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BBCS, Thousand open writing competition

BBC Studios label ScriptWorks and Thousand Films in the UK have teamed up to launch a writing competition for scribes from diverse backgrounds.

John Yorke

Backed by Sid Gentle Films (Killing Eve), Thousand Films was set up in 2019 by Charles Dawson to find and support female writers and has now been opened up to include other underrepresented groups in the UK.

The competition, called A Thousand Stories, aims to help these writers take their first steps as professional TV writers.

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. John Yorke, head of ScriptWorks and former commissioning editor and executive producer, 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 exec producer Aysha Rafaele, whose credits include Killed By My Debt and The Left Behind, will also mentor the winner.

All 12 shortlisted candidates will 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 and 60 minutes. After initial sifting and longlist reading stages, a panel of industry judges will read shortlisted scripts before choosing the winning submission.

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 2,000 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.”

Dawson added: “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.”

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