Published: 00:01, 21 December 2015
Do you remember the EastEnders episode when Ben paid off Gavin to release Phil – and then told his mum Kathy he’d leave Albert Square with her?
That was one of seven scripts written for the show by Natalie Mitchell, a former pupil at Rainham School for Girls.
Miss Mitchell spent 10 years working with young people after she left school before becoming a full-time writer.
She said: “I always knew that I loved drama, but I wasn’t really aware of what career options there were, other than drama teacher or actor.
“It’s taken nine years to get to this point, and I feel like I still have lots to achieve.”
After applying to the BBC Writer’s Academy five years in row, Miss Mitchell eventually got a place on the last-ever course in 2012, writing for BBC dramas Holby City, Doctors and Casualty as well as EastEnders.
Miss Mitchell said: “After some successes and some failures – I have discovered that I’m not very good at writing medical drama – I started writing regularly for EastEnders at the end of 2014.”
The 32-year-old has just started writing her seventh episode, with the sixth to air in January.
This year also saw her fulfil her ambition to bring a play about Medway to Medway.
Written to raise awareness of young people’s mental and sexual health, Germ Free Adolescent toured venues in the Towns in October.
While a student a the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, Miss Mitchell spent time at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square.
She said: “I got to read loads of scripts and I couldn’t help thinking that there was nothing that really represented my life, or my experiences living in Medway. So I decided to see if I could write something myself.”
Her first play, Can’t Stand Me Now, was about a boy growing up in Chatham and appeared at the Royal Court’s Young Writer’s Festival in 2007.
Miss Mitchell, who now lives in Bexleyheath, added: “The plan is for the Germ Free Adolescent to tour more extensively next year, and we’d also like to set up a more permanent company in Medway.
“There’s some really amazing work happening in the area, with LV21, Nucleus Arts, Ikon Theatre and others, and we would love to be a more permanent part of that arts ecology in the area.”