The BBC has opened a new comedy writing bursary created in honour of Hancock and Steptoe writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson.

Aimed at writers and writing partnerships, the bursary will award £5,500 to develop a script for broadcast consideration under the guidance of established industry practitioners and BBC Comedy Commissioning.

The bursary will be open to all and will be for a writer or partnership of writers working on any theme. Applicants must submit a sample script of 30 pages/30 minutes maximum duration, supported by a series development plan and a short (one page) biog/statement.

BBC Comedy will shortlist four projects for further consideration. One final award winner will have their script developed for broadcast consideration, with advice and input from leading industry practitioners, and receive a bursary of £5,500.

Sample scripts, series plans and biog/statements can be submitted to Galton&Simpson.Bursary@bbc.co.uk. The application deadline is 5 June 2020.

The family of Ray Galton said: “The Galton family are proud that the BBC have decided to honour dad and Alan’s achievements with this Bursary Award. They never forgot the advice and encouragement they received when starting out and were always keen to help newcomers to the profession. We hope this bursary will reflect their beliefs and their outstanding contributions to their craft, inspiring others to come forward with new ideas.”

Tessa Le Bars, Galton & Simpson’s manager, adds: “I am delighted that the BBC is honouring Ray and Alan’s legacy with this bursary. In doing so it recognises the importance of their achievements and influence as the originators of British sitcom.”

Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy, says: “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.”

Pictured: Alan Simpson and Ray Galton outside BBC Television Centre, 1970

Staff Reporter