BBC Studios ScriptWorks has teamed up with Charles Dawson, founder of Thousand Films, to launch the A Thousand Stories writing competition, which will reward a talented new writer aiming to build a career in television.

A Thousand Stories aims to help writers from under-represented groups in the UK to take the first steps in a career as a professional TV writer. This year, the competition will focus on finding and supporting storytellers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who don’t yet have agent representation.

The winning writer will receive a prize package that includes a mix of mentoring, development plans and networking opportunities. Former Commissioning Editor/Executive Producer and expert on story, John Yorke, will guide the winner through the process of creating a treatment for their original series idea, paid for by ScriptWorks, to pitch for further development. BBC Studios award-winning Executive Producer, Aysha Rafaele – whose credits include Killed By My Debt and The Left Behind – will also mentor the winner. All 12 shortlisted writers will also have access to a network of writers, agents and TV executives through ScriptWorks events.

To enter, applicants must submit a script for a pilot episode of a TV drama or comedy series of between 30-60 minutes. After initial sifting and longlist reading stages, a panel of industry judges, led by Aysha, will read shortlisted scripts before choosing the prize-winning submission.

John Yorke said: “Like other competitive creative disciplines, our industry is extremely tough to break into. We also know there are fascinating, compelling stories out there just waiting to be told. This competition – a key part of our ScriptWorks programme – aims to break down some of those barriers for those trying to get started in writing for TV, and bring some new voices to the screen through practical advice and support. With around 2000 entries received for the launch competition last year, and over half of the dozen shortlisted now working with an agent, we’re hoping for a similarly enthusiastic response from talented budding writers.”

Charles Dawson said: “Thousand Films and ScriptWorks have the same ambition to widen access to the television industry and increase the diversity of voices in the UK’s pool of TV writers. Seeing the next generation of writers coming through this scheme and into the industry is incredibly exciting, and a real privilege.”

The competition is open for submissions from today and the closing date is 15th December 2020. Further details on how to enter are available at www.thousand-stories.co.uk and on the ScriptWorks website: https://www.bbcstudios.com/scriptworks

The A Thousand Stories competition is an iteration of the Thousand Films initiative, which launched in 2019 to find and champion a more diverse range of unrepresented new writers. In partnership with Killing Eve producer Sid Gentle Films, the first Thousand Films scheme focused on women writers, and selected a shortlist of a dozen scripts from almost 2,000 submissions. More than half of the shortlisted writers have now secured agency representation, and several shortlisted scripts have been taken into development with Sid Gentle, and other producers and broadcasters.

BBC Studios ScriptWorks runs training opportunities to develop writing talent at all levels. Headed up by John Yorke, ScriptWorks’ goal is to drive a flow of new and diverse voices into the UK television landscape, reflecting the breadth of the experience of living in modern Britain. The team are supported by Mark Linsey, who leads BBC Studios’ IP strategy and pipeline.

Jon Creamer