Ashley Pharoah

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Ashley Pharoah
Born (1959-09-13) 13 September 1959 (age 56)
Southampton, United Kingdom
Occupation Screenwriter and television producer.
Nationality English
Genre Drama, science fiction
Notable works Life on Mars
Ashes to Ashes
Wild at Heart

Ashley Pharoah (born 13 September 1959) is a British screenwriter and television producer. He is best known as the co-creator/writer of the successful drama series Life on Mars, which began on BBC One in 2006, and creator/writer of the family drama Wild at Heart, which aired on ITV1 from 2006 through 2012.

Early life[edit]

Pharoah was born in Southampton[1] attended Waycroft Junior School in Stockwood[citation needed] and continued at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, a direct grant grammar school, in Bristol.[2]

Pharoah studied at the University of Sussex and the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield in the 1980s.


Pharoah played rugby for Wimbledon and began his television writing career on the BBC soap opera EastEnders in 1991, on which he worked for four years and where he met co-writer Matthew Graham. He went on in 1994–1995 to contribute five episodes to the popular BBC One drama series Casualty and four episodes to Silent Witness (1996).[3]

For ITV he created the long-running series Where the Heart Is, for which he wrote episodes from 1997 to 2000, and contributed to the BBC One TV programme Down to Earth in 2001. Among other work in the early 2000s (decade) he scripted an adaptation of Tom Brown's Schooldays, starring Stephen Fry, for the ITV1 network in 2005.[3]

Meanwhile Pharoah, Matthew Graham and veteran Eastenders writer Tony Jordan spent years co-creating Life on Mars, which was first shown in 2006, and Pharoah contributed episodes to both series of the show. Other work around this time included creating the series Wild at Heart (2006 – present) for Company Pictures and adapting Under the Greenwood Tree for Ecosse Films.[3]

In 2006 he formed Monastic Productions with Matthew Graham. Monastic Productions is involved in the Life on Mars spin-off Ashes to Ashes and co-produced Bonekickers, a six-part drama series about archaeology, set in Bath, Somerset. Both series are productions for BBC One.[4] He has won two International Emmys for "Life on Mars", a series which was remade for ABC in America, starring Harvey Keitel.

In 2010 Pharoah adapted Case Histories, the novel by Kate Atkinson, for the BBC. It stars Jason Isaacs and was a co-production between Monastic Productions and Ruby Television.

In February 2011 Pharoah was made an Honorary Fellow of the National Film and Television School; this is awarded "in recognition of outstanding contribution to the British film and television industry".[5]

Writing credits[edit]

Production Notes Broadcaster
White Elephant
  • Feature film (co-written with Werner Grusch, 1984)
Water's Edge
  • Short film (1988)
  • 9 episodes (1991–1994)
  • "Crossing the Line" (1994)
  • "Only the Lonely" (1994)
  • "Not Waving But Drowning" (1995)
  • "Outside Bulawayo" (1995)
  • "Lost Boys" (1995)
Silent Witness
  • "Long Days, Short Nights" (1996)
  • "Darkness Visible" (1996)
Where the Heart Is ITV
City Central
  • "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" (1998)
Life Support
  • "Trust" (1999)
  • "The Price of Love" (1999)
  • "Playing God" (1999)
  • "Soul and Conscience" (1999)
  • "The Undiscovered Country" (1999)
Down to Earth
  • 13 episodes (2000–2001)
Anchor Me
  • Television film (2000)
Paradise Heights
  • 6 episodes (2002)
The Eustace Bros.
  • 6 episodes (2003)
  • "A Touch of Class" (2004)
Tom Brown's Schooldays
  • Television film (2005)
Under the Greenwood Tree
  • Television film (2005)
Wild at Heart
  • 20 episodes (2006–2012)
Life on Mars BBC1
  • 6 episodes (co-written with Matthew Graham, 2008)
Ashes to Ashes
  • 24 episodes (co-written with Matthew Graham, 2008–2010)
Case Histories
  • "Case Histories, Part 1" (2011)
  • "Case Histories, Part 2" (2011)
Eternal Law
  • 6 episodes (co-written with Matthew Graham, 2012)
  • Television miniseries (2013)
Sky One

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Work Category Result Reference
1989 Gold Hugo Water's Edge Best Short Film (with Suri Krishnamma) Nominated
2006 TV Quick Awards Life on Mars Best New Drama (with Matthew Graham and Tony Jordan) Nominated
2007 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Writer's Award (with Matthew Graham and Tony Jordan) Won
2007 TV Quick Awards Best Loved Drama (with Matthew Graham and Tony Jordan) Nominated
2007 Edgar Allan Poe Awards Life on Mars: "Episode 1" Best Television Episode Teleplay Won
2007 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award Life on Mars: Series 2 Soap/Series (TV) (with Chris Chibnall, Mark Greig, Matthew Graham, Guy Jenkin, Tony Jordan and Julie Rutterford) Nominated
2008 Cinéma Tous Ecrans Ashes to Ashes Audience Award for Best International Television Series (with Matthew Graham) Won
2008 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award Television Drama Series (with Matthew Graham, Mark Greig, Julie Rutterford and Mick Ford) Nominated
2010 TRIC Awards TV Crime Programme (with Matthew Graham and Tony Jordan) Nominated
2010 TV Quick Awards Best Drama Series (with Matthew Graham) Won
2010 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award Television Drama Series (with Matthew Graham, Julie Rutterford, Tom Butterworth, Chris Hurford, Jack Lothian and James Payne) Nominated
2011 TRIC Awards TV Drama Programme of the Year (with Matthew Graham) Nominated


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jonathan Ross, OBE
NFTS Honorary Fellowship
Succeeded by