Blake Ayshford is writing a pilot for the BBC, a comedy-drama set in the near future in which an Uber-like app provides emotional labour for time-poor people.
The writer-producer likens the project entitled Hearts to a cross between the Netflix series Black Mirror and The Breaker Upperers, the Kiwi comedy created by Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek.
The app enables people to employ ‘hearts’ to undertake such tasks as having dinner with him or her after their spouse has died, or simply attending a work function as a proxy.
Ayshford is writing the pilot for Castlefield, a Fremantle backed, Manchester-based production company founded by ex-BBC North producers Hilary Martin and Simon Judd.
“It’s been a lot of fun working on it so far but we are only at pilot stage so not exactly a story yet,” he tells IF.
The writer’s first UK assignment was writing an episode of Requiem, the BBC/Netflix supernatural drama/thriller created and co-written by Kris Mrksa and directed by Mahalia Belo.
He’s also been adapting Louise Doughty’s novel Whatever You Love as a series which follows a woman who sets out to avenge the death of her nine-year-old daughter, the victim of a hit-and-run accident, for the UK’s Eleventh Hour Films, producer/actor David Morrissey and ITV.
Last year he served as the script producer/head writer on the second season of the ABC/Bunya Productions’ Mystery Road, collaborating with Kodie Bedford, Steven McGregor, Timothy Lee and Danielle MacLean.
Wayne Blair and Warwick Thornton directed the series starring Aaron Pedersen, Sofia Helin, Callan Mulvey, Rob Collins and Tasma Walton, produced by David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin.
“Mystery Road 2 was an incredible experience,” he says. “David and Greer really pushed me creatively, we had great writers and working with Wayne Blair and Warwick Thornton was a career highlight.”