The comedy college is open

BBC writers' scheme launched

The BBC will tomorrow officially launch its College Of Comedy, offering a year-long apprenticeship on TV writing.

The six writers accepted onto the scheme will receiving training and mentoring from the likes of Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, Jeremy Dyson, Andy Hamilton and Armando Iannucci.

The programme – similar to an existing set-up for drama writers – is designed for people who have already begun their careers, and ‘can demonstrate some achievement, such as broadcast material, a script commission or performance of their work’.

Applicants should submit the first ten pages of a half-hour script, or six sketches by the closing date of April 14. Twelve writers will be interviewed, and the successful six announced on May 16. They will then be matched with existing sitcoms or sketch shows, and guaranteed a script commission.

They will also be given a mentor for original work, which will be showcased when the scheme ends in March 2009.

The scheme, originally revealed on Chortle last month, is being run by Micheál Jacob, executive producer of My Family and Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps.

He said: ‘I'm aspiring to be the Arsène Wenger of the comedy world by finding writers with talent and helping them to develop and express it.

‘We hope to find people who are going to make our team-written shows better, and also writers with original voices who can develop their own shows. We also hope that people will like the BBC enough to bring us their work in the future.’

The BBC's head of comedy, Mark Freeland, added: ‘I'm really excited about the launch of the scheme. I hope that we can find creative writing talent from many places, unearthing origin and diverse comedy voices.’

BBC radio comedy has been running a similar scheme since 1978, with alumini including Rory McGrath, Jimmy Mulville, Rob Grant, Doug Naylor, Peter Baynham, Stewart Lee, Richard Herring and Debbie "DA" Barham.

Applicants should email their submission, and a writing CV to:

Published: 11 Mar 2008

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