Kay Mellor OBE is a Leeds born and bred Writer, Director and Actress best known for her work on several successful and groundbreaking drama series’ including Fat Friends, Band of Gold, The Syndicate and most recently Girlfriends. She is also well known for her stage version of A Passionate Woman, which played in the West End and is still touring to this day both nationally and internationally.
Kay attended Bretton Hall College and graduated with a BA Hons degree in 1983. After finishing her studies, she formed Yorkshire Theatre Company, where she wrote and performed in Paul – Won Best New Play in the National Student Drama Festival - Climbing Out and Mates, and performed in Brecht’s Man is Man. Kay also played Dr Baker in The Practice, PC Kershaw in Albion Market and Mrs Butterworth in All Creatures Great and Small. She then began working for Granada Television, working on their hugely popular soap opera Coronation Street, the most watched programme on the ITV network. In 1989 she also wrote many episodes for the popular Channel 4 soap opera Brookside.
Kay wrote for the anthology drama series Dramarama, before in 1988 co-creating the long- running children's drama Children’s Ward with her Coronation Street colleague Paul Abbott. The series was awarded Best Children’s Drama by the Royal Television Society in 1995, and won Best Children’s Drama in the 1997 BAFTA Awards. She also created the soap opera Families (1990-1993) and wrote and starred in four series’ of the family show Just Us (1990 – 1994) which, amongst other accolades, was awarded Best Children’s TV programme by the Writers Guild of Great Britain.
Since then, Kay has written a host of highly-acclaimed and popular television drama serials including: Two series’ of Band of Gold (1995, Royal Televsion Society Best Network Programme and ITV Programme Of The Year); Five series’ of Playing the Field (1998, twice BAFTA nominated for Best Drama Series); Four Series’ of Fat Friends (2000, twice BAFTA nominated and James Corden nominated for The Royal Television Society Network Newcomer in 2001, as well as winning various TV industry awards for Best Drama), Between the Sheets (2003), Strictly Confidential (2006), The Chase (2006), A Passionate Woman (2010, nominated for a Royal Television Society Award), The Syndicate (2012-2015, nominated for various Royal Television Society awards) and In The Club (2014-16).
Outside of television, Kay has written a number of feature films including: Girls Night starring Julie Walters, Brenda Blethyn and Kris Kristofferson (1998, won the Audience Prize at the Sundance Film Festival); In 1999 she both wrote and directed the feature film Fanny and Elvis, starring Ray Winstone, which won the Audience Prize at the Dinard British Film Festival, amongst others; and one off drama Some Kind of Life which was BAFTA nominated and won the Prix Niki Award.
In her parallel career as a television actress, Kay has appeared in her own adaptation of Jane Eyre (1997) and in other series such as the comedy drama Stan the Man (2002), A Good Thief (2002) and Gifted (2003). On stage, Kay has acted in Three Girls in Blue and she wrote and starred in the one-woman show Queen at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Kay was awarded the BAFTA Dennis Potter Award in 1997 for Outstanding Writing for Television. She was appointed an OBE in the 2009 Birthday Honours, and in 2014 she was awarded the Writers Guild Award for Outstanding Contribution to Writing. Kay received a Fellowship for significant contribution to television from the Royal Television Society in November 2016.
Kay wrote and exec produced Love, Lies & Records for BBC One in November 2017; wrote and directed Girlfriends for ITV in January 2018; and exec produced Overshadowed for BBC Three (2017).
Kay’s stage show Fat Friends The Musical toured UK theatres in 2017/18, and 2019 saw the launch of her next theatre project – a stage adaptation of hit TV series Band Of Gold.
In February 2020, Kay was awarded the Broadcast Special Recognition Award, which coincided with the announcement of her latest commission for BBC1 – a fourth series of the hit lottery winner drama, The Syndicate, which aired on BBC1 in March/April 2021.
Kay is passionate about mentoring new and emerging talent and is supporting six writers through initiatives with the BBC and Leeds Playhouse.