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John Yorke

/ , Narrative expert

John Yorke is widely acknowledged as the UK’s foremost expert on story.

He has spent years analysing not just how stories work but why they resonate with audiences around the globe, and his book, Into the Woods, is the UK’s bestselling book on the subject.

As former Head of Channel4 Drama, Controller of BBC Drama Production and MD of Company Pictures, John has tested his theories during an extensive production career working on some of the world’s most lucrative, widely viewed and critically acclaimed TV drama, from EastEnders to Shameless, Life on Mars and Wolf Hall.

John founded and leads both John Yorke Story and the hugely successful BBC Studios Writers’ Academy.

He has trained some of the most successful and prolific screenwriters working today, who have created on gone on to write for shows including The Crown, Killing Eve, Pure, Father Brown, Doctor Who, Watership Down, and Deadwater Fell. Alumni have nominations and wins for a range of awards, including an Emmy, Oscar, and BAFTA.

His awards include:

  • Golden Globe, 2016 – Wolf Hall (Exec Producer)
  • 2 BAFTAs, 2016 – Wolf Hall (Exec Producer)
  • BAFTA, 2019 – Eastenders (Story Consultant)


John’s approach to story

As outlined in Into the Woods, John’s premise is that a universal structure underpins all successful stories, whatever their genre, format or content. Once we recognise why all narratives share a common act structure, we become able to tell any story – and communicate any message – more successfully.

Into the Woods appears on the reading list of every university writing course in the UK and is a highly regarded read among TV, film, radio and podcast, video games, publishing and advertising professionals.

More on Into the Woods

Speaker and consultant

John’s a keynote speaker, appearing at conferences and symposiums around the world including VAF Story Conference, Game Developers Conference, London Screenwriters’ Festival, and the ScreenCraft Writers Summit.

He works as a story consultant for organisations including Ogilvy, The European Speechwriters Network, The Market Research Society, Verizon, Freemantle Media and the BBC.

Throughout 2023, John is hosting the BBC Radio 4 series Opening Lines and unpacking popular stories.

Listen to John’s Spotify playlist

Angel Station

As Managing Director of Angel Station, John works as a drama producer, consultant and lecturer on all forms of storytelling.

Award-winning Irish soap opera Red Rock, co-produced by Angel Station and Element Pictures, launched on TV3 in January 2015 to critical acclaim. The series was sold to Amazon Prime, after being broadcast daily on BBC Daytime from 2016.

To contact John about Angel Station, please email: [email protected].

Working with John

What people say


More from John

Black and white image of a woman writing

How to master five-act structure

John Yorke works with a screenwriter as she learns to master the core elements of five-act structure: inciting incidents, moments of hope and despair, and the point of no return.

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