BBC establishes comedy writing apprenticeships

Liz Thomas

Every new comedy programme on BBC Television is to have a trainee writing position, following the creation of a £150,000 apprenticeship fund by the Corporation.

Those chosen to take part in the scheme will be paid to learn the trade while working on the job. The project is aimed at emerging talents, who will shadow the main writers on programmes from the early development stages through to the end of production. They will also have the opportunity to put forward ideas, contribute to script discussions and be offered regular mentoring and briefing sessions with Corporation comedy executives.

It is hoped that all new productions will have an apprentice writer and the expectation is that they will bring an additional comic input to the shows they are involved in.

Jon Plowman, head of comedy, said: “There are some good writers around who have sent us scripts, who have worked in radio, or who we’ve met through initiatives such as New Writing and BBC Talent. Allowing promising newcomers to experience production will, we hope, give them knowledge which will feed into their work. And we hope that their contribution will make a difference to the shows they are shadowing.”

At the end of the apprenticeship, those on the scheme will be expected to produce a script which will be considered for production, either for a subsequent series of the show they have worked on, or as an original idea.

Writers are being selected for the initiative by Plowman and BBC comedy executive Micheal Jacob.

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