WHO I AM

About Neil

Neil McCarthy has worked extensively in the South African entertainment industry as a scriptwriter, director, producer, actor and presenter, and is one of the most highly experienced screenwriters in the country. He worked as senior creative on some of the most successful local TV productions over the last three decades: for the SABC (Lithapo, Mzansi, Zero Tolerance, Going Up), eTV (Umlilo) and DStv (Isibaya, Isono), and was co-creator of two of the most popular long running daily soaps in the country - Isidingo and Rhythm City.

As head writer, he and his writing teams have won four South African Film & Television Awards.

From 2010 to 2013 he was based in London as Senior Vice President in the Worldwide Drama Department at Fremantle Media, travelling widely as a consultant across the group’s drama properties in both Europe and Australia, including a key period spent on the set-up phase of Ruža vjetrova, a new daily soap in Croatia.

In 2017 he wrote the script for the feature film Mayfair, which had two sold-out screenings at the London Film Festival, followed by a national cinema release in South Africa, where it is currently available to stream on Showmax.

During 2018 Neil was head writer on the telenovela Lithapo for SABC 2 and from 2019 to 2020 was head writer on Isono for Viacom International’s pan-African channel BET Africa. Isono also screened free-to-air in South Africa on e.tv and is now available on Netflix.

He is currently scriptwriting for two daily dramas, Gomora on Mzansi Magic and Showmax, and Nikiwe for national broadcaster eTV, sits on a judging panel for the National Film & Video Foundation, and is also an external script reader for The Market Theatre in Johannesburg. He works extensively with MultiChoice Talent Factory across sub-Saharan Africa, delivering a range of scriptwriting courses and masterclasses.

He regularly attends national and international markets and festivals including MIP Africa, MIPTV, Series Mania, the Durban International Film Festival, the London Film Festival and the Galway Film Fleadh in Ireland.


Neil is a skilled storyteller, a consummate professional and a pleasure to work with.
- Nimrod Geva, Quizzical Pictures