So a small confession: When a friend of mine, Obioma Ugoala, wrote a post about casting in the industry rather than reply to him publicly with a question I had - about where the line is between colour conscious writing and colour blind casting (specifically in terms of genre) - I did so via DM. I did it because (a) I was wary of upsetting people who might read between the lines which parts I was writing about and (b) because I was scared of saying the wrong thing.
Who knows what Twitter and social media is meant to be - but maybe it is Habermas's public sphere, maybe it finally has that promise. Certainly I've learnt so much from it in the last few weeks. The revolution has been televised by people's phones. As a maker of television, and particularly a white maker of television, I know that my responsibility is to listen right now, and to read and to try and understand. I also think it's probably to contribute, to tell stories about my failures and to question my future. When it comes to disability because of my past and because of my engagement in that world, I feel confident in doing so, in this debate I feel scared. And that's the point isn't it? I'm someone who has been granted enormous power by the opportunities I've been given in the medium that sits in so many homes. I cannot be frightened to engage in anything because I have engaged, I've done it countless times in the dramas I've written. When engaging in black stories, as I have, I've always tried to do it with black talent, writers and actors, and I've been provoked, I think in a positive way, but I don't think if I've ever asked the questions I should have, I don't think I've ever truly laid myself bare. I think it's easy to see yourself as an ally in today's world, harder to question what that should mean, harder to question when you need to seek scrutiny, harder in particular to know sometimes when you should fight and when you should get out of the way. Lucian Msamati, an actor I admire so much, and an actor who I've been fortunate to work with a couple of times, talks of the need for safe spaces, where breathing can occur. I think this an incredible initiative for exactly that reason and I will try and be brave enough to engage in it fully.
Jack Thorne is one of the world's top screenwriters and playwrights. He adapted Phllip Pullman's His Dark Materials for BBC and Netflix is currently streaming his Parisian jazz drama The Eddy. He wrote the theatre hit Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and his TV credits include Skins and This is England.