You are here

BAFTA Offers Rising Comedy Writers A Chance To Shine At International Television Festivals

31 March 2014
Greg Daniels, creator of The Office and Parks And Recreation chairs a BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum at the New York Television FestivalBAFTA New York/ Seton Davey

Successful applicants to the BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase will present their work at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival powered by YouTube and the New York Television Festival

London, 31 March: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and Rocliffe today announced a call for scripts from emerging comedy screenwriters for two BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase events. The successful writers will showcase their work for some of the biggest names in the UK and US television industry at two major international television festivals: in August the BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase returns to the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival (GEITF) for a second year; in October it will return to the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) for a fourth consecutive year.

Applications are open at http to British UK-based comedy screenwriters who have not yet had a television series commissioned, although they may have broadcast writing credits. The successful entries will be selected by an industry jury of comedy professionals from the UK and US. In 2013 the jury included Jennifer Saunders, Jessica Hynes, Caryn Mandabach, Andrew Newman, Margot Gavan Duffy, Jill Offman, Saskia Schuster, Matt King, Kevin Cecil and Kenton Allen.

BAFTA, with its branches in New York and in Scotland, and Rocliffe, are offering this opportunity in partnership with British Airways, GEITF and the NYTVF, and the chosen writers will receive:

• A BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase featuring professional actors performing their work in front of an industry audience at GEITF or the NYTVF. Audience members across the festivals will include representatives from BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky, Comedy Central, Sky, FOX, FX, VH1, MTV, IFC and major independent production companies;
• Feedback during the event from top television industry guests – gaining vital tips and encouragement. The 2013 NYTVF/BAFTA New York event was chaired by Greg Daniels (, );
• One-to-one development mentoring sessions by top UK and US comedy commissioners and independent production companies;
• A GEITF festival pass and/or a New York Television Festival ‘Official Artist’ pass;
• Pitch and networking training;
• Travel and accommodation for the festival for which they are selected;
• One-to-one meetings with top UK talent agents;
• Bespoke industry networking opportunities.

Last year’s winning writers have built on their BAFTA Rocliffe success to develop their careers in the industry. Examples include writing pair Tony Cooke and Brona C. Titley whose script was showcased in New York in 2013 and has since been optioned by a UK production company. Cooke and Titley have also gained a development deal with VH1 for a reality TV show called and have been commissioned by BBC Comedy to write an original sitcom script for radio called . Brona C. Titley described the BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase experience as feeling “a bit like winning the comedy lottery.”

Writing pair Andrea Hubert and Ryan Cull, whose script, was showcased in Edinburgh last year, were offered a BBC development deal. They are currently working on a new sitcom as part of a development deal with Objective Productions. Hubert and Cull said: “Winning the BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase was instrumental in the development of our writing career; we've gone from being aspirational writers to professional working ones. It has given us more opportunities and the chance to meet key industry contacts. Everyone has been incredibly supportive and we recommend it to anyone interested in comedy writing.”

Andrew Newman, Chair of the BAFTA Television Committee, said: “The BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase has become the flagship initiative through which BAFTA develops the wealth of up-and-coming comedy writing talent we have in Britain and presents it on an international stage. We aim to give writers of different backgrounds, from across the UK, an opportunity to break into the industry, helping to strengthen it for the future.”

Lisa Campbell, Festival Director of the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, said: “Following on from a successful first year, we’re delighted to continue our support for the BAFTA Rocliffe initiative in 2014 by providing a platform for new comedy writers at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival powered by YouTube. With its audience of 2,000 TV professionals, the Festival can provide a unique opportunity for developing writers – the chance to have their work performed in front of the senior executives who can turn a script into a hit show.”

Terence Gray, Founder and Executive Director of the New York Television Festival, said: “The NYTVF was founded for independent artists worldwide to gain access to television decision makers and have a platform to display their work. In the past years with the BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase, we have been blown away by the talent and dedication of UK-based artists participating, and we look forward to seeing the next class of rising indie writers. As we build towards the 10th annual Festival, we are pleased to once again partner with BAFTA and Rocliffe on this exciting initiative. We welcome the chance to showcase these talented artists as well as emerging talent the world over.”

Farah Abushwesha, Co-founder of Rocliffe, said: “What this initiative does is give newer voices an even playing field by an anonymous selection process. It has launched careers and created an ever-growing community with an industry spotlight for newer writers to get work and commissions on the merits of their voice, within a structured support system.”

The early bird deadline for entries for the BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival powered by YouTube (GEITF) and the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) is Monday 14 April 2014. The final deadline for entries is Monday 19 May 2014. Applicants must submit a ten page extract from their sit-com or sketch show for consideration for the schemes. Each script will be considered for both events albeit different writers may be selected for each event. For full application details, and terms and conditions, go to: http

All writers who submit will receive an industry standard report to enable them to progress their idea.

@BAFTA and @rocliffeforum will hold will hold several online tweetups to answer writers’ questions, using the #BAFTARocliffe.

Further Information

For further information about BAFTA please contact Kindred Agency

Rosie Mann | Tel 020 7010 0843 | Email

Hollie Rendall | Tel 020 7010 0829 | Email


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round, international programme of learning events and initiatives that offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, Los Angeles and New York.

BAFTA New York carries the Academy’s mission forward on the Atlantic Coast through its commitment to the film, television and documentary communities. Its activities include screenings, In Conversation series, masterclasses, Q&As and panels focusing on industry trends in film, television and multimedia. BAFTA New York's educational outreach is aimed at underserved youth in New York City and includes the BAFTA New York Media Studies Scholarship Program, which was established to support students pursuing media studies at undergraduate and graduate level institutions within the New York City area.

BAFTA Scotland has been championing the country’s film, television and game industries since 1989, celebrating and rewarding excellence through its annual British Academy Scotland Awards and BAFTA in Scotland New Talent Awards. BAFTA in Scotland is at the core of Scotland’s screen industries, regularly engaging its members and the wider industry while reaching out to the public via a comprehensive range of screenings, educational events and masterclasses.

BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work. To access the best creative minds in film, TV and games production, visit For more information, visit

About Rocliffe

Rocliffe created a series of events, notably the New Writing Forums, now held at BAFTA and renamed the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum. It has a popular blog Farah’s Rocliffe Notes which is being published as a book in 2014. With its inception in 2000 by founding member Farah Abushwesha and a team of dedicated volunteers including award winning director Susan Jacobson and casting director Laura Dickens CDG. The format of the New Writing Forum is truly original – following a public script call-out in the months before the event, three diverse pieces are selected from the hundreds received and performed live by professional actors in front of a live audience. The pieces are framed by especially composed music by new composers from Air Edel and digital art. The event showcases undiscovered talent – a must attend for agents and talent scouts alike; development focused discussions generated by the readings; exposure to and advice from experienced industry members; feedback from an audience and an invaluable method to test out new concepts and material. Given the often isolating nature of the industry, the forums create the ideal environment for networking as well as unknown writers the chance to get their work seen and heard. Past featured writers include James Dormer, Jack Thorne, Josh Appignanesi and Claire Wilson.


Now in its 39th year, the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival powered by YouTube is the UK’s leading TV festival. GEITF 2014 takes place 21 - 23 August.

• From Kevin Spacey to Google’s Eric Schmidt, global heavyweights set the industry agenda at GEITF. The 50+ sessions present thought-leaders who’ll cut to the heart of the issues in the TV business with headline-making viewpoints
• The Festival is attracts delegates from around the world, representing the full spectrum of the industry - from chief executives, controllers and commissioners to producers, directors, marketers, writers, new media companies, distributors and press.
• GEITF is a charitable organisation. Proceeds from sponsorship and the sale of each delegate pass support the GEITF’s talent schemes, the Network and Ones to Watch. These schemes identify and support emerging talent to promote a healthy and diverse future for our industry.
• Mel Leach, Managing Director, Twofour Broadcast, is the 2014 Advisory Chair.
•Elaine Bedell, Director of Entertainment and Comedy, ITV, is the Executive Chair.
• Join in the conversation on Facebook/ThisIsEdinburghTVFestival, talk to us on Twitter @edinburghtvfest and network with us on LinkedIn.


Established in 2005, the NYTVF constructs new and innovative paths of development and talent identification, while simultaneously complementing the traditional television development model. By partnering directly with networks, studios, production companies, digital platforms and brands, the NYTVF provides its Industry Partners with a streamlined development model, leveraging its vast creative community of over 14,000 independent producers and production companies, to create content with specific partners in mind. During the annual New York Television Festival – held each fall in New York City – the NYTVF brings together its top artists and industry decision-makers for a series of events designed to foster networking, collaboration and education. The Festival also marks the culmination of the organization’s yearly development efforts and features screenings of top independent content, educational panels, fan events, red carpet premieres, and more. For more information on the NYTVF and the annual Festival, visit, and to learn about opportunities to submit for its year-round competitions, visit http