Doctor Foster developer Mike Bartlett had a concept for a “West Wing-style” paper drama years earlier. No one was interested.
Fast-forward to the fallout from 2012’s Leveson questions following the hacking scandal, and unexpectedly he had everybody’s attention.
The BBC One drama Press stars Priyanga Burford and Charlotte Riley as the editor and deputy editor of broadsheet The Herald.
The paper remains in competitors with The Post, a tabloid directed by Ben Chaplin’s Machiavellian editor and managed by the paper’s owner (David Suchet).
As he started composing, Bartlett discovered “the market had actually started to alter” as the increase of online journalism and social networks took hold.
That impact, paired with Bartlett’s hallmark busy, addicting and tense scriptwriting, produces a heady mixed drink of scandal, principles, relationships, cash and power.
While Bartlett is eager to mention that “the characters precede … we actually hope you will fall for them”, the background is similarly engaging.
“It’s about a market that’s been the exact same for a very long time and needs to alter. Which’s going to have bad effects – and great repercussions.
“Everyone is going to require news since we require truths more than ever, and for that reason we require reporters discovering those truths more than ever,” he describes.
“Where we decide to get our truths from and who we trust is a huge enigma for the market and us.”
Bartlett, in addition to director Tom Vaughan and the lead stars, looked into the real-life world of papers ahead of shooting.
They started by going to The Mirror and The Guardian.
“We resembled kids in the sweet store! I could not think we were allowed there,” Riley exclaims.
“The shoe was on the other foot with us asking the reporters concerns – they were rather sheepish!” she chuckles.
Riley stated she was “surprised at how difficult the task is” and understood that reporters “truly do take their work house.”
She likewise fulfilled Lisa Markwell, previous editor of the Independent, whom Riley refers to as “an extraordinary lady” who “was really upcoming re: the individual results [of work] on her life.”
With a task that can be tough to turn off from, ethical predicaments – from door-stepping bereaved moms and dads to lowering the professions of political leaders – are at the heart of the series.
“The pressure, the enthusiasm, the clash in between concepts and … the have to generate income produces great drama,” Burford states.
It’s likewise obvious that the cast is so varied.
Having Burford and Riley as The Herald’s 2 head honchos is absolutely an action in the ideal instructions – a considerable shift far from the old days when a male-dominated Fleet Street ruled supreme.
A considerable variety of the cast are from BAME backgrounds, and deaf star Genevieve Barr likewise stars.
“When something’s going to be on the BBC, you desire it to represent the nation,” Bartlett states.
“It’s essential for me.”
But he likewise states he discovered it a real reflection of the modern-day work environment.
“There was variety in the newsrooms that I saw,” he describes.
The playwright turned TELEVISION author is probably hoping Press has as huge an effect as his hit series Doctor Foster, which starred Suranne Jones and Bertie Carvel.
“I ‘d enjoy a 2nd series [of Press],” he states. “We might inform a million stories.”
Press starts on BBC One on 6 September at 21:00 BST.