A Sit Down with Scriptwriter, David Isaac, Class of 1987

David Isaac, Class of 1987, has worked as a scriptwriter for over 15 years. He currently writes for Coronation Street, with other notable credits to his name including working on the Lee Mack sitcom Not Going Out and his own sitcom, Lunch Monkeys.

Scriptwriting wasn’t actually my first career. I studied Law at university and was a lawyer for 13 years. I’ll be honest, I hated every minute of it. So, I did an MA in something I was actually passionate about: Scriptwriting for TV and Radio. I’d go in once a week after work, and those four hours were the highlight of my week.

It’s been a bumpy road to earn a living as a writer. It’s a tricky industry – you’re essentially writing and hoping someone will pay you for what you’ve done. I received rejection after rejection, but eventually someone said, “we quite like this”. Of course, my work still wasn’t perfect, so I learnt to develop my skills and send something better back. I pursued every lead I knew in the industry. I was introduced to Channel K and wrote a sitcom pilot called Admin (later renamed Lunch Monkeys), based loosely around a law firm. It ended up having two series.


But then, the work dried up. I had several years where I felt lost in the wilderness. I’d given up law and was earning a pittance as a writer. To get by, I created and taught my own sitcom-writing class and signed up to do a PGCE – which was even harder than being a lawyer! Thankfully, I managed to get a job as a script editor on the daytime soap Doctors. From there I moved to Coronation Street, where I eventually joined the writing team. It was a long journey, but I feel like I’ve reached somewhere where I know what I’m doing and I enjoy doing it. 

david isaac

Working for Corrie has been a dream. As they’ve been going for six decades, the show runs like a well-oiled machine. There’s such a variety in the storylines, from dramatic car crashes to heart-breaking suicides. There have been so many iconic stories over the years, but one of my favourites to be involved with has to be the Pat Phelan serial killer storyline – it had so many twists and turns. I love the humour that’s interlaced with Corrie too; it’s great to write for characters that I grew up watching, like Steve McDonald. 


Another big success for me was writing a film for cinema. It’s called Eaten By Lions and at the time of writing is still available to watch on BBC iPlayer. It was well-received by critics, and I’m really proud of it. I also had a play performed at The Lowry called The House That Stank of Death, a horror/comedy anthology of six short plays and films.

My experience at Cheadle Hulme School was great. I loved school, and my teachers really encouraged me. It helped me follow that traditional route: study A Levels, go to university, and get a steady job. Ultimately, that wasn’t the path I should have taken – but as a teenager, I didn’t realise that.


That’s why I suggest school-aged kids take the time to think. Really consider what you want to do for a living, and what you might enjoy. You don’t have to go down that standard route and get lost in the wilderness like me. And the sooner you start thinking about what you want to do, the sooner you can find a way to get experience and make a career in it.

I also recommend that they appreciate their education. I’d love to experience school all over again. I wasn’t aware of the great opportunities I had to learn something and develop myself – I was an average student, but I could have done so much better if I’d worked harder. Education really is wasted on the young.