A writer who has created some of the UK’s best-known TV shows is to become a visiting professor at the University of Sunderland.
David Quantick has worked on programmes including The Thick of It, The Day Today, Brass Eye and TV Burp.
David has also written for radio, coming up with Radio 4’s One and Radio 2’s The Blagger’s Guide. In addition, he has written for more than 50 newspapers and magazines, such as The Guardian, NME, Q, and The Daily Telegraph.
Perhaps like many students today, David was unsure about the direction his career would take when he was at university. He actually started out studying law at University College London (UCL).
David said, “I suppose like many students of my generation, I went to university not knowing what I wanted to do with my life.”
“I didn’t set out to be a writer; it just happened that way. I just started writing stuff then discovered I felt happier afterwards.”
David began his writing career by selling a short story to a magazine. After writing a highly critical letter to the NME, they invited him to write some reviews.
Describing the moment when he felt inspired to write for TV, David said, “I was sitting watching TV with a friend who turned to me and said ‘you could write better than this’ – and that really stayed with me; the idea that you don’t have to be the best – you just have to be better than what’s already out there.”
“Also, I was with Charlie Higson one day and I was moaning about this and that, saying how much I wanted to be a writer and he said ‘just fu**ing do it then’ – and that was just what I needed to hear.”
The work David is proudest of is a short film he made called Snodgrass.
David said, “I adapted a short story called Snodgrass – about what John Lennon would be like if he had never been famous and lived on. When I first read it, it hit me like a truck and I’m proud of the short film we created with Ian Hart playing Lennon.”
Another significant moment for David was his role in creating the world’s first internet sitcom – Junkies, which focuses on the lives of three heroin addicts.
Asked about the advice he would give to his students and other aspiring writers, David said, “It’s not a choice; if you’re a writer, it’s inside of you; it’s something you have to purge, you have to get out; there’s no decision there; it’s just who you are.”
The head of the University of Sunderland’s School of Media and Communications, Lee Hall, said, “David Quantick is a wordsmith, an innovator and a genius.”
“He has challenged authority, lampooned political buffoonery, and pushed the boundaries as a satirist and humourist.”
“The University of Sunderland hopes to mould a generation of ‘boundary breakers’ and David absolutely embodies that spirit.”