Tom’s a class act for Frenchwood pupils

Author and screenwriter Tom Bidwell passes on tips to pupils at Frenchwood Community Primary School to help improve their story writing.
Author and screenwriter Tom Bidwell passes on tips to pupils at Frenchwood Community Primary School to help improve their story writing.
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It’s not every day an Oscar-nominated screenwriter pops into a local school to pass on some tips to youngsters.

So when author Tom Bidwell volunteered to help pupils at Frenchwood Community Primary in Preston with their story skills, he was welcomed with open arms.

The Leyland-born writer, whose scriptwriting CV includes episodes of TV favourites like Eastenders, Casualty, Holby City and Doctors, spent two hours in the classroom giving the children useful hints on how to write a story.

The visit was organised through teacher Jane Bidwell, who just happens to be Tom’s sister-in-law.

“He was wonderful with them,” said Jane. “He told them he was just a boy from Leyland and, like him, whatever they wanted to do they could achieve if they worked really hard. Anything is possible.”

Tom, who was nominated at the 2011 Academy Awards for his short film Wish 143, has spent the last 10 years writing for TV and film. His credits inc lude the children’s TV series Katy on CBBC which he adapted from the Jacqueline Wilson novel.

Most recently he has done the TV adaptation of the animated Watership Down story which will be broadcast in four one-hour episodes later this year and stars a host of big name actors including Sir Ben Kingsley and Olivia Colman.

“Tom talked to the children about the ingredients of a story and showed them some scripts from Katy,” added Jane. “It was a visit to inspire them about writing and hopefully it did just that.”