The Galton and Simpson Bursary

Bursary awarding £5500 and mentorship to comedy writers or writing partnerships

Latest news: Grace Mulvey awarded inaugural bursary

Grace is a stand-up comedian and improviser. She started her comedy career performing at Mob Theatre in her native Dublin as part of the improv team Mr Me Cocos, and is also a writer and actor in sketch comedy double act Curved Comedy. Over 2,500 scripts were submitted for consideration for this years award with six entrants making the final shortlist.

Find out more

About the The Galton and Simpson bursary

The Galton and Simpson bursary awards £5500 to writers or writing partnerships to develop a script for broadcast consideration along with guidance from established industry professionals and the BBC comedy commissioning team.

The bursary is a collaboration between the BBC and the Mental Health Foundation and is named after Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, one of the best loved and most enduring writing partnerships in comedy history. The creators of classics such as Hancock and Steptoe & Son met as teenagers in a TB sanatorium in 1948.

Shane Allen, Director, BBC Comedy:

"These comedy founding fathers met in adverse circumstances and went on to set the template for the modern British sitcom. Their work has endured and been appreciated for decades past and no doubt decades to come. Great comedy is often born out of adversity as the imagination sparks creative expression. This bursary is aimed at giving opportunity to new comedy voices in these trying times.”

Dr Antonis Kousoulis, Director of the Mental Health Foundation:

“Being involved in creative activities can have a powerful and lasting effect on our wellbeing and protect our mental health.  We welcome the Galton & Simpson Bursary for Comedy Writing which pays tribute to these great writers and because comedy is a wonderful way to bring people together in laughter and hope.”

The application process

Writers submit individually or as part of a writing duo (maximum of two people) sending a sample comedy/sitcom script of 30 pages/30 minutes maximum,  a series development plan and a short one page biography/statement.

The BBC employ professional script readers to assess all the submitted scripts. They sift the scripts by reading at least the first ten pages. If a submission doesn't sufficiently hook their attention at this stage it will not be considered further. The BBC reserves the right not to read additional pages 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 submission hooks our reader’s attention it progresses to the second sift, to be re-read by another reader. Writers who progress beyond this stage are then recommended to BBC comedy commissioning. Comedy commissioning staff finalise a shortlist and then invite those writers or writing partnerships to attend an interview. 

The names of all selected entrants may be made public. Entrants must agree to take part in any post-training scheme publicity if required. 

The Galton and Simpson Bursary is currently closed for submissions, thank you for all the entries. We were thrilled to get such a great response, with over 2500 scripts being submitted. Please continue to check this page for information about our next round.