2013 Angel Film Awards - Monaco International Film Festival angel awards




Stephen Potts: award winning screenwriter and author.

Seven books published, one feature film produced, two feature screenplays optioned. I’ve also written for radio and the stage

Day job: From 1996 psychiatrist at Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, working in ER and liver/kidney/pancreas transplant unit.

I took up writing at medical school in Oxford, becoming gradually more serious about it during my junior doctor years. Initially I focussed on children’ adventure fiction, and then (as my senior doctor years began!) I branched out into screenplays, seeking to specialise in historically set adaptations. I have seven books published, one feature film produced, four feature screenplays optioned (all adaptations), and four projects currently in development. I’ve also written for radio and the stage. Meanwhile, in my day job, I work as a psychiatrist at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, in the ER and the transplant unit, and co-founded the UK Transplant Psychiatry Group.

I was drawn to the story of The Report: Tragedy at Bethnal Green from the outset. I knew nothing of the shocking truth before I read Jessica Francis Kane’s book: and when the opportunity arose to tell it for the screen, I seized it with both hands.

The screen rights were optioned by TJ Herbert of Itchy Fish Films, whose grandmother survived the disaster, and to whom I am grateful for selecting me as the screenwriter. At the time of writing we are pitching the project to major international production companies. My other projects include:


The Butterfly Tattoo - (Dynamic Entertainment 2008)
Feature film adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novel
Winner, Best Adaptation, New York Independent Film & Video Festival

On the Water
Feature film adaptation of HM van den Brink’s novel about a sporting partnership in wartime Amsterdam. Optioned twice.
Winner, van Gogh Award(and best adaptation), Amsterdam Film Festival 2013

The Dog Walker
Original crime thriller. Quarterfinalist Screenwriting Goldmine Competition 2012, Semifinalist, British Feature Screenplay 2012.

Compass Murphy
Feature film adaptation of my own novel of a downtrodden farm boy’s search for his father in the Arctic ice. Optioned as feature film: commissioned as screenwriter.
Winner, Angel Film Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Monaco International Film Festival 2012

Original historically set horror thriller
Currently in funded development with Iron Box Films

At The Mercy of the Sea
Feature film adapation of John Kreschemer’s true story account of yachstmen caught in 1999’s Hurricane Lenny.
Currently in development with Cassiopeia Pictures

Saddle up, Charlie
Feature film adaptation of Terry Walters’ true story account of a sporting career in American football blighted by mental illness


Hunting Gumnor - (Egmont 1999, Republished 2004, itunes 2010)
Carnegie Medal nominee 2000
Branford-Boase Award Runner-up 2000

Compass Murphy - (Egmont 2001, Republished 2004)
Short listed, Askews Children's Book Award 2002
Observer Book of the Week 2001
Japanese translation published by Kyuryu-do 2005

The Ship Thief - (Egmont 2004)

Abigail's Gift - (Egmont 2006)

Shorter illustrated books

Tommy Trouble - (Mammoth 2000, itunes 2010)
Nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2001

Into the Storm - (Barrington Stoke 2008)

Operation Hope - (Barrington Stoke 2009)

Short Stories

On the Bench - (in Family Tree ed M Hodgson, Egmont 1999)

Abigail's Gift - (in Love From Dad ed M Hodgson, Egmont 2000)


12 pieces of short drama and one act plays, performed 1995-2004 in
Edinburgh (Traverse, Bedlam & Fringe Theatres)
London (Tabard & Soho Theatres)

Of these, The Enemy Within won the Hydrae Prize 2003, and was later adapted as a short film script.


Grandmother’s Footsteps (Island Blue) BBC Radio 4 2006.

Genre: - Dramatized true story of a civilian disaster in World War II.

Format: - Feature film for theatrical release.

Based on: - Jessica Francis Kane’s successful 2011 novel.

Logline: - World War II London’s worst civilian disaster was something the authorities wanted to forget: but the survivors were determined to remember.

Location: - Bethnal Green, in East London.

Plot Synopsis: - On March 3 1943 173 Londoners died at an East End air raid shelter, in the worst civilian disaster of the entire war. But no bombs fell on London that night. At 8:17 the warning sirens let out their mournful wail, and the people of Bethnal Green left their homes, their work places, the cinema and the pubs to file down to the tube station, as they had so many times before. The station was so new that no trains had run through it before war came. It was deep and therefore secure, and had sheltered thousands of people against the worst of the bombing. But it had a fatal flaw: the main entrance was a steep, dark, broad staircase, with little lighting, no handrails, and no protection against the kind of crowd surge that now occurred.

Near the bottom of the crowded stair a woman tripped and fell. Others tumbled over her, and in seconds the entire staircase was blocked by a tangled mass of anguished humanity, many breathing their last. When the all-clear sounded 173 men women and children were dead - asphyxiated, choked, crushed - any many more were injured, in scenes now reminiscent of the 1989 disaster at Hillsborough stadium.

There were initial attempts to hush the incident up, for fear of the effect on war-time morale. When it was clear that the local people would not stand for this, an enquiry was established, but its conclusions were not welcome to the government of the day, and particularly not to Herbert Morrison, Home Secretary. As was the case at Hillsborough, the victims were blamed, and the true cause covered up. Wartime necessity and the Official Secrets Act were deployed to prevent the truth emerging. Mr Morrison kept his job, and amid the celebration of victory the incident was largely forgotten. But not by the people of Bethnal Green, as represented in this dramatisation by Ada Barber, the woman at the bottom of the stairs, and her soldier husband Peter.


Making sense of senseless loss. The many different ways we do it: the paths those choices lead us down.

Jessica Francis Kane’s bestselling and critically acclaimed 2012 documentary novel approaches this disaster from a range of perspectives: the survivors, the bereaved, the emergency services, the investigating magistrate, and Morrison himself. It tells many individual stories, centering on the power of crowds, and the shifting nature of truth, all against the background of war-weary London. The book is now being adapted by screenwriter Stephen Potts into a feature film for TJ Herbert of Itchy Fish Film Ltd, whose grandmother survived the incident.


Manager (US):
Sammy Montana
Anarchy Management

Agent (UK):
Kelly Marshall
Smart Talent

Contact and Further information: - www.stephenpotts.net