Sally Wainwright

Writer, Director and Executive Producer


My first memories of Eureka! were taking my own children there when they were tiny. They were queuing up very politely and everybody else was getting stuck in. And I was going: get stuck in! Get stuck in!

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Sally is a local lass famous for writing and directing for radio and television, including Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax and To Walk Invisible.

From Huddersfield but brought up in Sowerby Bridge. She always wanted to write, and started making cartoon strips and writing dialogue at a young age. While at the University of York she took an original play to the Edinburgh Festival and found an agent.

When she was 24, she left her job driving a bus to write for the Radio 4 series The Archers. After that she wrote for Coronation Street, from 1994 to 1999 (on the wrong side of the Pennines).

Soon her stories and characters kept bringing her back to Yorkshire. She created the TV series At Home with the Braithwaites which was nominated for many awards. She won the 2009 Writer of the Year Award given by the RTS for Unforgiven which took several awards including best TV series.

She has done some directing and production of her own work partly to ensure the scenery and dialogue reflects Yorkshire. In 2011 she wrote Scott & Bailey. She based the plot of her series Last Tango in Halifax on the story of her mother who was widowed in 2001. Last Tango in Halifax was voted by BAFTA to be best series in 2012 and Sally won best writer. Happy Valley stars Sarah Lancashire, whom she had in mind as she wrote the role. Sally made her directorial debut with episode 4 of the first series.

Last year Sally wrote and directed To Walk Invisible. She said “I am thrilled beyond measure that I’ve been asked by the BBC to bring to life these three fascinating, talented, ingenious Yorkshire women.” She also won Outstanding Achievement award at the Edinburgh television festival. Her next project (for the BBC & HBO) called Gentleman Jack is about Anne Lister, a Yorkshire diarist who locals to Halifax will know from Shibden Hall.

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