) for NBC. In 1998 The Konigsberg Company produced Bella Mafia, a four-hour mini series for CBS which Lynda adapted from her novel of the same name. La Plante has also co-produced with ABC her adaptation of Widows, produced Cold Shoulder as a pilot for New Regency/CBS and The Warden, a two hour pilot for TNT, which is a changed format of her highly successful series The Governor. La Plante executive produced Daniel Petrie Jnr’s adaptation of her show Framed, which aired on TNT and starred Sam Neill and Rob Lowe.
In addition to La Plante Productions, Lynda set up a new film company, Cougar Films, with producer Sophie Balhetchet. Cougar has recently completed production on its first feature; Imagine Me & You, which has been receiving rave reviews in the US and Australia. It will be released domestically in the UK by Universal in March 2006. Cougar also has a large slate of other projects in development. La Plante awarded a creative writing scholarship to John Moores University, in her hometown of Liverpool and is an honorary member of the British Film Institute. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has also awarded Lynda with the Dennis Potter Writers Award.