The BBC is opening up its Writers’ Academy by allowing those without a professional credit or an agent to apply for the scriptwriting masterclass.
Run by BBC Studios and led by drama supremo John Yorke, the scheme aims to find “the hottest storytelling talent in the UK” and give them the skills needed to write TV drama.
Successful applicants receive three months of paid training, including weekly individual tutorials on all aspects of dramatic technique and structure.
The successful candidates also get to hear guest lectures from some of the most influential and experienced screenwriters in TV including Jed Mercurio (Bodyguard, Line of Duty), Sophie Petzal (Blood, Red Rock), Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Years and Years), Anna Symon (Mrs Wilson, Deepwater), Tony Jordan (EastEnders, Life on Mars) and Jimmy McGovern (The Street, Broken).
Last year’s female-dominated alumni graduated with up to four scripts under their belt and have been commissioned to write broadcast episodes of EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City.
They will then go on to have their services optioned by BBC Studios for the next two years.
John Yorke, Head of BBC Studios Writers’ Academy, commented: “I’m thrilled that BBC Studios have decided to make such a major investment in new talent.
“At a time when it’s harder than ever for new writers to break in, this course allows writers from less privileged backgrounds to get their first important step into television.
“The Writers’ Academy is a perfect example of the BBC’s remit – it’s a huge commitment to nurturing new talent from every sector of society.”
Katerina Watson, one of the 2019 Writers’ Academy graduates, said of the course: “The Writers’ Academy has quite literally changed my life.
“I would never have found my voice, nor felt like it was important to be heard and hold my own with it, had it not been for the BBC Studios Writers’ Academy support, encouragement and mind-blowing teaching. It has been an absolute privilege.”