The next Open Call submission window will be open between 12 noon on Tuesday 7th November 2023 and 12 noon on Tuesday 5th December 2023.
Our Open Call is not a competition but a means by which the BBC seeks out the best writing talent. They look for writers with the strongest potential to be developed and produced for BBC broadcast. You could be new to writing or new to the BBC but equally, you may be a playwright looking to write for TV, or you’ve written for radio drama and would like to try your hand at writing for CBBC.
The Open Call is not looking for projects to commission or produce. They are looking for writers to develop rather than specific projects. They look for what the script tells us about the writer. They see all scripts as a calling card to showcase a writer’s talent, ability, and voice.
They look for what a writer can deliver in script form rather than unscripted ideas. They want to see the best possible draft you can achieve. They are not looking for early/first/rough drafts of scripts. Only submit a script to our Open Call when your script is ready, even if it means waiting for a later submission window.
They may also consider whether a script has real potential to be developed further towards production. If they believe a script could be developed further by a BBC department, they will send it to them with the writer’s knowledge. Original scripts written “on spec” are produced extremely rarely, and writers should not send them in with the expectation that they will be produced. However, original spec’ scripts are the means by which writers get noticed, so you should always write your script with the same level of commitment as if it were for production.
The Open Call accepts Drama or Comedy/Drama scripts written for Film, TV, Radio, Stage, Online or Children’s TV/Radio scripts which are a minimum of 30 pages long (excluding title/character pages).
Entries must be written in English. If you submit any part of a script in another language you must also include your own translation of this into English. Your application must be legibly typed and formatted.
They do not accept any of the following:
• Scripts from overseas – they are looking for writers with whom the BBC can develop a strong working relationship and who have something to say that will appeal to British audiences. You may be a non-British-born writer, but you must be resident in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Republic of Ireland.
• Scripts from writers under the age of 18.
• Submissions by email or post – when our Open Call is open for submissions, we can only accept scripts online via our E-Submissions system. Postal submissions are not possible under any circumstances.
• Scripts previously submitted to our Open Call (or Script Room) opportunity, including resubmissions of work which has since been re-written and further episodes of a series or serial which has previously been submitted.
• Ideas, pitches, outlines, synopses, or treatments on their own – they must always receive a script with every submission. Samples or extracts from scripts are not eligible either. They want to see a full script or episode.
• Multiple submissions from an entrant.
• DVDs, videos, CDs, audio tapes, or any video/audio material (whether it accompanies a script or otherwise). Any links to video/audio content will not be considered in the reading process.
• New scripts written for existing or previously produced shows and/or characters (for example scripts of Doctor Who, EastEnders, Sherlock or using characters from these shows).
• Short stories, novels, unpublished prose manuscripts, poetry or work you wish to have adapted into a script.
• Adaptations for broadcast of another writer’s idea (including adaptations of other writers’ novels).
• Comedy sketch shows and pure narrative comedy series or sitcoms.
• They will not accept late submissions under any circumstances. Writers have four full weeks to submit an entry, giving plenty of time to navigate the E-submissions system and meet the deadline.
• Do not leave it until the day of deadline to create an E-submissions profile or to submit your script as you will leave yourself no time for troubleshooting.
• The BBC Your Account at the top left of the web page is not the same as a BBC Writersroom E-submissions account. It is totally unrelated, so having a BBC Account (for BBC iPlayer etc) does not automatically sign you up to E-submissions.