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Radio 4 / Radio 4 Extra




Radio4 & Radio 4Xtra

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 in the downloads section on the right hand side of this page.

Commissioning News   

The Working with Radio 4 Document has been updated. The revised document can be found in the downloads section of this webpage.
Please note the following sections in particular have changed:
·         Legal & Business requirements
·         Technical requirements
·         Topicality statuses
·         Radio 4 Contacts
·         Radio previews
·         Referrals
·         Repeats
·         Rolling or ‘ad hoc’ commissions

Commissioning Rounds 

The timetable for the Autumn 2014 Commissioning Round is now published in the Autumn Comedy Commissioning Guidelines document. The guidelines tell you how to submit proposals and include an editorial brief for each slot. 

Autumn Comedy Commissioning Guidelines

Unfortunately there was an administrative error with the comedy commissioning guidelines and a page with information about the kinds of programme not being sought in the round was omitted. The guidelines have now been amended and are available to download.

We recommend you look at this information should you be intending to submit any final offersand we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Rolling Commissions

The ad hoc round (Round 8) is always open for rolling commissioning and reactive ideas. From now until 31 March 2015, this round will be in Proteus as Round 8 2014 - 2015. 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 Something Understood tender is now closed. The outcome of this competitive process is that commissions have been awarded to Unique Productions, Falling Tree Productions and 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
  • Goldhawk Productions
  • Holy Mountain (Boz Temple-Morris Ltd trading as Holy Mountain)
  • Pacificus Productions
  • Perfectly Normal Productions
  • Pier Productions Limited
  • Somethin’ Else
  • Sweet Talk Productions Limited
  • Tigerlily Films Ltd
  • The New Unique Broadcasting Company Ltd
  • Woolyback Productions Ltd 

The Radio 4 Short Readings tender is now closed. The outcome of this competitive process is that commissions have been won by the following companies and departments:

  • BBC Northern Ireland – Drama
  • BBC Scotland - Drama
  • BBC Radio Drama - London
  • BBC R&M Factual - Bristol
  • Heavy Entertainment Ltd
  • Pier Productions Ltd
  • Sweet Talk Productions Ltd
  • The Waters Partnership t/a The Waters Company

The tenders for Book of the Week and Book at Bedtime, which included Short Readings on 4 Extra, are now closed. The outcome of this competitive process is that commissions have been won by the following companies and departments:



  • BBC London Readings Unit
  • BBC Scotland
  • Heavy Entertainment Limited
  • Loftus Media Limited
  • Pacificus Productions
  • Pier Productions Limited
  • Sweet Talk Productions Limited
  • The Waters Company


  • BBC Bristol
  • BBC London Readings Unit
  • BBC Northern Ireland
  • BBC Scotland
  • Pier Productions Limited
  • Sweet Talk Productions Limited
  • The Waters Company


  • Pier Productions Limited
  • Sweet Talk Productions Limited
  • The Waters Company

The next tender for Gardeners’ Question Time will be in autumn 2014, for a new contract to begin in August 2015

Programme Ideas

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.

Commissioning process

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 

After Commissioning

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.

Further Information

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

Acquisition Checklist

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 Rachel Tappin  


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, BookclubSaturday 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.

Jeremy Howe is Commissioning Editor for Drama and is responsible for all drama output.

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.

Want to find out more about BBC Radio 4?

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.







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