BBC announces its 2024 Comedy Collective members | 'Supercharged bursary' to nurture new talent

BBC announces its 2024 Comedy Collective members

'Supercharged bursary' to nurture new talent

The next cohort of talent joining the BBC Comedy Collective has been announced.

The 10 recipients of the ‘supercharged bursary’ for mid-level writers, producers, directors and editors, to develop their careers in scripted comedy are

The names were abounded at the BBC Comedy Festival in Glasgow.

Each bursary winner will receive up to £10,000 worth of paid shadowing on a BBC comedy production, along with an allocated production mentor, plus a £5,000 development grant to put towards new material at the end of their placement. as well as other industry access.

The 2024 cohort, and their biographies as provided by the BBC, are:

Caitlin Magnall-Kearns

Caitlin is a writer from East Belfast who is passionate about telling new Northern Irish stories from underrepresented and unheard perspectives, with comedy always at the heart of her work.

Having written two short commissions for BBC Radio 4 she is currently writing her first 44-minute commission for them with Fabel Productions, based in part on her own ongoing battle with agoraphobia.

A New Playwright with the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in 2021, she has since had various short plays and monologues performed across the UK and Ireland in venues such as The Lowry, Camden People’s Theatre and Theatre 503.

She is also currently a Bafta Connect member and part of the Percolate development programme with Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, Dublin.

Donya Majidi-Maguire 

Donya is a British-Iranian editor based in London.

She has over eight years of editing experience in short films, independent features, and broadcast factual. Her work has gained recognition at festivals worldwide, including the BFI Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand, RTS Awards, Student Academy Awards, and the Baftas.

She recently edited the short film Crab Day, which won Best Short Animation at the Bafta Film Awards in 2024. Later this year, she is editing The Department Of They, a dark comedy short funded by BBC Film that will feature on iPlayer.

Donya excels in collaborative storytelling and builds strong partnerships within the teams she works with. She is an editing graduate of the National Film and Television School.

Ethan Harvey

Ethan is a London-based comedy and comedy drama screenwriter, originally from Northampton. 

His work is often inspired by his own life: queer, from a mixed ethnic background with a dysfunctional family that have no indoor voice.

Ethan developed his first spec script, Rock Bottom, with the support of former Two Brothers Pictures Executive Producer Daniel Walker, and is now developing several original TV & Film projects. He wrote episode 5 of Netflix’s Sex Education S4, and has worked in writers' rooms including Tell Me Everything S2 for ITVX.

Ethan was selected for the ITV Comedy Writers Initiative, is a Bafta Connect member, and a Soho Theatre Comedy Labs alum. He also trained as an actor; which obviously went really well!

James Button

James Button is a Bafta Cymru Nominated Writer and comedy director who’s had a lot of fun making fun films for fun.

An excitable indie filmmaker always seeking to spread silliness. The latest three (of his 20) short films The Foul, RoButler and Road Rage, have amassed awards and 70+ official selections, including at Bafta and Bifa recognised festivals.

In 2024 he’s directing three new comedy shorts: The Quackening, 1 In 5 Sheep and Time’s Up, I’m Afraid. James is also developing his debut feature script and a comedy series based in a fantastical Welsh town of crazy characters called Screbs.

Laura Ferguson

Laura is a Scottish producer with hundreds of hours of content spanning a myriad of genres under her belt. 

She was the producer on A Better Place, one of the 2023 BBC Comedy Shorts and has produced two feature length documentaries - including Sea of Thieves: Voyage of a Lifetime for Xbox.

Laura has also written and produced emotive and impactful films including The First Day for the Scottish Cot Death Trust, which won Charity Film of the Year in 2021, and the Football Saved My Life series for the Scottish FA.

Laura was previously Head of Production for Production Attic and is currently developing an exciting slate for North Bridge Media. She is passionate about Scottish comedy, championing new talent and empowering women to pursue their career ambitions, regardless of age.

Leah Draws

Raised in the North-West and now based in London, Leah is a producer with short-form beginnings.

Having collaborated with some of the UK’s most prominent comedy performers and exciting writer-directors at the very forefront of their career she was awarded Broadcast Digital’s, Best Short-Form Scripted Series for Jordan Gray’s Transaction in 2020.

After spending time in-house working on a multitude of formats including Inside No 9’s first animated episode she has since gone on to produce Bafta winner Siobhan McSweeny’s directorial debut Spud and founded her own production company, Runt Films.

Runt Films first production, Meat Puppet, recently received SXSW’s prestigious Special Jury and publicly voted, Audience award. With a continued focus on developing distinct and tonally ambitious scripted comedy Leah is excited to further expand her slate while continuing to collaborate with industry peers, coming on board to produce BBC Three series Funboys this summer.

Rian Lennon

Rian is a writer and director based in Belfast. He works as part of sketch comedy troupe Super Lemon, and co-wrote and directed the BBC Comedy short film Funboys which is going to be filming its first series this summer.

Rian co-wrote and directed his debut feature film Housejackers in 2023 as part of the Northern Ireland Screen New Talent Focus Scheme and is excited to continue developing more feature film and comedy series ideas in the future.

Sophie Worger

Sophie is a comedy director from London who is driven to tell stories that surprise, intrigue and use humour to unlock conversations.

She is passionate about female-centred narratives, and as long as a script makes her cackle, she’s up for it! 

Blue, Sophie’s latest short film, landed over 30 film festival selections alongside seven nominations and three awards for Best Short Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay. The film also earned Sophie a Silver Award at the Young Director’s Award 2023 in Cannes.

For the past 10 years, Sophie has worked as an Assistant Director alongside some hugely talented directors on shows such as Ted Lasso, Catastrophe, The End of the F***ing World and many others. All of which have given her insight into her directorial work.

Zahra Zomorrodian

Zahra is an award-winning producer who started her career as a stage manager in various theatres in her hometown of Newcastle.

After getting tired of carrying heavy things, she started producing comedy shorts, then three micro budget features including the raucous comedy The Stagg Do - which featured Lost Voice Guy in his first screen role.

In 2019, after a detour in documentary with the RTS award winning feature doc We Are The Geordies, she moved into producing comedy sketches for Channel 4’s Sparks. One of which – If Boobs Were Like Balls - won a commendation at the RTS Awards (February 2020), and to date has amassed over 3 million views online.

She currently heads up the comedy slate for Candle & Bell and has projects in development with BBC Comedy and BBC Studios, and she’s producing their first BBC Radio 4 commission Tom & Lauren are Going Oot! (to be broadcast this August).

Zak Torbati & Kate Reid

Zak is a Welsh-Iranian writer, actor and songwriter. He co-wrote and performed the award-winning comedy musical Hot Gay Time Machine alongside Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. He is now developing HGTM into a musical TV series with Left Bank Pictures. He is working on a number of commissions and is currently on the Bafta x BFI Flare mentorship programme.

Kate is a Northern Irish-English writer-performer, who trained at Bristol Old Vic and Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab. Her theatre credits include A Girl, Standing (Theatre503), The Cleaner (Traverse Theatre), The 4th Country (Park Theatre). She was a finalist for the Royal Court’s Lynne Gagliano Award and Sister & South Of The River’s Screenshot Award. She’s currently working on several commissions, whilst on Channel 4’s Screenwriting Course and Left Bank’s Diverse Writers’ Development Programme.

Together, Kate and Zak have written sketches for BBC One’s Age Of Outrage and were shortlisted for World Productions’ Writers’ Award. They were runners-up for the David Nobbs Comedy Competition and their sitcom pilot The Other Half won TCN’s WriterSlam. It was produced by Ranga Bee for Dave in 2022.

They were nominated for Best New Sitcom at the British Comedy Guide Awards and as Debut Writers at Edinburgh TV Festival New Voice Awards. They’re currently working with Baby Cow Productions on their next sitcom, whilst on the BBC Writers’ Studio: Casualty Scheme.

Published: 23 May 2024

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