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Screenwriter tracks success with new TV series

By Xu Fan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-03-06 16:34

The TV series stars actor Bai Jingting as a young railway police officer. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Gao Mantang, an award-winning screenwriter, found that for a considerable period, he hesitated to enter his study and begin scriptwriting work each morning. Instead, he would brew a cup of tea, check his smartphone, or play with his puppy.

However, the TV series Always on the Move unexpectedly reduced his procrastination in writing, allowing him to once again enjoy the pleasure of inspiration surging and the galloping creativity.

Recently, during a symposium held in Beijing, Gao recalled the creative process, speaking that writing the script for the 39-episode drama was a joyful experience.

Starting in 1978, the drama begins with high adrenaline as Wang Xin, a young police officer, undertakes his first patrol on a speeding train in northeastern China. Quickly entangled in a chase to apprehend a thief who steals money meant for a man's fiancee, chaos escalates. As Wang pursues a handcuffed man on the train, who is revealed to be a wrongly accused police officer, the man ultimately becomes Wang's best partner and mentor.

Spanning four decades, the drama chronicles how the duo, dedicated to safeguarding the lives and property of passengers, also witness the vast transformation of China's railway system, evolving from steam locomotives to electronic trains and high-speed bullet trains.

Director Zheng Xiaolong at the Beijing symposium of his TV drama Always on the Move. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The drama began airing on CCTV-8 in February, setting a record with its ratings to become the most-watched drama during its prime time slot on the broadcaster, according to the television project tracker Kuyun.

It was also streamed on iQiyi, reaching 29.8 percent of the total audience on the online platform, making it the most-watched drama on the site. Additionally, it has sparked some trending topics online, as evidenced by garnering 15.5 billion views on related short videos on Douyin and receiving over 2.5 billion clicks on related topics on Sina Weibo.

Director Zheng Xiaolong, who also attended the symposium, said that the drama marks his first cooperation with Gao, recalling that when he received the script, he almost read it all in one go, and the script's vivid portrayal of life immediately sparked his creative impulse.

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