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Fat Friends and In The Club creator Kay Mellor tells Fertility Road how teen pregnancy shaped her career, why she believes we need to talk more about surrogacy and the real-life story which inspired the onscreen ‘miracle’ pregnancy.

When Kay Mellor finally got round to creating hit BBC drama In The Club it was her opportunity to tackle the subject closest to her heart: motherhood. Set in Leeds, the series follows the lives of six couples who bond in their antenatal classes and digs deep into the fears, heartache and drama that can surround pregnancy.

“I had the idea quite a while ago but wrote Fat Friends instead, and I thought to myself ‘it’s a shame I never wrote that’ because there’s a lot to be said about birth and life itself,” explains Mellor. “It’s the ultimate creation, isn’t it? Life – you can’t create anything more than that and it is life-changing. Life will never be the same again after you’ve had a child.”

Mellor knows this better than anyone, having had a child herself aged just 16. Her own teenage pregnancy, she admits, was a catalyst that led to her career as one of Britain’s best-loved television writers and the subject of family and parenthood is a common theme throughout her work. She is often praised as a writer for creating characters who feel genuine and have great depth and warmth. Many of her shows are set in Leeds, where she was born and still lives, and exude that northern spirit and ability to find humour in even the most harrowing situations. Perhaps that’s why the drama has proved such a hit; it’s honest, bittersweet and fearless in covering every aspect of modern parenthood from same-sex partners to infertility.

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