It was while working as a freelance financial and business journalist that Joseph Charlton had the idea for his first play Brilliant Jerks, a fictionalised story around the creation of Uber, which he is currently adapting into an eight-part returnable TV series with the UK’s New Pictures. “I was interviewing drivers and speaking to coders, and that fed into my work,” says Charlton, who decided to leave journalism to focus on his own writing career after securing an agent on the back of the play’s run at the 2018 edition of London’s Vault Festival.

“People thought I was mad because I had a stable job, but being a journalist has stood me in good stead because I know how to find a good story,” says Charlton, who grew up outside Newcastle and is now based in London.

He went on to write Anna X (which he is also adapting for TV with New Pictures), inspired by fake heiress Anna Delvey, earning a best actress Olivier award nomination in 2022 for Emma Corrin and attracting the attention of Mickey Down and Konrad Kay, creators of HBO series Industry, which centres around young bankers in London. Having written an episode for season two, Charlton is now onboard as a series consulting producer (and writer of one episode) for season three, which is in production. “I think having all worked in different fields before starting to write — me in journalism, those guys in banking — we share a common love of realism, detail and wanting to recreate the finance sector as accurately as possible,” says Charlton, who also has a new play in the pipeline for the National Theatre.

Meanwhile for film, director Kevin Macdonald spotted Charlton’s potential and brought him on to co-write thriller A Spy By Nature, about an agent starting out his career in the secret service while trying to manage his personal life; Paul Mescal is attached to star.

Charlton may be making a name for himself as a writer focused on tech and the world of work, but when it comes to his dream of writing and directing his first feature, he would like to make an “ultra-modern romance”. As he explains, “The world of work is fascinating, and tech affects our generation hugely — but it’s the contemporary human relationships underneath those themes that I am most interested in.”

Contact: Jenn Morgan, Curtis Brown