Paula Milne | Resume

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Paula Milne



Paula Milne, one of Britain's leading screenwriters, left school when she was fifteen years old with no academic qualifications. She studied fine art at the Central School of Art and Design as well as film-making at the Royal College of Art. Her career in television began as a script reader at ATV, followed by two years at the BBC as script editor in the series department where she created the ground breaking hit show Angels.


In the 90’s Paula was part of a cultural delegation which visited Central America, in particular Nicaragua and Honduras. Later she spent some time in the Brazilian rain forests researching a feature film TERRA ROXA. Paula also spent time in Minnesota, researching a feature film BLUE EARTH about Aids and has extensively travelled the United States researching her other feature films.

Paula's first feature film in Hollywood was made - Mad Love, a road movie starring Drew Barrymore and Chris O'Donnell. It was followed by the critically successful Hollow Reed which led Variety to comment, "One cannot be unmoved by sensitive portrayal the terrible pain at the story's centre, especially when it's caused by good intentions." The film scooped the Prix de Publique at the Dinard Film Festival. Loosely based on a true story it portrays a gay custody case. When a young boy is being physically abused by his step father, his gay father fights for custody and comes up against institutionalised homophobia in the justice system.

Paula also wrote I Dreamed of Africa, which was shot in Africa and stars Kim Basinger, directed by Hugh Hudson about a husband and wife attempting to build a new life for themselves in the Rift Valley. Once again, Paula spent extensive time researching the film in Keyna with Kuki Gallman on whose life the movie is based.

She also wrote a script for Tom Cruise, a Cruise/Wagner/Paramount production, entitled BoltFlash, based on a doctor who suffered a devastating stroke and later became an acclaimed artist. Other Hollywood projects include her adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel for Fox 2000.

She also wrote a feature film in Hollywood, based on her highly acclaimed mini series Second Sight, to star Clive Owen. A Hollywood film based on her award winning THE POLITICIAN’S WIFE is scheduled for production starring Felicity Hoffman.

Her award winning movie screenplay ENDGAME is a dramatised account of the secret highly charged negotiations in the UK between the ANC in exile and leading Afrikaaners which contributed to the fall of Apartheid in South Africa. Paula spent time in South Africa meeting key players in the negotiations, including the then President Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma (the current President) and others. This film, directed by Pete Travis, was shown in the Premier division at Sundance in January 2009 to unanimous critical acclaim. The Hollywood Reporter said of it… “This is a hypnotically gripping account of secret talks held in the secluded English countryside that laid much of the groundwork for negotiations that brought racial warfare to an end. Writer Paula Milne meticulously selects the vital personalities and scenes to movingly recount this episode.” It was produced by David Aukin/Hal Vogel for Daybreak/Mentorn Productions. It stars William Hurt, Chewetel Ejiofor, Jonny Lee Miller, Mark Strong, Derek Jacobi and Timothy West. It aired on PBS in the U.S. in the autumn of 2009 and received cinema distribution in the U.S. that year also. Chewetel Ejiofor was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as Thabo Mbeki. Endgame was nominated for an RTS AWARD, a prime time EMMY and won the GRIESON AWARD for Best Factual Drama as well as the GEORGE FOSTER PEABODY AWARD.

Paula’s next movie assignment is a vampire movie – a contemporary Gothic reworking of JANE EYRE called THE RED ROOM. This project is for BBC FILMS, Ruby Films will produce.

Paula recently won the UK FILM COUNCIL and WOMEN IN FILM and TELEVISION award for her ”outstanding contribution to screenwriting”.


Among her numerous original dramas is the critically lauded Die Kinder a six part political thriller for the BBC about the Baader Meinhoffs which starred Frederic Forrest and Miranda Richardson and her 9 hour feminist serial Driving Ambition and SWALK her six part serial for C4. Her numerous television plays include A Sudden Wrench, John David, Queen of Hearts and CQ for Channel Four. Her films for the BBC include Frankie And Johnnie directed by Martin Campbell which was followed by her highly popular detective series Chandler & Co which the Daily Telegraph declared was, "…a splendidly irresistible drama series."

Her work with Channel Four Television in the UK has been phenomenally successful. The Politician's Wife, her three-part drama series starring Juliet Stevenson and Trevor Eve, won her an enviable clutch of awards including an Emmy award, the BAFTA award for Best Drama Serial, the Annual Writers' Guild Award for Best Original Serial, the Original Creativity Award from Women in Film and Television, the Best Independent Production award and the prestigious George Peabody Award in the United States. She then went on to write the highly acclaimed The Fragile Heart, a powerful serial tackling medical ethics starring Nigel Hawthorne. It too received many nominations and scooped prestigious BAFTA and BANFF awards.

In 2000/1 Paula created and wrote Second Sight, starring Clive Owen as a detective progressively going blind, who uses his disturbing hallucinations to help solve a homicide case. The mini series aired on Sunday nights on BBC 1 and a six hour series was produced based on Paula's concept and was transmitted on BBC 1. It was voted ″Best Mini series″ by the Los Angeles Times in 2002 and led PBS winter schedules in America to huge critical acclaim and helped launch Clive Owen’s Hollywood career. It has recently been commissioned by CBS to be made as a pilot directed by Michael Questa (HOMELAND).

Paula has also written a four hour political thriller mystery for ITV called Thursday 12th. This serial was transmitted in the United States to excellent notices. Her two part thriller State of Mind was transmitted on ITV in January 2003.

She has written a screenplay based Anne Robinson's autobiography Memoirs of An Unfit Mother for Tiger Aspect/BBC with Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy) producing.

Her 4 x hr epic serial THE VIRGIN QUEEN based on Elizabeth 1st for BBC 1 was made on location and at Shepperton Studios. It stars Ann Marie Duff and was transmitted on PBS in November 2005 and on BBC 1 in January 2006 – once again to critical acclaim. It received an Emmy nomination for outstanding Mini Series of 2006 and was nominated for a BAFTA.

Paula’s TV film WHATEVER IT TAKES a contemporary morality tale about our celebrity obsessed culture and phone hacking that was transmitted on ITV in the summer of 2009.

Her critically acclaimed adaptation of the epic Orange winning novel SMALL ISLAND about the first wave of “Windrush” immigrants was the centre piece of the BBC 1 Autumn schedule in 2009. It starred Naomi Harris, David Oyelowo, Ashley Walters and Ruth Wilson. It aired on PBS in the U.S. in April 2010 and won the BROADCAST AWARD , an RTS nomination and an INTERNATIONAL EMMY for Best Mini series.

In 2010 Paula’s adaptation of Sarah Waters THE NIGHT WATCH was transmitted on BBC 2 to universal acclaim.

In 2012 her original six part serial for BBC TWO entitled WHITE HEAT which traces a group of PEOPLE through the political maelstrom of the sixties until the present day was transmitted in 2012 and THE POTILICIAN’S HUSBAND (Emily Watson, David Tennant) was transmitted in the spring of 2013 to further critical acclaim.

Her most recent credit was one off the film LEGACY in November of 2013 on BBC2 –her screenplay attracted another stellar British cast, including Simon Russell Beale, Andrew Scott and Romala Garai, with Pete Travis directing, based on the book by Alan Judd about COLD WAR espionage.

She is also the creator and writer for a 6 part drama serial BACK TO BACK, about spies and a family divided by the Berlin Wall, set in 1973 which starts filming in August, Oliver Hirshbeigal directing.

The BBC have also commissioned Paula to write an original 3 part Gothic drama based on the famous love story of Elizabeth Barratt and Robert Browning called LOVE AMONG THE RUINS.

The BBC are also currently negotiating the rights on Pat Barkers award winning first world war trilogy REGENERATION for Paula to dramatize.

Her three part horror drama HIM, a teenage male version of CARRIE, has been green lit by ITV and goes into pre-production in November.

She is currently writing the pilot for another original series TALES FROM THE EMPIRE for the BBC, a family saga based around a London Musical theatre in the 19th century and the Shakespearean power struggle between estranged identical twins.


  • international emmy, TV MINI SERIES, 2010
    SMALL ISLAND co writer winner
    Award for screen writing
  • GRIERSON DOCUMENTARY AWARDS , Best drama documentary, 2010

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