NI Writers Award 2021

Open to both emerging and established writers, this programme will offer the opportunity to develop an original series idea for BBC One, BBC Two or BBC Three with Element Pictures. Four writers will be chosen to write a treatment commission; from those four, one idea will then be developed into a full pilot script.

This scheme is looking for stories that haven’t yet been told about Northern Ireland: the emotionally powerful, thought-provoking, inspiring, celebratory, relevant or surprising narratives that reflect the variety and diversity of life there today – and also speak to a global audience.


  • You must be able to represent Northern Ireland with authenticity (for example you may be from there or have lived/worked there). You must also be confident that you can demonstrate a clear understanding of the culture, telling relevant stories in a fresh and original way.
  • This scheme is aimed at writers who have already gained some experience in crafting stories, and are ready to step up to developing a series idea. You must have had at least one professionally produced fiction script, at least 15 minutes long, for television, radio, podcast, theatre or film.
  • Writers with an original idea already in development (beyond treatment stage) with BBC Drama Commissioning, or those who have already had an original scripted series broadcast by the BBC, are not eligible to apply. However, writers in development outside the BBC are welcome to apply.
  • All applicants must be aged 18 or over, and resident in the UK or Ireland at the time of application and for the duration of the programme.
  • Individual writers and writing partnership of two (max) may enter. For writing partnerships, both writers must fulfil all the criteria.
  • Only original work can be accepted; your sample and idea may not be based wholly or in part, on the work of any other person, whether known, published, produced, or not, i.e. adaptations will not be accepted.

To apply, you must submit:

  • An original drama or comedy-drama spec script written for television, film, radio, podcast, stage or online platform which should be at least 30 pages in length. Please ensure that the script is properly formatted, and that the writer(s) name(s) and any other identifying information has been removed to allow the script to be read anonymously
  • A pitch outlining a potential series or serial idea for BBC One, BBC Two or BBC Three, which should not exceed 2 pages
  • A one-page writing CV to include a short personal statement introducing yourself as a writer
  • The writing sample should not be related to the original series that you want to pitch if selected, but ideally have tonal similarities to your series idea.
  • For writing partnerships, the writing sample and the pitch must be the work of both writers.


The writers selected for commission will be paid the minimum script fee as agreed by the WGGB/PMA/PACT agreement:

The treatment commissions will be paid at 10% of the script fee (i.e. £1,332 for 60 minute series ideas), deductible from the script fee. Writers will be commissioned to write a minimum of two drafts of the treatment.
The pilot script commission will be paid at a rate of £13,320 for 60 minutes (less the treatment fee). The writer(s) will be commissioned to write a minimum of three drafts of their original script.



12 noon on Thursday 8 July 2021. 

Script submissions will be read anonymously, i.e. without a name attached, until the longlist phase. Please ensure that you have removed your name, address and any other identifying information from your script.

Published on:
8 Jun 2021
Opportunity deadline:
08 Jul 2021


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