Neil McKay appeared at a previous festival. View this year's speakers here.

Neil McKay


Neil McKay headshot

Neil McKay has written extensively for radio, television and film.

His work for radio includes biographical plays about the musicians Roy Orbison and Sam Cooke, the comedy drama series Moving, and the Sony Award-nominated plays Reels to Forget, Airs for Regret and Fall Out. More recently his play Alone Together about the poet RS Thomas was broadcast on Radio 3 and his drama R.I.P. Boy was  broadcast on Radio 4 in May 2010 and won a Sony award.

His television work includes episodes of many drama series, including The Bill, Heartbeat, Casulty, Medics, Holby City, London’s Burning, Maisie Raine and The Ambassador.

He co-created and wrote two series of LWT’s drama series about nurses Staying Alive. Also for LWT/ ITV he adapted Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

More recently he has specialised in writing factual dramas.  For Granada he wrote This is Personal – The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper which won the Broadcast award for best single drama as well as receiving BAFTA and RTS nominations, and the highly-acclaimed Wall of Silence, starring James Nesbitt which was broadcast in January 2004. Also for Granada he co-wrote the comedy Hot Money starring Caroline Quentin which was re-made as the feature film Mad Money in 2008 and starred Ted Danson and Diane Keaton.

For Channel Four/ United he wrote Innocents (the story of the Bristol Babies heart scandal) directed by Peter Kosminsky. For Hat Trick/BBC he wrote In Denial of Murder, a two-part drama starring Stephen Tomkinson for BBC1 about the Stephen Downing case, which was transmitted in March 2004. Also for the BBC he wrote the acclaimed and BAFTA-winning drama-documentary Dunkirk which starred Benedict Cumberbatch, was broadcast in February 2004. In 2005 for ITV he wrote Titanic: Birth of a Legend and the  drama Planespotting (Granada/ ITV) a comedy-drama about the British plane-spotters convicted of espionage in Greece.

In 2006 for ITV he wrote See No Evil: The Moors Murders, which amongst many other awards, won BAFTA for best drama series, and for which he received the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain award for best single drama.

His drama about Mo Mowlam Mo, starring Julie Walters, was broadcast in January 2010 to widespread acclaim – and was Channel 4’s highest rating drama for almost ten years. It won many awards both in the UK and oversees including a BAFTA for Julie Walters.

In 2011 his adaption of Kate Summerscale’s best-selling book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder at Road Hill House was broadcast starring Paddy Considine. He wrote  a fictional sequel The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder on Angel Lane which was broadcast on ITV in 2013

His highly praised two-part drama Appropriate Adult starring Dominic West and Emily Watson about the Cromwell Street murders was broadcast in September 2011 and has won many awards including best actor and actress at both RTS and BAFTA, and for which he received the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain award for best single drama.

In 2011 Neil was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Derby in recognition of his work as a radio and television playwright.

In 2017 his drama The Moorside, about the abduction of Shannon Matthews in Dewsbury in 2008, starring Sheridan Smith, was broadcast on BBC to widespread critical acclaim.

He was formerly visiting professor in Screenwriting at the University of Lincoln.

More information