BBC Audio and Music and BBC writersroom are delighted to announce the results of the first BBC Writer’s Prize. The Writer’s Prize was established to create a unique opportunity for new and established writers who want to write for Radio Drama and Radio Comedy.
The response was extraordinary, with over 1,200 original scripts submitted to BBC writersroom for consideration. The judges Jeremy Howe (Commissioning Editor, BBC Radio 4 Drama), Caroline Raphael (Commissioning Editor, BBC Radio 4 Comedy and Radio 4 Extra), Kate Rowland (BBC Creative Director of New Writing), Roy Williams (writer) and Miles Jupp (writer-performer) were given a shortlist of 18 scripts and, after much debate, have reached their decision.
Two dramas have been commissioned as Afternoon Dramas for Radio 4: Rock Me Amadeus by Simon Topping and Bang Up by Sarah Hehir.
Jeremy Howe says: “In Rock me Amadeus Simon Topping takes on a challenging subject – gender identity – and explores it with a lightness of tone and a freshness of voice that makes it an utterly engaging read. It is a warm, playful piece of writing that doesn’t duck the serious issues.”
“In Bang Up, Sarah Hehir charts the developing relationship between a young offender in a Kentish detention centre and his teacher. It is tough, warm, beautifully observed and written from the inside with real heart. It pulls you into the worlds of the two central characters in such a way that makes you really care for them both, and takes us on a surprising journey.”
The judges were impressed by the overall range and calibre of the drama scripts submitted for the competition, from cycling grannies in space to noir thrillers and pharmacies, boy-eating polar bears and the ethical dilemma of which parent to kill when the food runs out.
Kate Rowland says: “We were confronted by complex storytelling, boldness and an emotional engagement that comes from writers passionate about their subject.”
And in the Radio Comedy category, The Joy Of Adult Education by Mark Wallington has been selected for pilot commission.
Caroline Raphael says: “I look forward to seeing how The Joy Of Adult Education develops. Strong likeable characters, a good sense of how radio can work, and a sense of controlled absurdism marked this script out for me.”
Miles Jupp adds: “What I love about this script is that once you’ve tuned into it, it builds and builds and builds. The writer has a terrific turn of phrase, and chooses their words carefully and deliberately, throwing up so many lines that are wonderful when standing alone and hilariously funny in context. The characters are beautifully and lovingly drawn too, giving real warmth to this understated joy of a script.”