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James Stanley McGovern (born September 1949, in Liverpool) is an English screenwriter and producer. He created the television series '' Cracker'' (1993–1995), a popular and critical success in the UK, for which he received two
Edgar Award The Edgar Allan Poe Awards, popularly called the Edgars, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America, based in New York City. Named after American writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849), a pioneer in the genre, the awards honor the be ...
s from the
Mystery Writers of America Mystery Writers of America (MWA) is an organization of mystery and crime writers, based in New York City. The organization was founded in 1945 by Clayton Rawson, Anthony Boucher, Lawrence Treat, and Brett Halliday. It presents the Edgar Award, a ...
. He has also received recognition for '' Hillsborough'', '' The Lakes,'' '' The Street'' and '' Accused'', among others.


Early life

McGovern was one of nine children born to working class Liverpool born parents, William McGovern and Jane Warner. He had a stammer until the age of eight. He attended a Jesuit secondary school, St. Francis Xavier's College, Liverpool, St Francis Xavier's College in Liverpool. He taught for a time at Quarry Bank Secondary Comprehensive school, where he organised the end-of-school play.


Television writing career

In 1982, McGovern started his TV career working on Channel 4's soap opera ''Brookside''. He tackled many social issues in the course of the series, especially unemployment – which was at a post-war high at the time. In 1993, he created the drama serial '' Cracker'', about the work of a fictional criminal psychologist played by Robbie Coltrane. Made by Granada Television and screened on ITV Network, ITV, the series was a critical and popular success, lasting until 1995. ''Cracker'' also aired in the United States, on the A&E Network, Arts and Entertainment cable network. McGovern's writing earned him two
Edgar Award The Edgar Allan Poe Awards, popularly called the Edgars, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America, based in New York City. Named after American writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849), a pioneer in the genre, the awards honor the be ...
s from the
Mystery Writers of America Mystery Writers of America (MWA) is an organization of mystery and crime writers, based in New York City. The organization was founded in 1945 by Clayton Rawson, Anthony Boucher, Lawrence Treat, and Brett Halliday. It presents the Edgar Award, a ...
. In 1997 he created '' The Lakes'', a drama that shared ''Brookside's'' realist setting and reused themes from ''Cracker,'' such as gambling addiction. In 2006, he created the BBC One drama, '' The Street''; its third and final season aired in 2009. McGovern also wrote the script for the television docudrama '' Hillsborough'' (1996), based on the events of the Hillsborough disaster, stadium disaster in 1989, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool F.C., Liverpool fans at an FA Cup semi-final. Among the cast of this drama was Christopher Eccleston, who also featured in ''Cracker'', along with former ''Brookside'' actor Ricky Tomlinson. In 2013, Eccleston said it was the most important work he'd ever done. Newspapers cited ''Hillsborough'' as a factor in a new inquiry set up in 1997. His series '' Accused'' aired from 2010 to 2012 on BBC One. It followed a similar format to '' The Street'' but with a crime component. The series' writers included McGovern, Danny Brocklehurst, Alice Nutter and Shaun Duggan. It was produced by Sita Williams. In 2012, McGovern together with local Indigenous Australian writers from Sydney, developed the Australian television drama series ''Redfern Now'', set among the Indigenous Australians of the Sydney suburb of Redfern, New South Wales, Redfern. The six-part series follows a similar format to ''Accused'', telling the stories of six inner-city households in one street whose lives are changed by a seemingly insignificant incident. The series debuted on 1 November 2012, was produced by Blackfella Films and has been commissioned for a second series.


Film writing

McGovern wrote the screenplay for the 1994 drama, ''Priest (1994 film), Priest''.


Theatre

McGovern wrote the book for the musical stage show ''King Cotton (play), King Cotton'', which explores links between the Atlantic slave trade and Industrial Revolution, industrialisation in North West England, as part of the Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008. ''King Cotton'' premiered at the Lowry in September 2007 before moving to the Liverpool Empire Theatre, Liverpool Empire.


Producer

In 2009, McGovern was the executive producer on the BBC One miniseries ''Moving On (TV series), Moving On''.


Views

McGovern has described cinema scriptwriters as being treated like hacks and forced to crank out countless drafts by successive producers. McGovern has openly criticised dramas such as ''Footballers' Wives'' lamenting the lack of quality, believable storytelling in the early 2000s. He believes that television directors are underrated. He says: "I have worked twice with David Blair (director), David Blair" on ''The Lakes'' and ''The Street'', "and I can tell you that he is the best there is. He can make a good project great... Why David hasn’t won the acclaim he deserves is a mystery to me".


Awards and honours

* McGovern received two Edgar Awards for ''Cracker''. * McGovern won an International Emmy for best drama series for ''The Street'' in 2010 and ''The Accused'' in 2011. * Jimmy McGovern was recognised with the Lifetime Achievement award from the Royal Television Society for his body of work.


British Academy Television Awards, BAFTA awards


Filmography


Notes


External links

*
In Conversation with Jimmy McGovern
BAFTA webcast *
TV drama must stop relying on irony and costumes, says Jimmy McGovern
{{DEFAULTSORT:McGovern, Jimmy 1949 births Living people English television writers English people of Irish descent Edgar Award winners People educated at Quarry Bank High School English dramatists and playwrights Showrunners Writers from Liverpool English male dramatists and playwrights Cracker (British TV series) British male television writers BAFTA winners (people) 20th-century British screenwriters 20th-century English male writers 21st-century British screenwriters 21st-century English male writers