The Show What You Wrote is BBC Radio 4’s new comedy sketch show - written by you.
The Show What You Wrote is BBC Radio 4’s new sketch show. Each episode is themed around a specific genre, and it’s all written by you. This is a showcase for new comedy writing, an opportunity for you to get involved in creating a show that sounds different from any other sketch show out there. And it will be produced and recorded in Manchester.
The themes for each episode are:
1) Thriller / Suspense
2) Kitchen Sink Drama
3) Science Fiction & Horror
5) Historical / costume drama
We’re not looking for this to become a film parody sketch show, the themes are there to help get you started. So ‘Thriller’ could be something to do with: Mystery, conspiracy, impending doom, spy thriller, political thriller, ransoms, hostages, heists, psychological mindgames, stalkers, paranoia, obsession, private eyes, revenge, villains, false accusations, fire, death, blood, sweat, gravy, egg…
Look Back In Anger, A Taste Of Honey, early Coronation Street, anyone? If gritty, social realism is your thing and you have a penchant for strong female characters shouting 'get in and wash your nets you filthy cow' at each other in the street; or you like guys in tatty vests, drinking cold tea whilst talking in a hifalutin way about kestrels, then maybe episode 2 is for you.
There are no wrong answers here. If you can write a horrifying sketch about toast, it could go in episode 3.
You get the idea…
The show will be performed by four marvellous and versatile comic actors, two male, two female. Keep that in mind when writing sketches – something which needs a cast of thousands might not work – but you can write for a variety of ages and accents. We’re looking for a range of different sketches, so you can vary the number of characters involved. We’re also seeking some snappy one-liners or quick jokes that fit a particular genre topic, which we can then include to break up sketches, or as part of the host’s opening script.
Each week, one performer will act as the host figure, introducing the show to the audience. It’s worth listening to Justin Edwards on NewsJack to give you an idea of the way that might work.
We’re expecting that the show will mostly be stand-alone sketches, but there’s lots of room for you to experiment with format as well. We will also consider repeating characters – maybe there’s a particular idea that would work across all the different genres that we could return to in different episodes, or a particular character that you’d like to create.
The show is recording Sunday nights in May / June in Manchester. The show is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 23:00, with the first episode going out the week of June 3rd.
If you would like to attend a recording, you can see if there are tickets available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/tickets/
When we receive your sketches, the producers will read all of the submissions.
Our favourites will be passed to our script editors, who will contact you individually with feedback or re-write suggestions if we think that’s necessary. They’ll confirm the final deadline for any re-written sketches to be sent back for consideration.
The re-written sketches will then go through another script editing session, with the final cut of these being collated for the cast scripts.
It is possible that a re-written sketch may still not make the finished production recording.
You will be paid for any sketches you write that air on Radio 4. Payments will go out at the end of the series - this means if you have sketches in different episodes, you’ll accumulate your fee and be paid a lump sum after the final transmission date.
There is a flat fee for all non-commissioned material (regardless of the writer's previous experience). This is:
• £36 per minute for sketches.
• £18 per 30 seconds for sketches.
• £18 for quickies and one liners.
This fee will be for taking all rights in the work on a non-exclusive basis
So, there are very few rules as to your content. BUT there are a few in terms of how you get your work to us! Please read these very carefully as if you submit your work inappropriately we might not be able to include it in the show.
- The submission deadline is Friday 29th March at midday – we will not look at sketches that arrive any later.
- Please limit your submissions to a maximum of ten sketches per episode (not including one liners). However, do remember that we’re looking for originality, so submitting several sketches for an episode that are very similar, unless they’re designed to be runners, is unlikely to increase your hit rate. If we want to see more from you on a particular topic then we’ll ask for it.
- Please include the episode that you’re submitting for in the email subject line, along with your name, as well as marking this clearly on the title page of your sketch. i.e. – ‘Sci-Fi & Horror – Amy Jones’.
- If you’re submitting work for more than one episode, please group your sketches by episode and send as separate emails.
• Please mark each of your sketches on every page with a header that includes:
-Your email address
-The title of your sketch
-The episode it relates to
This is really important for making sure you get paid if your work is broadcast.
- If you are e-mailing several one-liners, please paste them directly into the email or attach them in one document. Don’t attach 12 documents for 12 one-liners.
- Bear in mind your sketches may be edited and adjusted by our script editors, although as far as possible, we will endeavour to give you feedback and time to make changes to your work yourself.
- You’ll notice that there’s not very much swearing in Radio Comedy. So it’s probably best if you don’t send us material that relies on adult language for its punchlines, as you might have to change it.
- Finally, keep your sketches short – the funniest sketches are no more than three pages long.
- Be imaginative.
- Submit your material to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- That’s it! Happy writing!
Read this script from the BBC Radio Drama archive.
Read this script from the BBC Radio Drama archive.
Read this script from the Radio Drama archive.
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Performance poet and playwright Inua Ellams on how he developed the idea for his Radio 3 drama, Wild Blood.
November 28, 2013