Charlie Swinbourne is an RTS and BAFTA award-winning screenwriter, director and journalist. He makes ground-breaking dramas, comedies and documentaries, often with Deaf people and sign language at their heart.
His writing credits include BBC productions such as Jimmy McGovern’s Moving On, Casualty, Eastenders, CBBC’s Princess Mirror-Belle, and a number of award-winning dramas, comedies and documentaries made independently and for the BSL Zone, including the sketch show Deaf Funny.
Charlie’s most recent writing credit is the one-off 45min BBC1 drama More Than Words, broadcast in March 2021, which was nominated for a Broadcast Award. It was made as part of Jimmy McGovern’s Moving On anthology series. Last year also saw Charlie’s episode of CBBC’s Princess Mirror-Belle broadcast, which can be seen on iPlayer here.
The groundbreaking Casualty episode that Charlie co-wrote with Sophie Woolley, telling the story of a day in the life of a deaf nurse, led to the programme winning the 2021 BAFTA and RTS awards for best soap or continuing drama and was also nominated for a Rose D’Or (read a BBC Writersroom blog here). The episode was groundbreaking not only for what happened on screen, but also for featuring five deaf creatives in key roles, including two actors, two writers and the director.
For Eastenders, Charlie created the storyline about Ben Mitchell losing his hearing and the introduction of Frankie (played by Rose Alying-Ellis), the show’s first signing deaf character. He also created the concept for the groundbreaking ‘silent’ episode and worked on it as Story Consultant (read a BBC Writersroom blog about his work on the show here).
His creations as a writer include the innovative 6-part BSL comedy sketch show Deaf Funny, (winner of the RTS Yorkshire Writer award 2018 and Best TV Programme award at Deafest 2019) award-winning half hour TV dramas My Song and Departure Lounge, rude mockumentary Hands Solo, the Four Deaf Yorkshiremen comedies, the TV mini-series The Fingerspellers and YouTube viral hits The Kiss and Coming Out.
Charlie has also worked in factual, creating and directing the 5-part documentary series Found, and working on shows such as See Hear, Vee-TV and Wicked.
As a journalist, Charlie written for the Guardian, Mirror and BBC Online, as well as many others. In 2012 he set up deaf blog The Limping Chicken, which has clocked up over 7 million views and posted blogs by over 400 Deaf people so far. Shortly after starting the site, he broke the 2013 worldwide news story about the fake interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.
Charlie has appeared on Radio 4, BBC Breakfast News, BBC World Service, BBC Trending, Watchdog, BBC London, the BBC Ouch podcast, and the Abnormally Funny People Podcast. He’s also presented discussions at the Edinburgh Film Festival, the Edinburgh Book Festival, and Ilkley Literature Festival.