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BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum Jury Announced

22 April 2013
Jennifer Saunders collects the BAFTA for her recent performance in Absolutely Fabulous.BAFTA/ Steve Butler

BAFTA names jury to select comedy stars of the future for major international television festivals.

Jessica Hynes and Jennifer Saunders amongst comedy creatives who will choose new writers to showcase their work at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival and the New York Television Festival.

Applications close on Wednesday 22 May

London, 22 April: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and Rocliffe today announced the confirmed jury members who will decide which emerging comedy screenwriters will showcase their work in front of the cream of the UK and US television industry at Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival (GEITF) in August, and the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) in October.

The jury, chaired by Andrew Newman, Chief Executive of Objective Productions (Peep Show, Fresh Meat), and Chair of BAFTA’s Television Committee, includes Chris Sussman, Executive Editor BBC commissioning, Jill Offman, SVP International Content at Comedy Central, Myfanwy Moore, Commissioning Editor, Comedy at ITV, Kenton Allen, Chief Executive at Big Talk Productions (Rev, Friday Night Dinner), Margot Gavan Duffy, Producer at Tiger Aspect (Bad Education, Little Crackers), Saskia Schuster, Commissioning Editor, Sky Comedy, as well as writer Kevin Cecil (Black Books, Little Britain), writer/actress Jessica Hynes (Twenty Twelve, Spaced) and writer/performer Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous).

The jury will select two writers or writing teams to attend the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival (GEITF), and three writers or writing teams for the New York Television Festival (NYTVF). Places for both events are open to British UK-based comedy screenwriters who have not yet had a television series commissioned, although they may have broadcast writing credits.

Andrew Newman, Chair of the jury said: “We are really excited to have such a distinguished jury, who together have brought us some of Britain’s best comedy, including a wealth of BAFTA-winning and nominated shows. This is our third year at the NYTVF and participants in the previous two years have gained writing work, development deals and representation as a direct result of taking part in the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum. We very much hope to see similar results this year, and our new partnership with the GEITF also promises to bring exciting new opportunities to the chosen writers.”

Jennifer Saunders, who also served on the jury for the NYTVF initiative in 2012, said: “I am really pleased to be on the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum jury again this year as I feel it serves a very useful purpose not just for new uncommissioned comedy writers but also for those on the panel. It's great to see what's out there. I would advise writers presenting work to ensure that it comes off the page well. Sometimes jokes that are in your head don't work out when performed. Read it out loud.”

Other top tips from jury members include:

“Your first scene is almost certainly too long. Make it shorter and get the story going more quickly.” – Kevin Cecil, writer (Black Books, Little Britain)

“If possible, don't submit an extract from an opening episode: First episodes can all too easily become bogged down by the set up. A later episode can often showcase the comedy and the characters far better.” – Saskia Schuster, Commissioning Editor, Sky Comedy

“Define your characters so they don’t all sound the same on the page. It might help to have specific actors in mind, for example a 'Robert Webb' type or a 'Simon Bird' type.” – Kenton Allen, Chief Executive, Big Talk Productions

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 Writing Forum 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 TV industry guests – gaining vital tips and encouragement. Previous guests at NYTVF have included Jenni Konner (Girls) and Phil Rosenthal (Everybody Loves Raymond)
  • 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 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

The closing date for entries for the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival (GEITF) and the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) is 22 May, 2013. 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.

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

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

Full application details and terms and conditions can be found at:


For further information, please contact:

Elizabeth Porter | Tel: 020 7010 0851 | Email: [email protected]
Hollie Rendall | Tel: 020 7010 0829 | Email: [email protected]


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts 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 Learning & Events programme that offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, lectures and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, Los Angeles and New York. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work. For further information, visit and to access the best creative minds in film, TV and games production visit

About BAFTA New York

BAFTA New York ( is charged with carrying BAFTA’s mission forward in the US. This is accomplished through a vibrant community of senior level professionals based in the New York epicenter of international media production.

BAFTA New York’s annual calendar includes a diverse line-up of programs and events, with over 70 pre-release film screenings, talkbacks with talent, and panels focusing on Industry trends in television, film and multimedia. Educational Outreach is aimed at underserved youth in the NYC schools, and also includes The BAFTA New York Media Scholarship Program established to support undergraduate students pursuing media studies at public institutions located within the New York City area.  The 2012-2013 grantee was Hunter College in New York City. BAFTA New York is also devoted to BAFTA’s spotlight on new and emerging talent as exemplified by the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum.

BAFTA New York works closely with the British Consul General to promote the British profile in the US, and also collaborates with many New York based organizations and festivals, such as: The Producers Guild of America [PGA], New York Women in Film and TV [NYWIFT], Screen Actors Guild [SAG], St. Georges Society, BBC AMERICA, The Paley Center for Media, DocNYC, New York Television Festival [NYTVF], Tribeca Film Festival, and Hamptons International Film Festival.

BAFTA New York is committed to working in tandem with those who share its commitment to supporting the quality and integrity of the moving image across all platforms.

About BAFTA Scotland

BAFTA Scotland is an integral branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.  Since 1989, we have helped support, promote and develop all forms of the moving image in Scotland - film, television and games.  Through the British Academy Scotland Awards and BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards, we celebrate and reward excellence, championing both established and emerging talent.  With a comprehensive range of screenings, educational events and masterclasses, BAFTA Scotland is at the core of the screen industries on Scotland, regularly engaging its members, the wider industry and reaching out to the public.

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. 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 38th year, The Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival is the essential annual event for anyone involved in the media industry. GEITF 2013 takes place on 22 - 24 August.

A diverse programme of over 50 sessions includes debates about important industry issues, future trends, glossy entertainment sessions and some of the most innovative leaders in the media delivering keynote speeches.

The Festival is attended by over 1,600 delegates, 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 schemes identify and support emerging talent to promote a healthy and diverse future for our industry.

Karl Warner, Executive Editor, BBC Entertainment Commissioning, is the 2013 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 Linked In


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 12,000 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 organizations 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.