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Channel 4 and Bristol UNESCO City of Film launch scheme to develop drama writing talent

The Business Magazine article image for: Channel 4 and Bristol UNESCO City of Film launch scheme to develop drama writing talent
16 May 2022

Channel 4 has launched a brand new scheme designed to identify and support new TV drama writers in the West and South West of England.

The scheme has been devised by Channel 4’s Bristol hub in collaboration with Bristol UNESCO City of Film and its partners BFI NETWORK (delivered regionally in the South West by Watershed), UWE Bristol, and The Bottle Yard Studios (pictured).

Opening for applications today (Monday, May 16), the new C4 TV Drama New Writers Scheme (West and South West) invites applications from new and emerging writers based in West and South West of England, with a particular focus on diverse perspectives across the region.

The scheme is open to unrepresented writers looking for their first writing credit and writers who are working on developing their own original series.

Twelve successful applicants will receive six months’ specialist support that will include in-person writing workshops and training in Bristol, industry mentoring and an introduction to scripted drama production companies.

After completing the scheme, participants will be able to submit a first draft script for consideration and feedback from Channel 4’s drama commissioning editor, Gwawr Lloyd.

“Ensuring that the Nations and the Regions are represented in its dramas is a real priority for Channel 4," said Gwawr.

"As a broadcaster, we have a history of discovering and nurturing new talent - it’s something that we are passionate about.

"Launching this TV Drama New Writers scheme is a fantastic opportunity for the channel to identify talent from the region and to work with them to help us get authentic, original stories on screen - reflecting audiences back on themselves.

"It’s the perfect opportunity for the Channel 4 Bristol Hub to collaborate with our local partners to give stories that matter the platform they deserve.”

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: “This exciting opportunity shows what can be achieved having brought Channel 4 to Bristol, working closely with our UNESCO City of Film partners.

"It’s a fantastic scheme that demonstrates the value of the partnerships being forged in the creative sector and will strengthen the region’s writing talent-base, hopefully leading to new stories that represent the diversity of our city and the wider region reaching our screens as TV drama.

"Thank you to Channel 4, Bristol UNESCO City of Film and all the partners involved for joining forces to make this happen.”

Alice Cabanas, head of BFI NETWORK said: “BFI NETWORK is pleased to back this new writers scheme in the South West through our regional delivery partner in Bristol, Watershed; building on strong existing partnerships to offer an exciting and bespoke new opportunity.

"The scheme feeds into BFI NETWORK’s ambitions to upskill and support local writers, as well as encourage growth of the scripted TV Drama and film sector in the South West.

"Watershed and our regional BFI NETWORK talent executives will be working with the other partners to ensure this scheme benefits the local writing community and platforms new perspectives.”

Lynn Barlow, assistant vice-chancellor, creative and cultural industries engagement, UWE Bristol, said: “Great writing underpins the success of the screen industry. Finding new stories and developing the skills of new writers are the first important steps in that success.

"UWE is delighted to be part of this partnership with Channel 4.”


Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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