independent

Sunday 18 August 2019

Film director Laura over the moon with Eastenders BAFTA win

Laura Way on the set of Eastenders
Laura Way on the set of Eastenders

Maria Pepper

Wexford film director Laura Way may not have been on the red carpet for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards but she had every reason to celebrate when Eastenders was voted the Best Continuing Drama.

Laura, a former actress, was watching the BAFTAS on television with her young son when the announcement was made and she was over the moon with the result as she had a major hand in the win.

The BBC submitted four episodes of Eastenders to represent the past year and one of them was the special episode directed by Laura, around the theme of sexual consent, which was broadcast last year.

It was written by Anya Reis, the story producer was Sharon Batten and the executive producer was John Yorke, who got to know Laura when she directed two one-hour episodes of Red Rock on which he was producer.

As executive producer of Eastenders, Yorke invited Laura over to Elstree Studios in London to direct four episodes of the soap and based on that work, she was then asked to stay on and direct a special episode.

In that episode inspired by the #Me Too awareness campaign and loosely based around a recent sexual assault trial in Northern Ireland, the meaning of consent is explored as the character of Ruby Allen, played by actress Louisa Lytton, stands up to her rapist.

'They gave me a lot of freedom and I found it a great experience. That episode went outside the normal style of the soap. They really made a statement, they took a big risk and it paid off', said Laura.

'I was watching the BAFTAS on television at home with my son and I was thrilled when Eastenders won. It was amazing', she added.

The special Eastenders episode directed by Laura, is the only one to have been nominated for Best Single Episode in the forthcoming British Soap Awards.

Laura who gave up acting in favour of writing and directing, has been asked to direct the second season of Irish psychological drama series Blood for Virgin Media one.

She is looking forward to working on the 'long form drama', as it will give her the opportunity to 'venture outside the box visually and stylistically'.

Laura grew up in the Wexford Theatre Workshop founded by her parents Michael Way and Irene Wright. She has appeared in numerous television and film productions including HBO's The Tudors, RTE's The Clinic, Bitter Sweet, BBC1's The Silence, Foyles War, A Film With Me in It and Anton.

In recent years, she has been making a name for herself as a writer and director of much of her own work including short films, music videos and commercials.

She was a director with one of Ireland's leading commercial production companies Pull the Trigger before setting up Bocecii Film.

She runs the Gaiety School of Acting Graduate Screen Actors Programme and is currently writing and directing the 2019 graduate showcase.

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