The remit of Radio 4 is to be a mixed speech service, offering in-depth news and current affairs and a wide range of other speech output including drama, readings, comedy, factual and magazine programmes.
The station should appeal to listeners seeking intelligent programmes in many genres which inform, educate and entertain.
BBC 7 launched in December 2002. It was renamed BBC Radio 7 in October 2008. It relaunched in April 2011 as BBC Radio 4 Extra. The digital network is the principal outlet for the BBC's archive of speech entertainment, including comedy, drama and readings.
More information on the remits can be found here for BBC Radio 4 and here for BBC Radio 4 Extra.
Anybody wishing to work with Radio 4 must read the Working with Radio 4 document .
RADIO 4 READINGS TENDER
The tender process for the production of Short Readings is now open.
The editorial brief is available in the downloads section on the right hand side of this page.
RADIO 4 SPRING COMMISSIONING ROUND PRE-OFFERS RESULTS
Thank you very much for all the ideas entered in the pre-offers phase of the Radio 4 main and drama commissioning rounds.
The results of both rounds are now visible in Proteus. Proposals are either re-requested or rejected. Re-requested offers are those we would like to hear more about and which you may wish to discuss at a meeting with a Commissioning Editor (for contact details, please see below). Please edit the proposals already entered and re-submit them (see p.4 of the Commissioning Guidelines); do not create a new/duplicate entry.
Owing to the number of proposals submitted we are unable to provide individual feedback on those pre-offers rejected.
Please note the final offers deadlines for drama (on Thursday 25 April) and for the main round (on Thursday 23 May) fall at midday.
Pre-offer meeting contact details:
Shauna Todd: 020 7765 0131 (Mohit Bakaya and Jane Ellison)
Fiona Bolwell: 020 7765 1534 (Caroline Raphael)
Vanessa Morris & Karen Howe: 020 3614 0333 (Tony Phillips). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tamsin Green: 020 7765 1871 (Jeremy Howe)
In this round we will commission the bulk of our programmes for 2014/15.
Comedy and entertainment slots will have a second round in Autumn 2013 to commission for the second half of 2014/15.
Please note that for drama the commissioning timetable is different, with earlier deadlines than other genres, because of the greater volume of reading required of the commissioning team.
Commissioning Guidelines on how to submit proposals, with an editorial brief for each slot, can be found on the right hand section of this page under the Downloads heading.
Radio 4 Commissioning Round dates, Spring 2013
21st Feb - Commissioning Guidelines Published on the R4 website
1st March - Briefing for Producers in Broadcasting House, London
28th March - Pre-offers Deadline
19th April - Pre-offers Results published
23rd May - Final Offers Deadline
18th July - Commissioning Results Published
Radio 4 Drama Commissioning Round dates, Spring 2013
24th Jan - Drama Commissioning Guidelines published on the R4 website
1st Feb - Briefing for drama producers in the Media Café, New BH
27th Feb - Drama pre-offers deadline
21st March - Drama pre-offers results published
25th April - Drama final offers deadline
18th July - Drama commissioning results published
The ad hoc round (Round 8) is always open for rolling commissioning and reactive ideas. From now until 31 March 2014, this round will be in Proteus as Round 8 2013 - 2014. For more information, please see the Working with Radio 4 document.
The Feedback tender is now closed. The outcome of this competitive process is that the commission has been awarded to Whistledown Productions.
The tender for Afternoon Drama is now closed. The outcome of this competitive process is that commissions have been won by the following companies:
Afonica Sound Productions
Catherine Bailey Productions
CPL Productions Ltd
Holy Mountain (Boz Temple-Morris Ltd trading as Holy Mountain)
Perfectly Normal Productions
Pier Productions Limited
Sweet Talk Productions Limited
Tigerlily Films Ltd
The New Unique Broadcasting Company Ltd
Woolyback Productions Ltd
The Radio 4 Short Readings tender is now open. The tenders for Book of the Week and Book at Bedtime and 4 Extra Short Readings will open in July. BBC Departments and Independent production companies will be invited to bid for a slate of business for broadcast between April 2014 and March 2016. Please note the 4 Extra Short Readings tender is open to indies only. For more information, please see the Readings documents in the downloads section on the right hand side of this webpage.
Radio 4 Short Readings Tender dates, Spring 2013
19 April - Tender Guidelines Published on the R4 website
27 June - Submissions Deadline
Late July - Results Published
Radio 4 Book of the Week, Book at Bedtime & 4 Extra Short Readings Tender dates, Spring 2013
5 July - Tender Guidelines Published on the R4 website
12 Sep - Submissions Deadline
Late Oct -Results Published
The next tender for Gardeners’ Question Time will be in autumn 2014, for a new contract to begin in August 2015.
Here at BBC Radio 4 we are essentially a commissioning centre, not a production department and we are unable to accept unsolicited programme ideas which have been sent directly to the network. In order to submit an offer to Radio 4, you will need to work with a production department/supplier. Please see the Ideas from the public page for more information.
Book At Bedtime, Book Of The Week & Short Stories
This business is tendered and won by selected producers. The current list of approved suppliers can be found in the document titled "Radio Production Contacts (Readings)", in the downloads section of this webpage. Additionally the BBC Writersroom occasionally post competitions for short stories on their website under "Opportunities".
For unsolicited scripts please see the Writing for the BBC pages.
Radio 4 schedules 13,000 programmes across 14 different genres each year and has a special commissioning process.
If you wish to hear details regarding the Radio 4 or 4 Extra commissioning rounds, you will need to be part of the Radio Independent Supplier Database and indicate that you wish to hear details about the networks.
If you are an independent company wishing to join the list, please complete the "Radio Indie Form" available in the downloads section on the right hand side of this webpage, and email it to Radio Commissioning Enquiries. All interested suppliers will receive copies of the guidelines for the main commissioning round, held in the spring, and for special tenders.
These contain guidance on:
• the commissioning process and timetable
• who is eligible to bid for particular slots
• editorial, audience and price requirements
• how to write and submit programme proposals
Once you have been commissioned and are working on your programme for Radio 4, please ensure you read the materials in the downloads section of this page about Working with Radio 4 or Working with Radio 4 Extra and Writing Programme Descriptions.
More information about the delivery requirements and production information can be found in the Production & Delivery pages and more resources to assist with production can be found on the Resources pages.
Information about contractual and legal aspects of commissioning can be found on the Radio Business Requirements page along with the complaints procedure for independent producers.
Radio 4 is a commissioning network and operates very differently to other radio networks. If you have any questions about the commissioning process, please contact the Radio 4 commissioning team on 020 7765 3366.
You can also find a glossary of frequently used terms for the BBC radio commissioning process on the FAQ tab at the top of this page.
Radio 4 Extra
BBC Radio 4 Extra purchases a certain number of ready-made programmes each year that match its editorial remit – archive or acquired comedy, entertainment, drama, readings and features. If you are interested you will have to be able to deliver and agree to the points in the Radio 4 Extra Acquisition Checklist (you can find a copy of this in the downloads section of the page on the right hand side). You may be asked to deliver the information in the acquisition checklist before final agreement is made and before a final contract is signed.
Writers Schedule R4 Extra
We provide information to our external partners to access advanced schedule information for Radio 4 Extra before it is finally confirmed for broadcast. The information is updated weekly, 12 weeks ahead of schedule. The password protected file can be accessed from the downloads section in the right hand side of this page entitled ‘Writers schedule R4 Extra’. For all queries and questions, please contact Paula.McDonnell@bbc.co.uk.
Caroline Raphael is Commissioning Editor for Comedy & Fiction, responsible for all comedy and entertainment output, Book at Bedtime and Short Readings. She is also Commissioning Editor for Radio 4 Extra.
Mohit Bakaya, Commissioning Editor, Specialist Factual, takes lead responsibility for current affairs, politics, natural history, health, science and religion strands. He commissions the history, social affairs and investigative current affairs documentaries in the evenings on Radio 4. He also commissions the Science, Archive on 4, Wednesday Debate and Four Thought slots.
Tony Phillips, Commissioning Editor, Arts, takes responsibility for music, arts and poetry documentaries, and arts strands including: Open Book, The Film Programme, Bookclub, Saturday Review, A Good Read, Word of Mouth, With Great Pleasure. Tony is also Commissioning Editor for the World Service where he is responsible for documentaries, The Strand, World Bookclub, The Forum and Heart and Soul.
Jane Ellison, Commissioning Editor, General Factual, commissions features, documentaries and narrative history scheduled in the day time slots (9 am, 11am and Saturday 10.30). She is responsible for the business strands and rural affairs output. She also commissions Book of the Week and One to One.
Denis Nowlan, Network Manager, is responsible for planning the commissioning process. He is also commissioning editor for the independent strands Feedback and Gardener’s Question Time and The Kitchen Cabinet.
All commissions are signed off by Controller Radio 4, Gwyneth Williams.
Find more contact details for the Radio 4 team.
If you would like to know more about BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra programmes, content and schedules, please visit the Radio 4 station websites.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.