Jimmy McGovern: I have been writing alone for too long

“I have been at it for over 30-odd years now," says the Cracker creator. "I much prefer working with other people other than working alone”


TV writer Jimmy McGovern says he has been working alone for too long and now much prefers collaborating.


The Liverpudlian creator of classics such as the polemical one-off Hillsborough, about the 1989 football disaster, and the well-loved crime series Cracker says these days he would rather work with fellow scriptwriters.

“I think I have been [writing alone] for too long, tell the truth,” said McGovern who oversees a team of up and coming writers as storyline editor on the BBC1 daytime series Moving On.

He told RadioTimes.com: “I have been at it for over 30-odd years now. I can do it, and I will do it, but of the two I much prefer working with other people than working alone.” 

However, McGovern adds that he is intensely pleased with his new BBC2 drama Banished, about the first British convicts to settle in Australia, which he wrote without a collaborator.

Set in 1787, it stars Russell Tovey (Being Human), MyAnna Buring (Ripper Street), Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour) and Rory McCann (Game Of Thrones).

RadioTimes.com understands that a March or April broadcast date is being mooted for Banished, although McGovern would have preferred a February time slot. “I want it to be shown when it is as cold as possible,” he said, “you can really feel the heat of it then.”

As RadioTimes.com revealed last October, McGovern is also writing a BBC film about Reg Keys, the former ambulance driver who lost his son in the second Iraq War and stood against then Prime Minister Tony Blair in his Sedgefield constituency in the 2005 election.

The film has the working title Reg  which represents both the first name of the main character as well as the shortened Latin word for Queen, Regina.


McGovern has got to know Keys as a “wonderful” and “fascinating” man who continues to fight “against the odds” for justice for his son Lance Corporal Tom Keys, one of six British Red Caps killed when a mob descended on a police station in Majar al-Kabir in June 2003.