Drama takes a long time to nurture. Writers are not born brilliant; they need to learn their craft by doing it, the same as any other artist or worker. New writers need room to fail. This concept used to be common currency but I haven’t heard it mentioned for many years. Potter himself required years of writing Plays for Today – when he was permitted to explore and offend in the name of art and free speech – to develop the skills which enabled him to create The Singing Detective. Without those early hits and misses, he would never have risen to such heights.

So where are the young Dennis Potters now? The BBC likes to say it offers new writers a start by giving them an episode of a soap or a series, but this is disingenuous. It’s a good way to make sure you have a plentiful supply of writers for soaps and series, that’s all. It doesn’t lead anywhere.

Heather Peace - The Guardian - Why the BBC silenced the Singing Detective - 17/11/11
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