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The Big Apple Beckons: BAFTA finds British comedy writing stars of the future

11 August 2011
British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Top writers will participate in a BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum at the 7th annual New York Television Festival

Following a nationwide competition three of the UK’s most promising comedy television writers have been chosen by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) to mix with cream of the US television industry at the upcoming New York Television Festival (NYTVF). Anne-Marie Draycott, Thomas Phipps and Greg De Roeck will fly to New York courtesy of British Airways and have their work performed live in front of high profile NYTVF industry attendees at a special BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum on 22 September at the 92|Y TRIBECA.

27 year-old Greg De Roeck from London graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama in 2005, where he studied Drama and Applied Theatre. Upon graduating, he spent six months with the Royal Court Theatre’s Young Writers Programme. Thomas Phipps (22) read English at Balliol College, Oxford where he met his writing partner Peter Bowden. Together they co-wrote the award-winning satirical magazine "The Oxymoron" and the non-award-winning surreal joke-zine "Animal Rabbit", which went to the Edinburgh Fringe. Anne-Marie Draycott is a Yorkshire-born actress and writer with a passion for quirky character-based comedy. She met her writing partner Charity Trimm (also from Yorkshire) when they worked with Miranda Hart and joined forces, hosting their own comedy residencies in London and developing stand-up, sketch and musical comedy material.

The intense judging process involved five rounds of voting and the best scripts were read by two juries headed up by Andrew Newman Creative Director, Objective Productions in the UK and Terence Gray, Director of the New York Television Festival in the US. The juries included BAFTA members from London and New York representing writers, producers and acting talent from BAFTA-winning and nominated shows Little Britain, Extras, The Inbetweeners, My Family, Peep Show and Getting On as well as Shane Allen, Head of Comedy, Channel Four. A specialised script report was sent to each of the hundreds of applicants to help them develop their writing and story skills. The winning writers will be mentored by BAFTA members in London and New York representing some of Britain’s most talented comedy practitioners and senior level television executives in the US.

As well as having their work performed by professional actors at the NYTVF, the three writers will receive a festival pass, British Airways World Traveller return flights, accommodation and ‘Official Artist’ status at the festival, allowing them comprehensive access to all festival premieres, hospitality events, panels, screenings and special one-on-one meetings with US TV development executives.

Kevin Price, Chief Operating Officer of BAFTA said:

“This is a unique opportunity for emerging talent to make their mark on a global stage, which is an ideal way for the Academy to utilise its international presence to celebrate excellence in the screen industries. The BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum has a fantastic legacy for discovering new writing talent and we’re very excited about taking this event format to our colleagues in New York.”

Terence Gray, Founder and Executive Director of the NYTVF said:

“The NYTVF was founded to provide a platform for independent artists to showcase their work and gain access to television industry decision makers, and the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum provides a terrific opportunity for UK-based artists to do just that. We are honoured to partner with BAFTA on this initiative and welcome the chance to shine a light on these artists as well as emerging talent from around the world."

Farah Abushwesha, Co-Founder of Rocliffe said:

“Since the Forum’s inception in 2000, participants have gone on to award-winning success, including Jack Thorne, James Dormer, Claire Wilson and Josh Appignanesi. Now, as the forum moves across the pond, three undiscovered British comedy writers will have the rare and potentially career-changing opportunity to have their work performed in front of prominent US television industry executives. It’s a golden ticket for three new writers.”

Luisa Fernandez, Global Sponsorship Manager, British Airways said:

“As a proud BAFTA partner, British Airways is very excited to be supporting the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum. As part of our commitment to showcasing the very best in British creativity, we have launched the Great Britons programme – helping British talent to take off. Supporting Rocliffe is an extension of this program and provides up and coming British scriptwriters with a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum takes place on 22 September 2011 at 92|Y TRIBECA, 200 Hudson Street, NY, NY 10013. For tickets please visit:

To follow the writers’ blogs go to: http

Olivia Jarvis at EMFoundation
T: +44 (0) 20 7247 4171
E: [email protected]

Alex Cook at BAFTA
T: 020 7292 5806
E: [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

About BAFTA in New York

BAFTA in New York, founded in February 1996, is a professional non-profit organization whose goal is to recognise excellence in film, television and digital media and promote it in New York.

Each year BAFTA in New York hosts an extensive roster of feature film screenings and television events for its membership and other professionals working within the entertainment industry. BAFTA in New York provides exclusive access to Q&As with talent, writers and filmmakers; panel discussions on industry trends; and co-produces events with other established organisations in the film, television, entertainment and publishing industries.

BAFTA in New York continues to forge alliances with local corporate and diplomatic communities as well as working with under served youth groups through its outreach and educational initiatives.

For further information, visit


Established in 2005, the NYTVF is a pioneer of the independent television movement, constructing new and innovative paths of development and talent identification, while simultaneously complementing the traditional television development model. Its annual New York Television Festival – held each fall in New York City – is recognized as the industry’s first independent television festival which provides a platform to elevate the work of artists creating for the small screen. Through the Festival and other year-round activities, the NYTVF’s mission is to connect its community of over 8,500 independent creative artists with leading networks, studios and brands by cultivating relationships that lead to new opportunities. For more information on the NYTVF, the annual Festival and its competitions, visit or follow NYTVF on Twitter (@nytvf), Facebook or YouTube.

About Rocliffe

Rocliffe is an organisation that created a series of events, notably the New Writing Forums, now held at BAFTA and renamed the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum.

The BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum is a phenomenally successful event which has been running for over 10 years and has had huge significance for lots of career starters in the film and television industries. Previous guests and patrons include BAFTA-winning and nominated directors Mike Newell and John Madden and screenwriter Julian Fellowes.

With its inception in 2000 by founding member Farah Abushwesha, it is now run by Pippa Mitchell and Farah 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 digital backdrops and by especially composed music by new composers from Air Edel. The event promises 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 giving unknown writers the chance to get their work seen and heard. Past featured writers include James Dormer, Jack Thorne, Josh Appignanesi and Claire Wilson.

About British Airways

British Airways is offering career defining opportunities to three talented Brits in the fields of film, art and food as part of British Airways’ Great Britons programme. Since 2009 it has rewarded a number of individuals and groups and continues to support talent with free flights. Richard E. Grant, Heston Blumenthal and Tracey Emin are heading up the three fields and will offer up to five mentoring sessions to their chosen Great Briton.

With film playing an integral part of the Great Britons programme, British Airways is also a key partner to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and is supporting Rocliffe by providing a further set of flights for three fledgling script writers so that they can travel to New York to pursue their dreams. As an extension of the Great Britons programme, this demonstrates the on-going support that British Airways has for emerging British talent within the industry.

For entry details, visit

Winners will be announced on August 19, 2011.

To download this press release as a Word document, Rocliffe NY Comedy 2011 (86 KB) .