Romantic comedy Rye Lane charmed audiences earlier this year with its jaunty look at two urban lovebirds meeting cute on the streets of south London. It seems apt, then, that its co-writers — actor and author Nathan Bryon and former Hollyoaks writer Tom Melia — should have had a meet-cute of their own: a post-wrap party conversation over a bucket of fried chicken that prompted a decision to pool their talents.

“Most good things don’t happen at 4:30am in a KFC in Glasgow,” laughs Bryon, whose acting CV includes supporting roles in TV’s Benidorm and Ghosts. “But our sensibilities were the same, our outlooks were similar and what we wanted to create felt aligned.”

The BBC Three project that brought them together — a comedy called Fail in which Bryon appeared that grew out of a web series Melia had made starring his sister Charlotte — did not progress beyond pilot stage. Rye Lane, in contrast, was an idea with a future, attracting high-profile backers (BBC Film, BFI and Disney’s Searchlight Pictures) and an ascendant director (2021 Screen Star of Tomorrow Raine Allen-Miller) en route to a Sundance premiere and a spring release that grossed £1.2m ($1.5m) in the UK and Ireland. Disney-owned Hulu hosted its streaming debut Stateside.

According to Melia, Rye Lane drew on its co-writers’ “unapologetic love for the rom-com genre” and their desire to create “films with a lot of heart”.

“Even if we were to write a film on a spaceship orbiting Earth, it would still have authentic characters,” Melia adds. “Our sweet spot is films about people who feel like people.”

Nat And Dan Bought A Van (working title), a comedy they are writing for Vertigo Films, will continue in that vein by telling of a newly separated couple kept together by a food truck they own. It is, says Bryon, “a joyous, different take on the rom‑com” that, in Melia’s words, “explores how you keep the spark going in a long-term relationship”.

While both writers also have a number of solo projects in the works, other scripts in development together include a zombie horror-comedy “with big action sequences” for BBC Film and Pulse Films; a time-travel picture called Bad Time that will mark the feature directing debut of acclaimed music video director Henry Scholfield; and Broke, an original series about twenty­somethings for MindsEye. “We’ve always been writers with lots of pokers in the fire,” says Melia. “It feels like we are breathing rarefied air, and we would be mad not to roll with all these opportunities.”

Contact — Nathan Bryon Marc Simonsson, MMB Creative

Contact — Tom Melia Nick Turner, Nick Turner Management