We accept scripts that are at least 30 minutes long, which is a fair length of time to assess a writer's work – it's extremely hard to judge a writer's abilities with a view to BBC broadcast slots if their work is shorter than this. As long as your script is equivalent to at least 30 minutes in length, we will consider it.
The minute-to-a-page measure of classic screenplay format is a useful rule-of-thumb, but isn't a cast iron formula as it ultimately depends on the style of the piece. Generally speaking a half-hour sitcom would come in between 30 and 35 pages, an hour-long drama between 50-70 pages, and a feature film between 70-120 pages. The best way to judge the length of your script is to time yourself reading it, allowing extra space for action. A group reading or performance is even more useful since each reader, like an actor, may deliver their lines of dialogue at different paces.
If you have written a spec' script for Online, Children’s TV/Radio or the 15 Minute Drama serial slot for BBC Radio 4, you may submit multiple episodes provided the total length comes to at least 30 minutes / pages. For example, you may submit 2 x 15min serial episodes for BBC Radio 4. These should be saved and submitted together as a single PDF document.
Individual / group submissions
Writers can submit individually or as part of a writing team of up to a maximum of 2 people. If entering as a group, all entrants must meet the entry requirements. Only one entry per person is permitted including any group entries.
Script Room reading process
BBC Writersroom employs professional script readers to assess all the submitted scripts. They sift the scripts by reading at least the first ten pages. All eligible scripts are considered in this way. If a script doesn't sufficiently hook our attention at the sift stage, it will not be considered further. The BBC reserves the right not to read the whole script if it is clear that the quality of the writing or subject matter is unsuitable or is in breach of any of the terms and conditions.
If a script hooks our reader’s attention it progresses to a 20-30 page read by a second reader who may then recommend the script for a full read and script report (by a third reader). After the full read stage all decisions are made by BBC Writersroom staff. We look at the reports, discuss with the readers, and read the most promising scripts (the shortlist). BBC Writersroom staff may then invite the writer to come in for an interview with a view to being considered for suitable development opportunities.
Between all the BBC Writersroom staff we know the work of hundreds of up-and-coming writers, possibly thousands, so it is likely that some of the writers who submit will already be known to us. This is only to be expected as it takes time to build a career as a writer. That said, we plan to implement the following change from 2016 onwards. All scripts will be read “blind” i.e. without a name attached, until after full-read stage. Please note it will be the writer’s responsibility to remove their name and contact details from their script
Samples or extracts from scripts – we only want to see a full script or episode.
Full series or serials – we only want to see one episode. The only exception to this is if you have written a spec' script for Online, Children’s TV/Radio or a 15 Minute Drama serial for Radio 4, In these instances you may submit multiple episodes provided the total length is at least 30 minutes / pages. For example, you may submit 2 x 15min serial episodes for BBC Radio 4. These should be saved and submitted together as a single PDF document.
We do not read further episodes of a series or serial if we have already rejected, or given feedback on a previous episode.
Novels, unpublished prose manuscripts, or another writer's work you wish to see adapted.
Comedy sketches – we only read narrative comedy series and sitcoms or full sketch shows of at least 30 minutes in length. BBC Radio 4 Extra's Newsjack and Radio 4's The Show What You Wrote both accept submissions of sketches.
Short film scripts – we only read scripts longer than 30 pages/minutes.
Adaptations for broadcast of another writer’s idea – we want to see your original work. (The only exception to this is if you have adapted your own work from another medium.)
Scripts from overseas – we are looking for writers with whom the BBC can develop a strong working relationship and who have something to say that will appeal to British audiences. You may be a non-British-born writer, but you must be resident in the UK or Republic of Ireland. If you are currently living overseas, only consider submitting your script when you return to the UK or Republic of Ireland.
Scripts from writers under the age of 16.
Submissions by email – when Script Room is open for submissions, we can only accept scripts online via our E-Submissions system or by post if writers are not able to submit via the website.
Resubmissions of work previously considered, even after rewrites – make sure you make your script as good as you possibly can before sending it to us.
Scripts previously submitted to the old BBC Writersroom unsolicited system or previous Script Room submission windows.
Ideas, pitches, outlines, synopses, or treatments on their own – we must always receive a script with every submission.
Multiple submissions at one time. We can only accept one script from each writer/writing team in a given submission window. Alongside the Script Room we also run targeted talent searches throughout the year which can be found on the BBC Writersroom Opportunities page
DVDs, videos, CDs, audio tapes, or any video/audio material accompanying, or instead of, a script.
The BBC reserves the right to disqualify entries that are inconsistent with the BBC Editorial Policy Guidelines or which may bring the BBC into disrepute, including any entries which profit from criminal activity.
The BBC reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions at any stage, including changing or substituting the selection process and the development opportunities. In this event, a notice will be posted on the following website: www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/
Copyright and Protection
All entries must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe the rights of any other party. The BBC accepts no liability if entrants ignore these rules and entrants agree to fully indemnify the BBC against any claims by any third party arising from any breach of these rules.
By applying for the scheme, entrants warrant that they have legal capacity to enter the scheme and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.
The copyright of all scripts sent to the BBC rests with the writer – you do not need to formally copyright work before you send it in to us. Writers are often anxious that their work may be stolen or plagiarised. However, similarities in writers' ideas, material, and scripts occur surprisingly often. BBC Writersroom does not recommend scripts to departments without first contacting the writer. BBC Writersroom isn't looking for ideas for production in the first instance – we are primarily looking for scripts that show a real talent and potential in the writer.
In the rare event that a producing department wishes to option an unsolicited script, the BBC would necessarily agree appropriate contractual terms with the writer in line with standard BBC agreements. For further information on legal and contractual issues for writers, you may wish to contact the Writers' Guild of Great Britain.
The BBC cannot accept responsibility for the loss or damage of posted scripts or for any delay in its return for whatever cause. BBC Writersroom receives a great many submissions, and similarities of subject matter often occur. We cannot undertake to compensate you if material similar to yours, received coincidentally from another source, is subsequently commissioned or produced.
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