IF 2020 was a film, it would be the ultimate disaster movie, with extreme weather across the world then compounded with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic on top of anti-racism marches and huge political upheaval.

However, if you pitched that to a movie studio, they would be forgiven for thinking it was all a little over the top.

But for one Shropshire screenwriter carving out a career in Hollywood, she thinks having now lived through one for so long, they're a bit easier to believe.

Catherine Wignall, daughter of Ellesmere College headteacher and Ellesmere town councillor Brendan and Anne, is based back at home for now, having lived through a tumultuous year on America's west coast.

The peak of her year came when her Hulu Original 'Crawlers' premiered and her reputation grew as part of BAFTA LA, with plenty of work coming in.

She says the speed at which the world changed for her was 'incredible' and described just some of the challenges the year has thrown at her.

"It was definitely odd – I was in LA and I was hanging around with my friends," said Catherine, who was a BAFTA scholar in 2018.

"We went to a winery, I was still enjoying life though hearing snippets about the virus but still hanging out in the car, the four of us without masks.

"I had the premiere of my movie but we were using a bit more hand sanitiser than we previously did and we were vaguely aware that the thing may be in California.

"But I was still taking public transport though I could see people were wearing masks and I was thinking should I do that?

"I pitched a movie to Hallmark and I think the next day, everything was going to close down and suddenly my roommate and I were stuck in our little rooms in our apartment in North Hollywood.

"The mask mandate came in much earlier than it did in the UK; I think we had to start wearing masks in April but in the UK, shops didn't introduce it until July.

"My friend woke me at 6am one morning to tell me the National Guard might have to come to LA and I couldn't believe it, and it was to do with food issues.

"If you went to the store, everything was gone. We went one day to check it out and we queued for an hour and 45 minutes, and everyone was crammed together at this point.

"Hollywood kind of shut down then and everyone just re-orientated to working from home so there was a bit of a pause."

Catherine's day-to-day life still found time to create new challenges, included the increased police presence on the streets for protest marches after the killing of George Floyd in America.

And her own neighbourhood managed to also throw up some interesting days, all while she was working.

She added: "North Hollywood is known as an 'up-and-coming are' where a lot of creatives who haven't hit the big time but have done a bit go.

"It's ok but we have an app that warns us about stuff that's going on and there was a man who was walking around with a machete. We'd always have to check if it was safe to go for a walk and if he was about.

"I was thinking I want to be back in Shropshire where this doesn't happen!

"The mayor gave no notice of curfews because of the riots. It was my birthday and I had arranged to meet some friends in the park but 10 minutes after sorting out to meet, we all got a city-wide text to say everyone off the streets in 20 minutes.

"I had to call them and cancel to go home and not be arrested – it was chaotic, the mayor didn't know what he was doing and it wasn't a great time.

"I was starting to pitch to companies in my room and it was weird having my bed in the background, but it was the same for them.

"My friends were starting to leave LA for the obvious reasons but I didn't know if I should stay as Wuhan only had a 70-day lockdown.

"I spoke to my parents and said it wasn't going to improve. We also had a helicopter going around for about 90 minutes so we checked the neighbourhood alert and there was an armed stand-off.

"Down the street, a guy with a crossbow and a gun had shot his apartment so there were snipers on the roof.

"I spoke to my manager and we agreed that I could do everything from home, being careful around time zones.

"I came back in July and I was able to pay for business class which was empty so I chose the right time."

Catherine has been home ever since, albeit largely on Pacific Standard Time. She added: "While here, I can keep working.

"Over the weekend I was in a production meeting for a book to TV adaptation I'm doing, and I'm still pitching to Warner Bros and MGM.

"People are happy with me being here because whereas before you *had* to be in LA – I love it and happy to go back – but there is more openness about online and not having to be there."