Janice Hally - Biography

Janice Hally is a Scottish screenwriter with more than 300 broadcast hours of

prime-time television drama to her credit.

She has written fiction and non-fiction books.

Her latest book, published by French publisher Hachette,

is Ask No Questions, is a psychological mystery and the follow-up to Distant Echo featuring French psychologist Alexandre Lelong.

Current television drama commissions include the adaptation of her novel “Looking for the Zee” as a teleplay for French television, and the adaptation of Peter May’s “Enzo Files” as a six part TV series for French television, both currently in development with French Film and TV production company, LM les Films.

She lives in France and is married to internationally best-selling author Peter May.

Full biographical details...

International Playwriting Award

Janice Hally began writing drama and plays while still at school, and was intent on becoming a theatre playwright. 

At the age of 18 she won a place on Scottish Youth Theatre’s inaugural Young Playwright’s workshop where she was mentored by Scottish poet and playwright Stewart Conn, and worked with writer and producer Tom Kinninmont. 

She went on to study English Literature and Drama at Glasgow University where she was able to write and direct plays in her spare time for the Student Theatre Group. 

In the year that she graduated with her Master of Arts, her first full-length play, Ready or Not won the ISPC international playwriting award judged by Alan Ayckbourn. 

Play Banned from Edinburgh Stage

On the eve of the first professional production of Ready or Not as part of a playwriting festival in Edinburgh, the play was deemed too controversial and “salacious” by the festival’s sponsors and the production was banned from the stage. 

With a fully-rehearsed cast of professional actors and an age-old rivalry between Edinburgh and Hally’s home town of Glasgow, the show was booked without hesitation by Glasgow’s Tron Theatre and transferred to the West coast with the publicity that it was the play that was “too hot” for audiences in the East. 

Its successful run in Glasgow led to interest from television producers and within weeks, at the age of 22,  Janice Hally had her first contract as a television screenwriter.

Best New Writer to Television

Ready or Not was produced, and broadcast the following year on the UK’s Independent Television Network and Hally was shortlisted, at the age of 23, in the category of Best New Writer to Television in the PYE Television Awards. 

Under the mentorship of veteran drama director and producer, Leonard White and Scottish Television’s head of drama, Robert Love, she was commissioned to write several more single plays specifically for television and began her career as a full-time writer.

Prime Time, Top Ten, Television Drama

During the 15 years that followed the award, she went on to become one of Scotland's most prolific television writers, garnering more than 650 credits for drama series, single screenplays and children's drama. 

She was responsible for some of the most highly-rated drama in her homeland amounting to more than 300 broadcast hours of television drama, as creator, storyliner and scriptwriter. 

During the years that she was writing for Take The High Road it was the #1 rated show in Scotland with more than 6 million viewers UK-wide.

First Ever Gaelic TV Serial

In the 1990s, working with Peter May, she co-created the ground-breaking Gaelic drama serial Machair.  She wrote each of the scene-by-scene breakdowns of its epic 99-episode story arc and was shortlisted for the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain Best Non-English Language Award for her writing on the show.

In spite of the fact that only 2 per cent of the Scottish population speak Gaelic, the show was aired in prime time with English subtitles, and succeeded in capturing a 30 per cent audience share, regularly making it into the Top Ten in the Scottish ratings.

Non Fiction Writing

Janice's involvement in children's drama led her to write Modelling and Acting for Kids, a handbook for young people and their parents on how to avoid the pitfalls and make a success of the modelling and acting business.

Her book, Freelance Writing: how to make a living as a freelance writer is a compilation of 67 articles written during her time as topic editor in the ‘Freelance Writing’ and ‘Writing for Stage and Screen’ sections of Suite101 magazine.


Janice has also written fiction in prose. Her romantic comedy Looking for the Zee was published in the USA by Miramont Media.

Her psychological mysteries, Distant Echo and Ask No Questions, featuring the main character, psychologist Alexandre Lelong, were published by French publisher Hachette. They are part of the series “Paper Planes” which the imprint Editions Didier intend to use to break in to the English language market in France. 


Janice wrote the scene-by-scene treatment for the movie screenplay for Les Disparues, the big screen adaptation of Peter May's The Killing Room for French film production company, The French Connection.

She also wrote the film screenplay for Meurtres a Pékin adapted from May’s The Firemaker for KUIV Productions in France.

She is currently working on the adaptation of her own novel Looking for the Zee for French television as a 2-hour teleplay under the title “L’Invention de Toi et Moi”. The work has been commissioned by French film & TV production company LM les Films.


Janice has ghostwritten a variety of books and screenplays for clients in the USA.


Janice has been also been sought after to pass her skills on to others:

  1.   Scottish Television approached Janice Hally and Peter May to devise and run a course on Creating and Writing Television Drama.

  2.   The European Film College in Denmark recently invited them to lead a practical project on Creating Serial Drama for Television, subsequently broadcast on Danish Television.

  3.   She has been a guest lecturer at her Alma Mater, Glasgow University.

  4.   She ran an adult education course in Writing for Television, for Strathclyde Regional Council.

  5.   She tutored a course entitled Starting to Write Drama for the Arvon Foundation at Lumb Bank in England.

  6.   In between travel and writing commitments, she and Peter very occasionally offer their successful 7-day writing course, Kick Start Your Project in France.

Website Design

When she first moved to France, Janice became involved in website design, creating and maintaining websites for several authors and artists.  In 2009 she designed and managed the first ever virtual mystery and crime writing conference, PPWebCon for Poisoned Pen Press.  The website contained more than 500 pages, and involved over 50 authors in a live event which brought authors and fans from all over the world together through 10 hours of live and recorded events using video, audio and text.

She is also responsible for the Author Interviews Channel on YouTube for Poisoned Pen Press - creating online versions of the Criminal Calendar TV show where Barbara Peters interviews the world's best crime and mystery authors.

Personal Life

Janice met her husband, best-selling author Peter May, when they were both young writers on Scotland's top-rated TV drama at that time.

After working together for 7 years, they were married in 1990 and spent most of the 1990s working on the TV drama Machair which they co-created.

They left their native Scotland in 2002 to live in South West France where Peter now concentrates on writing novels.

Accompanying Peter on the research trips for his award-winning China Thrillers means that Janice has traveled extensively in China and the USA; his Enzo Files series means a lot of travel in France and western Europe; and his latest Lewis Trilogy, set in the outer Hebrides has meant regular trips back to their Scottish homeland.

About Janice Hally...