A Screen Academy Scotland, Edinburgh Napier graduate has landed a role on new BBC drama Taboo. Joseph Atkinson (MA Screen Project Development) has been working on the hit show through his role as assistant to the producer at heavyweight director Sir Ridley Scott’s own production company Scott Free after it executive produced the eight-part series which premiered on BBC One this month. Starring Tom Hardy, Taboo follows the story of James Delaney, an adventurer who returns to Britain from Africa to seek vengeance after the death of his father. It also stars Oona Chaplin and Jonathan Pryce.
Joseph said: “Working on Taboo has been completely thrilling. All-consuming, as I guess all shoots are, but it’s really my first time on a project of this scale. I feel very lucky to work on a period piece with some bite; I was asked in a job interview when I was fresh out of SAS what kind of TV I wanted to make, and I said ‘something like Peaky Blinders’ and I’ve stumbled into Steve Knight’s new show. So, I couldn’t really ask for more.
“Being a producer’s assistant on Taboo is a uniquely privileged position; sort of like sitting in the crow’s nest of some ginormous war ship. It’s been hard sometimes, but that’s also edifying.”
Joseph’s path to this exciting new role commenced in 2011 after undertaking a Masters in Screen Project Development at Screen Academy Scotland; a unique collaboration between Edinburgh Napier and Edinburgh College of Art dedicated to fostering the future of film makers. During his time at Screen Academy Scotland, he was involved with two award-winning projects – collaborating with Shaun Hughes on No More Shall We Part and Kate Charter’s Hannah and the Moon, both of which went on to win BAFTA New Talent awards in 2013.
After two years working in Glasgow as a junior producer on behalf of a number of commercial clients, Joseph won a place on the highly-competitive Script Editor Traineeship with the British Film Institute (BFI). The eight month programme involved two months with Scott Free Productions which led him to his current role and his work on Taboo.
Joseph added: “I would say that my time studying at Screen Academy Scotland allowed me the space to think about what kind of projects I really wanted to make, and to scout out the peers who felt the same. So much of that year was about finding people with same tastes and creative outlook, and making things happen on our terms. I think there’s a tendency to just jump into bed creatively with anyone early on, which is natural because you are excited about getting something made, but I feel like the reason why the projects I worked on gained traction was through a certain shared creative clarity.”
Created by Tom Hardy, Chip Hardy and Stephen Knight, Taboo is screening on BBC 1 from 7 January 2017.
Trailer for Taboo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZYAQSlIhM4