The writer of ITV drama Cold Feet recently returned to his old school to deliver a screenwriting workshop to its pupils.
Mike Bullen, who wrote all five series of the extremely popular 90s drama, and is currently working on its upcoming revival which airs on ITV in the autumn, based a number of the leading characters on himself and his friends from Solihull School.
Returning to the independent school, Bullen worked with drama and theatre studies students – talking about his career in the industry and sharing fond memories of his time at the school.
He said: “When I left school I didn’t think screenwriting would be my future, and it wasn’t for some years, but the seeds were definitely sown with drama at Solihull School. My fondest memory of my time there was probably when we did a sixth form play – the school’s first I believe.
“We were encouraged by the headmaster at the time but it was all organised by the students; the teachers had no involvement. As I remember it, it was pretty good.
“It’s great to see that the students today are still just as passionate. One of my favourite moments in the workshop was when the pupils were discussing a piece they’d written. They were talking about their motivation and I saw the spark suddenly catch fire – it was very satisfying.”
Solihull School has gone through many changes since Bullen attended in the 1970s. Commenting on this, he stated: “It’s a weird experience coming back to somewhere which is so much a part of my DNA. I thought it was grand when I was here, but it is much grander now. There are parts I still know so well, and parts I don’t know at all – but the values remain the same.
“It’s a very forward-thinking place. While many schools will focus on churning out kids with good grades, Solihull encourages its students to think, and looks to develop them as people. It provided me with a great sense of community, which I think translates into what I write about, and gave me the confidence to have courage in my own convictions. It means a great deal to me.”
David Lloyd, headmaster, said: “It was a pleasure to have Mike return to the school. His passion, both for Solihull and his career, is extremely evident and I am certain that our students have learned a lot from his visit.”