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Tom’s a class act for pupils

Photo Neil Cross'Author Tom Bidwell visiting Frenchwood Community Primary School to talk to kids and produce screenplays with them
Photo Neil Cross'Author Tom Bidwell visiting Frenchwood Community Primary School to talk to kids and produce screenplays with them
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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.”

Leyland-born, Tom still lives in Towngate with his American wife Lorraine Metz. He is a former Balshaw and Runshaw student.

He has written for a range of TV soaps and penned the BAFTA-nominated My Mad Fat Diary for E4. He also wrote the CBBC series Katy, which was an adaptation of the Jacqueline Wilson novel.

The Oscar nomination came seven years ago for Wish 143, a short film about a young boy with cancer - drawing on his own experiences when he was ill as a teenager.

His latest work is a four one-hour animated adaptation of Watership Down which will air on TV at Christmas.