BBC launches Galton & Simpson writing bursary | £5,500 to develop a new sitcom script © BBC

BBC launches Galton & Simpson writing bursary

£5,500 to develop a new sitcom script

The BBC has announced a major new bursary for comedy writing in honour of Ray Galton and Alan Simpson.

Winner of the new contest will win £5,500 to develop their script for possible broadcast with the aid of comedy experts.

The Corporation says that ‘at a time when everyone is feeling the effects of isolation it’s particularly apt to celebrate the life and work of two people who originally met in a TB sanatorium and went on to define what television comedy could be.’

After meeting as teenagers in 1948, they went on to create the groundbreaking sitcoms Hancock and Steptoe & Son, both of which brought elements of drama to the genre for the first time.

In a statement, the family of Ray Galton said:  ‘The Galton family are proud that the BBC have decided to honour dad and Alan’s achievements with this bursary. They never forgot the advice and encouragement they received when starting out and were always keen to help newcomers to the profession. We hope this bursary will reflect their beliefs and their outstanding contributions to their craft, inspiring others to come forward with new ideas.’

Shane Allen, the controller of BBC comedy, said: ‘These comedy founding fathers met in adverse circumstances and went on to set the template for the modern British sitcom. Their work has endured and been appreciated for decades past and no doubt decades to come. Great comedy is often born out of adversity as the imagination sparks creative expression. This bursary is aimed at giving an opportunity to new comedy voices in these trying times.’

The bursary will be open to any writer or duo, who must submit a script of a maximum of 30 pages (or 30 minutes) to Galton& supported by a plan of how a series could be developed, plus a single page biography by June 5.

This bursary is a collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation, whose director Antonis Kousoulis, said: ‘Being involved in creative activities can have a powerful and lasting effect on our wellbeing and protect our mental health.  Comedy is a wonderful way to bring people together in laughter and hope.’

A full list of terms and conditions is available here

Published: 29 Apr 2020

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