Masterclass with Declan Lawn

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Screen Skills Ireland is proud to support a free online masterclass with Declan Lawn for young documentary filmmakers and journalists, from the Cleraun Media Ethics Forum, at 19.00 on Thursday 28 October. 

Declan Lawn is a screenwriter and director. He worked for 15 years as a reporter, director and producer for BBC Current Affairs Television on programmes such as Panorama and Spotlight. He now works with Adam Patterson, writing and directing television drama and feature films. Together they wrote the BBC TV drama The Salisbury Poisonings (2020), and the short film Rough, which won the IFTA award in 2021 for best short film, as well as at the Krakow International Film Festival and the Kerry International Film Festival. They recently finished their first feature film, Freegard, starring James Norton and Gemma Arterton, which they wrote and directed. It will be released early in 2022. Filming also begins in January 2022 on a BBC One Drama, Blue Lights, a six-part series about rookie police officers in Belfast, where Declan lives with his wife and four children.

Case Study: The Salisbury Poisonings

The Salisbury Poisonings is a fact-based television drama, starring Anne-Marie Duff, Rafe Spall and Annabel Scholey. It portrays the 2018 Novichok poisonings and decontamination crisis in Salisbury, England. The series was broadcast in three parts on BBC One in June 2020, and in four parts on RTÉ in July – August 2021. On 4 March 2018, Sergei Skripal (66), a former Russian military officer and double agent for British intelligence agencies, and his daughter Yulia Skripal (33), were found unconscious on a public bench by a passing nurse and doctor. They had been poisoned with Novichok. The news of the poisonings sparked international controversy. The British government accused Russia of attempted murder and announced a series of punitive measures, including the expulsion of diplomats.

Those attending will:

  • Watch The Salisbury Poisonings on the RTÉ Player (4×45 minutes) or on the BBC iPlayer (3×60 minutes) in advance, with a view to answering a series of questions set by Declan Lawn.
  • On the evening of the masterclass, break into teamwork groups for 40 minutes to consider those questions among themselves; Declan will spend time with each group.
  • Then all join Declan to discuss those questions, followed by an open forum.

To book:

To book, please email

Attendance is limited to 30 participants. The event is free of charge.