Peter Bowker

Peter Bowker (born 5 January 1959) is a British playwright and screenwriter. He is best known for the television serials Blackpool (2004), a musical drama about a shady casino owner; Occupation (2009), which follows three military servicemen adjusting to civilian life after a tour of duty in Iraq; and Desperate Romantics (2009), a biographical drama about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. In 2007, he adapted Blackpool for CBS as Viva Laughlin. His most current work is the BBC World War II drama series World on Fire (2019).[2]

Peter Bowker
Born (1959-01-05) 5 January 1959 (age 62)[1]
Hazel Grove, Stockport, England
OccupationScreenwriter, playwright
Notable worksBlackpool
Desperate Romantics
Notable awardsRTS Award for Best Writer
2002 Flesh and Blood
2009 Occupation
Awarded Doctorate of Letters at University of Keele 16 July 2015


Born and raised in Hazel Grove, Stockport,[3][4] Bowker was educated at Marple Hall School and read philosophy and English at the University of Leeds.[5] He taught for twelve years in a Leeds hospital unit for the intellectually disabled,[5] and went on to study for an M.A. in creative writing at the University of East Anglia, where his tutors were novelists Malcolm Bradbury and Rose Tremain. He switched to the screenwriting course after realising he preferred writing dialogue.[4][5]

Bowker began his career writing for the long-running BBC medical drama Casualty in 1992. He wrote seven episodes of the series, including the 1993 episode "Boiling Point", in which the emergency department is burnt down by rioters. "Boiling Point" attracted 17 million viewers and hundreds of complaints, and led to Bowker writing for Medics and Peak Practice.[6]

Bowker later began to write his own works for television, and in 2002 contributed the play Flesh and Blood to the BBC Two season on sex and disability. It was hailed as a breakthrough in the representation of learning disability.[7] He has also contributed updated versions of "The Miller's Tale" and A Midsummer Night's Dream for the BBC's The Canterbury Tales and Shakespeare ReTold series (2003 and 2005, respectively).

In 2009, Bowker rose back to prominence with a series of high profile and sometimes critically well-received serial dramas. Occupation, based upon the backdrop of the Iraq War and starring James Nesbitt and Stephen Graham, ran for three consecutive nights on BBC One. It averaged approximately 4 million viewers across the three nights and was described by The Independent as a "masterly production",[8] as well as gaining praise across the wider media. Bowker followed this with another BBC drama, Desperate Romantics, which received mixed reviews, and an adaptation of Emily Brontë's classic novel Wuthering Heights for ITV.

Bowker executive produced both Viva Laughlin and Wuthering Heights.[9][10] He won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Writer for both 2002, for Flesh and Blood, and 2009, for Occupation.[11][12]

Bowker's projects have included an adaptation of Mark Haddon's novel, A Spot of Bother, a medical drama series called Monroe for ITV1, and the biographical BBC film Eric and Ernie about Morecambe and Wise, broadcast on 1 January 2011.[4][13][14] In 2015, he wrote the three-part BBC series Capital based on John Lanchester's novel of the same name.[15] In 2019 he wrote the Second World War drama World on Fire.[2]



  1. ^ "Peter BOWKER - Personal Appointments". Companies House. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b Mangan, Lucy (29 September 2019). "World on Fire review – ordinary lives caught up in extraordinary times". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  3. ^ Wylie, Ian (8 June 2009). "Occupation: Local Hero". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  4. ^ a b c Jeffries, Stuart (21 July 2009). "Sex and rebellion: Desperate Romantics writer Peter Bowker on his new BBC drama". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Pile, Stephen (6 November 2004). "Dark drama in Blackpool's arcadia". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
  6. ^ Rosenthal, Daniel (7 December 1997). "Arts: Give Us A break Guv". The Independent. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  7. ^ Prasad, Raekha (18 September 2002). "Beyond bias". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  8. ^ Walker, Tim (21 June 2006). "Occupation, BBC1 Dispatches: Afghanistan's Dirty War, Channel 4". The Independent. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  9. ^ Peter Bowker – Filmography as Producer IMDB. Retrieved on 8 August 2009.
  10. ^ "Wuthering Heights Press Pack" (DOC). Retrieved 8 August 2009.
  11. ^ Royal Television Society – Programme – Winners – 2002 Archived 22 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  12. ^ Silverstein, Adam (17 March 2010). "RTS Programme Awards 2009: The Winners". Digital Spy. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  13. ^ McMahon, Kate (16 July 2009). "Occupation writer pens BBC1 Morecambe and Wise biopic". Broadcast. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
  14. ^ "ITV orders new medical series Monroe starring James Nesbitt" (Press release). ITV Press Centre. 4 May 2010. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  15. ^ "BBC One: Capital". BBC Online. Retrieved 24 November 2015.

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