BBC Studios has relaunched its BBC Studios Writers’ Academy with a new focus, as it prepares to open its new window for applications.

Originally created to provide support and paid training for up-and-coming screenwriters by working closely with BBC Continuing Drama Series, this year’s course will broaden its remit to appeal to a bigger pool of writers. For the first time, the course will guide writers through six months of paid series development.

As well as paid training, successful applicants will also receive guest lectures from some of the most well-respected writers in the industry, such as Jed Mercurio and Russell T Davies, and an opportunity to develop their own original drama series.

Successful Writers’ Academy applicants will receive three months of paid training, including weekly individual tutorials on all aspects of dramatic technique and structure; a series of guest lectures from experienced screenwriters such as Laurie Nunn (Sex Education), Jed Mercurio (Bodyguard, Line of Duty), Sophie Petzal (Blood, Hollington Drive), Russell T Davies (It’s A Sin, Years and Years), Anna Symon (Mrs Wilson, Deepwater), Tony Jordan (Hustle, Life on Mars) and Jimmy McGovern (Time, Broken); a fast-track opportunity for those who wish to trial for an EastEnders episode commission and six months of paid series development, resulting in their own original TV pilot script and series bible.

As a result, the successful writers will graduate the Academy with several new writing samples including a pilot episode and series bible for their own original series.

John Yorke, Head of BBC Studios’ Writers’ Academy said: “The television landscape has changed significantly since the Writers’ Academy was founded in 2005, yet our alumni continue to go from strength to strength. A huge number have gone on to create well-loved original series, from The Victim and Red Rock, to Grantchester and Malory Towers. Over the next decade, we want to continue to build on their success. This is why we’re appealing to a bigger pool of writers than ever before to find the next generation of original series creators.”

Since 2005 (with a hiatus from 2014-2018) the Academy has coached 80 writers. In the last year, alumni have had 15 seasons of original TV drama series broadcast or greenlit.

These include Rob Williams’ Suspicion and Screw, Daisy Coulam’s Grantchester, Peter McKenna’s Hidden Assets and Kin, Rachel Flowerday and Sasha Hails’ Malory Towers, Rachel Flowerday and Tahsin Guner’s Father Brown. Still to come are Abby Ajayi’s Riches, Emer Kenny’s Karen Pirie, Kirstie Swain’s Sweetpea, Jamie Davis’ You & Me and Paul Matthew Thompson’s new crime drama Ridley. Recent Academy graduates are currently developing original series with the companies behind I May Destroy You, Happy Valley, The End of The F***ing World, Brexit: The Uncivil War, Time, Curfew, and more.

Applications open at noon on Friday, March 11th, and will close at noon on Sunday, April 3rd. To make an application, applicants should visit the BBC e-submissions portal.

Jon Creamer

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