Tuesday, 31 March 2009


I've been keeping an eye on this site for seven or eight years.

When it first started out it came across with a patronising tone - 'Think you can write? Have YOU got what it takes? Set your brains on fire with these simple exercises you can try at home ... '

Since then the Writers' Room has shaped up into a more focussed resource with a more professional tone. (Though I still sometimes come away from the site feeling as though I've been patted on the head for the past twenty minutes.)

Still ... for writers wanting to break into radio and TV drama it's an extremely useful first-stop resource.

Every year the BBC has to fill around 400 hours of air-time with original TV drama. According to John Yorke (see this post about the peer-review site ProfWriting), Controller of Drama, " The BBC is endlessly looking for new writers."

The site is packed with information - interviews with TV sit-com and drama series writers, producers, commissioners for radio, tips for writing, FREE downloads of screenwriting software, and writing tips, etc. etc. etc..

The most useful resource is probably found under Opportunities in the sidebar - a very useful up-to-date rolling list of links to, yes, you guessed, opportunities for writers.

And the BBC is not just interested in drama - they also broadcast short-stories and monologues, as well as serialised versions of contemporary published fiction and non-fiction.

Writers in English in the States, or Ireland, or outwith the Commonwealth, may think the BBC will not be interested. Well, I'm not so sure.

For example today is the deadline for the International Radio Play Writing Competition (2,500 British units of a devaluing currency to the winner, plus a paid-for visit to London to sit in on production). I've been through the rules and there's nothing there I can see which would disbar you from entering next year. You have exactly a year to to find out any different and put an entry together. [A savvy writer could include this as an objective within a strategy to build presence within a global English reading audience. The selected play is broadcast on the World Service - 183 million listeners - you can't buy advertising like that.]

And, in a video slot, John Yorke refers to the BBC gradually adopting U.S. TV drama series production values and practices. This video is probably a good place to start if you need an overview of the BBC's demand for quality TV drama.

What else? Well, best thing is go there and check it out. Have fun. Please let us know how you get on.

Sorry, couldn't resist putting this up.

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