The Course

Do you want to write for EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City, Doctors and River City - and the opportunity to work for some of the UK’s best Television Drama Production Companies?  

The BBC Studios Writers’ Academy will give a minimum of eight writers a year's paid training, with guaranteed commissions on the BBC’s flagship shows as well as the chance to develop an original project with a BBC Studios production team. We want writers who are passionate about television drama, bursting with ideas and a love of popular drama.

The BBC Studios Writers’ Academy is led by John Yorke, and over the year you will receive training and lectures from a range of leading industry practitioners.  You’ll learn all about television production, gain direct writing experience on at least three of the BBC's Continuing Dramas alongside mentoring from the companies behind Les Misérables, McMafia, Brexit: The Uncivil War, Curfew, The End of The F***ing World and more.

Previous graduates of the Writers' Academy have written for or created hundreds of hours of TV, including The Man In The High Castle, Killing Eve, Pure, Father Brown, Doctor Who, Grantchester, Killed By My Debt as well as all the major continuing dramas.

The aim of the Academy is to give writers the screenwriting tools and creative confidence to write for the BBC’s flagship popular dramas as well as create stunning series of their own.

Course Structure

Selected writers must be available full-time from September 2019 – to August 2020. All selected writers will then be under option for a period of up to 2 years after graduation, allowing BBC Studios and its drama family companies to have first call on their writing services.

September - December 2019

Guest lectures and practical training in story, structure and all aspects of writing for continuing and original drama series.  Individual tutorials with John Yorke on regular writing assignments.  Set visits and a basic grounding in television production, including directing, scheduling and design.

Writers will be mentored in the development of an idea for an original drama series by one of the following drama companies:  BBC Studios (London, Wales or Factual Drama), Clerkenwell Films, Cuba Pictures, Firebird Pictures, House, Lookout Point and Moonage Pictures.

January – August 2020

Writers will be commissioned to write an episode of EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City and given a paid training attachment to River City. They will also pitch for an episode of Doctors.  Writers will be supported and mentored during each commission in-house and by the Writers’ Academy team. 

In addition writers will be commissioned to develop and write a treatment for their original drama series idea with one of our participating production companies  – with a view to it being taken into development by BBC Drama.

Location

The first three months of the Course will be held at Elstree Studios, Borehamwood.  An accommodation allowance and travel expenses will be paid to writers based outside of London.  The rest of the course will entail writing from home with script meetings where necessary.  Travel expenses will be paid to writers living outside London or Cardiff.

Eligibility

  • Writers must have at least ONE professionally produced piece of work, minimum of 30 mins in length, in television, radio, theatre or film drama. 
  • Writers with a literary agent but no professional credit are also eligible to apply.
  • Writers without a professional credit or agent may also be put forward by one of the participating BBC Studios production companies or Continuing Drama shows.

How to Apply

  • The opening date for submissions is 8 April 2019. Closing date is 12 noon on Tuesday 7 May 2019.
  • Writers will need to submit their CV highlighting produced credit or credits and/or agent details, an original drama script and a story idea (all saved as PDF) via the E-Submissions System only. The original drama script should be full-length, 30 minutes or longer (minimum 30 pages) and not an episode of an existing drama series.
  • The story idea must be no longer than one page of A4, and concern a regular character on one of the Continuing Drama shows. It should outline a complete character arc, with beginning, middle and end.

Course Tutor

John Yorke

John Yorke

John Yorke is a drama producer, consultant and lecturer on all forms of storytelling. A former MD of Company Pictures where he Executive Produced Wolf Hall, he’s worked as both Head of Channel Four Drama and Controller of BBC Drama Production. As a commissioning Editor/Executive Producer, he championed British hits such as Life On Mars, The Street, Father Brown, Shameless and Bodies and in 2005 he created the BBC Writers' Academy. The author of Into The Woods – the best-selling book on how and why we tell stories, John is Visiting Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 

Guest Lecturers

Previous years have featured Jimmy McGovern, Andrew Davies, Russell T Davies, Jed Mercurio, Peter Bowker, Sarah Phelps, Dearbhla Walsh, Tony Jordan, Ashley Pharoah, Richard Curtis and Emma Freud, and many more.