5 Minutes With Jessica Lambert

Jessica Lambert is a young scriptwriter with a passion for gripping, unashamedly entertaining female-led dramas and a deep love of the YA and fantasy genre.

She was a winner of the 2018 BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition for her CBBC teen fantasy pilot and is currently developing a YA murder mystery with BBC Wales. She has previously worked with Clerkenwell, Playground, Wild Mercury and Idris Elba’s Green Door.

What was the last TV show you watched?
Riverdale – it’s a dark, twisted and gloriously heightened teen drama, with a quick wit and a joyful whirl of knowing genre nods.

What did you watch it on?
Netflix

What’s next on your viewing list?
The second season of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel on Amazon – fast-paced Jewish humour and heart-breaking pathos, with gorgeous 1950s clothes and music.

Which screenwriter would you love to meet and why?
Shonda Rhimes – she brings power and depth to big, wildly entertaining shows with complex female leads and she changed the face of television with her ethnically diverse casting choices.

You are stranded on a desert island. What three books would you want with you?
Neil Gaiman’s Sandman; Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. 

When did you first realise you wanted to work in TV/film?
When I started writing my first TV pilot, DIARY GIRLS, based on the bizarre job I was doing at the time – going out every night to report on London’s celebrity-driven party scene for The Evening Standard.

What is the silliest thing you have on your desk?
A picture of a young Nora Ephron in a golden pineapple frame.

Tell us about a passion you have outside the business.
I collect modern children’s picture books – I’m crazy about illustration.

What was the first film that made you cry?
Alfonso Cuarón’s 1995 film of A Little Princess – the final scene when her amnesiac father doesn’t recognise her and she’s desperately crying out his name.

If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Have the confidence to start writing younger – I didn’t write a line of dialogue until I was 25. And remember that everything you want to know about screenwriting, you can learn from studying the scripts of all your favourite films and TV shows. You can find all of them online.

Jessica Lambert recently travelled to MIPJunior in Cannes under The London Book Fair delegation. LBF is a sponsor of the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition.

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