It shouldn't be a thing

There are so many things that shouldn't be a thing and usually it's a very bad thing that these things are things, or something. Just last week, for instance, I wrote to you to praise how ITV comedy head Saskia Schuster banned all-male writing teams and of course the idea that she or anyone should even have to think to do that, is a bad thing.

I still and entirely believe that given the situation, given how I as a viewer am being denied all the voices in the land, that it's a good thing she did this.

Something's happened, though. Since I wrote that to you, I've now seen Schuster speak. She was the guest speaker at this year's Writers' Guild AGM on Monday and she was interviewed by the outgoing –– in every great sense –– Chair, Gail Renard.

And Schuster said she hated how everybody called what she's done, a ban.

I squirmed a little in my seat and thought a lot about my shoelaces.

Other than a difference over that word, though, what she said about her decision was everything I liked about it. This was also only one part of a wide-ranging interview and I came away so impressed that I wished I wrote comedy.

Maybe I do. People do seem to laugh at my writing whether I want them to or not. I'll think about it.

Or I will when I'm done thinking about this other thing. This thing that is in all ways a good thing, not just something good done to address something bad.

Well, there is bad in it. At that AGM, Gail stood down as Chair and Olivia Hetreed stepped down as President. These two are both the sort of person that if you got them working with or for you, you would never let them go. But the Guild is a union, it has legal rules, and by chance both of them reached the end of their terms on Monday.

I'm not kidding here: them being required to step down is nothing short of a blow.

But Gail has been replaced by Lisa Holdsworth and it is nothing short of miraculous that we've got her. This is the right person at the right time.

The Guild has two deputy chairs and up to Monday, I shared that title with Lisa. I already knew her from her writing, I'd already worked with her at events, I was frankly daunted to be paired with her. I know there's nobody better to be Chair – and I suspect there's nobody nicer. She's not reading this, is she? You won't tell her, will you?

I was re-elected as Deputy Chair for another year and in Lisa's place, Tim Stimpson from The Archers was also elected to this post.

And finally, I've got to the thing.

Lisa Holdsworth, Chair of the Writers' Guild, is based in Leeds. Tim and I are both based in Birmingham.

The Writers' Guild has always, from the very start sixty years ago, been a national union. But right now, three of its officers are based outside London and that is a very good thing.

I realise as I write this that I have no idea where our new President, Sandi Toksvig lives. And that's peculiar, because she and I have a history. Oh, yes. Sandi and I, we've shared some laughs, we've shared some times, we must go back at least, oh, forty seconds.

I could ask her at the next Writers' Guild meeting, I suppose, but somehow I'm hesitant. "Hello, Sandi, really glad you're the new President, now, exactly where do you live?"