Open Call FAQs

Are you thinking of entering our Open Call? Read the FAQs below

What happens to my script after I submit it to the Open Call?

BBC Writersroom employs professional script readers to assess all the submitted scripts. They sift the scripts by reading at least the first ten pages in the first instance (Stage One). All eligible scripts are considered in this way. If a script doesn't sufficiently hook our attention at the first 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 (Stage Two) who may then recommend the script for a full read and script report (by a third reader – Stage Three). It is helpful to bear these stages in mind when writing and editing the script you are planning to submit.

After the full read stage all decisions are made by BBC Writersroom staff (Stage Four). 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.

We receive thousands of scripts within each Open Call window so it will take several months before you are informed of the outcome of your submission.

Apart from our Open Call we also run other targeted talent searches throughout the year which can be found on the BBC Writersroom Opportunities page, together with other free-to-enter writing opportunities from the BBC and across the industry.

Will I get an acknowledgement of my script?

If you have submitted your script online via E-Submissions - you will receive an immediate acknowledgement of its receipt to the e-mail address you have registered with. We will use this e-mail address for all subsequent communication with you - so please make sure you keep this up-to-date and ensure that there are no typos within the text when creating an account. Also, please check your junk folders for the correspondence in case it is delivered there by your email program. We cannot take responsibility for emails that are sent but do not arrive. Read the E-submissions FAQs for more information.

Why do you only read ten pages in the first sift?

BBC Writersroom receives thousands of scripts every year. We believe ten pages are sufficient opportunity to make an initial decision about the scripts we receive. For the Drama window this is always the first ten pages as all good broadcast stories should hook the attention of the audience in the opening minutes, and we reflect this necessity in our initial assessment of work.

Our readers are briefed to look out for quality, talent and potential, regardless of content, subject, theme, message, setting, genre, budget, or the experience of the writer, or the personal tastes of the reader.

Will I receive feedback on my script?

Only the scripts which progress to the full read stage will receive feedback. We do not have the resources to fully read and feedback on anything more than a small proportion of the thousands of scripts we receive a year.

The BBC's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

How long will it take to get a response from the Open Call opportunity?

During the window, we will consider all scripts submitted together. Please be aware that processing and reading the scripts can take a number of months. Please note that we will not make contact with any writers until we have made our final selection.

Can I send my script to other parts of the BBC too?

Do not simultaneously send your script elsewhere at the BBC - most departments do not accept unsolicited work and will simply redirect it to us.

The BBC Comedy Association run by BBC Comedy Commissioning also run opportunities for comedy scriptwriters and performers. Find out more on the BBC Comedy Commissioning website

How should I format my script?

Format your script as closely to industry standard as you can. We do not accept handwritten scripts. We do not penalise writers for imprecise formatting, but presenting your work appropriately suggests a professional approach and an understanding of the medium and format for which you are writing. There are script formatting programs available. You can read formatted scripts on our website and in our Script Library.

See examples of Mediums and Formats

What should I do if my script is the first in a potential series or serial?

If your idea is for a series or serial, you may also include a brief outline (1-3 pages) of further episodes and the series/serial as a whole. This is optional, and your submission will not be penalised if you choose not to supply this outline. If you decide to include this information then it should be added at the end of your script document within the same pdf file but should not be included in the page count of your script.

Do I need to provide any information apart from the script?

As part of the submission process we will also ask you to provide some information on your writing history to date, and you will be asked a handful of questions about your motivation for applying and interest in writing for television.

You do not need to include character biographies, scene location breakdowns, or visual material/aids however you do need to include a Logline. As a general rule, any essential information about the characters and story should come across in the script itself – with the exception of brief series/serial outlines. If you feel the need to include additional information about the story then you should consider how well the script is working on its own merits.

What is a Logline?

In its simplest terms, a logline is a one (sometimes two) sentence summary of your script or TV series. When entering your script you need to provide a logline as part of the online E-submissions process.

Read this blog post to find out more about Loglines, why they are important and how to write a good one.

If I submit to the Open Call, will my script be considered for production?

The Open Call is a means by which the BBC finds the best writing talent – it is not a competition, and the selected writers are not commissioned for the script submitted. Scripts should not be sent with the expectation that they will be produced.

Find out more about ‘How we can (and can’t) develop your writing’

Who reads my script when I submit?

A reading panel of highly experienced industry professionals are used for the sift stages of the Open Call. These readers have significant industry experience – the panel has been involved in the development of many shows over many years.

How do I protect the Copyright in my script?

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 the 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.

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.

The BBC will only ever use personal details for the purposes of administering the scheme. Please see the BBC Writersroom's Privacy Policy.

Will there be any publicity? Can I announce how far I got through the process on social media?

The names of all selected entrants and any entrant whose entry is broadcast or used online will be made public. Entrants must agree to take part in any post-scheme publicity if required. When you are told how far your script made it through the process we are happy for you to share this information on your own social media, however writers must not make use of any feedback or script report that they are sent for their own publicity purposes.

I want to get more experience as a reader. Can I apply to be a reader for BBC Writersroom?

We only use highly experienced professionals on our reading panel. The nature of the support we offer writers means that this reading work is not suitable for first-time or inexperienced readers.