British Comedy Guide

Newsjack - Series 9

Newsjack. Angela Barnes. Copyright: BBC / Matt Stronge.

Newsjack

Topical satirical sketch show on Radio 4 Extra. The programme has an 'open door' policy allowing anyone to submit material

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Ian Wolf

  • Friday 30th August 2013, 12:52pm
  • Stockton-on-Tees, England
  • 2,835 posts

The next series will begin on 19th September. Tickets available here.

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swerytd

  • Friday 30th August 2013, 4:44pm [Edited]
  • Guildford, England
  • 7,513 posts

Right then, so I guess the below is probably all still valid.

I will edit this list as more relevant stuff becomes available/people post additional things, so it's all in a single place.

First broadcast date is Thu 19th Sept, so first deadline will most likely be the Monday before (16th at 12noon, if previous series are anything to go by).

Below, I've tried to collate a lot of helpful (or unhelpful: delete as applicable) information.

ADDED 10/09: Newsjack Revisited, a compilation of the best bits of series 7, is currently available online, so listen and get your head in the zone. I don't know how long this will be available for.

ADDED 01/10: Newsjack Twitter Feed: They may update this as the recording nears if they need particular one-liners on a breaking topic.

Ed Morrish's what and how to write for Newsjack. He doesn't produce it anymore, but this is the one thing you should read, if nothing else below.

Lyndsay Fenner's blogs about how they make Newsjack:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/posts/How-we-make-BBC-Radio-4-Extras-Newsjack
http://www.ideastap.com/ideasmag/the-knowledge/newsjack-producer-lyndsay-fenner-open-door-radio-comedy

List of helpful videos from the staff about script editing, the writers' meeting, etc.
Script Editor Jack Bernhardt talks about writing
The cast talk about which voices they like doing
The Show What You Wrote's 'Tips for Writers' video; a lot of which is relevant to writing any radio comedy sketches

Ed Morrish's advice on jackapps and one-liners. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kvs8r/features/one-liners

Radio comedy writer James Cary's advice on why you should write for Newsjack(he script-edited other radio shows but is not affiliated with Newsjack)

Here's series 7's 'One Liner Rejects' thread, if people want to read them to get in the mood. Here's series 8's one.

Lots of sketches available in 'Critique' forum to study/see what's wrong/rip-off. Majority will show up in a search for 'NJ:' to get the majority of them in a list.

The last webchat with the crew is available on the link at the top, as are other blogs by other writers.

Justin Edwards talks about the process

Here's a writer's experience of what could happen (in an ideal situation, which happened for her!)
http://mums-the-nerd.tumblr.com/post/40292001463/im-coming-over-all-topical-panel-show

ADDED 09/09: And Gabby Hutchinson-Crouch's fast track 'How To Write For Newsjack' advice.

Here's Alakazam's most excellent 'Prince Albert's Shins' sketch that was broadcast (along with production edits) from last series. And StephenM's 'Billy Footballer'.

Here's Ian's 'how they edited my sketch' sketch (from series 4, I think):
https://www.comedy.co.uk/forums/thread/20167/

Here's (former) script editor Gareth Gwynn's blog on comm/non-comm submissions.

Here's a series 6 webchat, with links to three previous (series 5) webchats below it and here: series 5 webchat 1, series 5 webchat 2, series 5 webchat 3

Formatting: here's a template for the sketches in Google Docs if you don't have/want to use Word. Unfortunately Google Docs has changed so you have to download in .docx rather than .doc and I don't know if that's compatible with the BBC yet. (I write in G-Docs, download then convert in Word to 'old-fashioned' .doc format)

quote from Mr Feeoree on January 17 2013, 10:10 PM GMT
Also people, further to Mr Sweryt's post with the template, here's a blog that then Script Editor wrote 3 years back, re formatting and how much they like it to look proper! : http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/writersroom/2010/01/newsjack_script_smart_or_smart.shtml
/quote
This is the blog that *everyone* at the BBC (and even external prodcos) refer to when asking for radio submissions, so use it. The instructions are written down for you, and there is a link to a copyable/downloadable Google Drive version above that does the same thing, if you don't have Word, and allows you to still send in a Word doc, and I reiterate, even if you don't have Word. As a script editor of an open submissions show myself (and the one who usually painfully puts the final script together), CAN YOU PLEASE USE THIS EFFING TEMPLATE, FOR GOD'S SAKE! It is a massive pain in the arse to have to change your formatting, if it's not like this.

Marc Paterson's pain in writing for Newsjack is very similar to my experience over the weekend. (He wrote this in the run-up to series 7)

Twitter vibe from the producers in series 8 episode 1 is that there are a lot of idiots who don't put their name or email address in their one-liner submissions. Try to avoid this, as angry producers notoriously don't find things funny.

Here are some very good blogs from our own Mr Salisbury about 'The Killer Premise', 'Things to Consider Whilst Drafting' and 'Sketches Need Characters' . Newsjack went reasonably well for him in series 7 so listen to his wise words. ADDED 1/10: David has a very useful list of what NOT to write for Newsjack.

Let the fun and games (read: 'rejection and hair-pulling') commence...

Dan

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Steve Sunshine

  • Friday 30th August 2013, 10:02pm
  • Dagenham, England
  • 14,448 posts

Cheers again Dan
Helpful stuff, all worth a read

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Jinky

  • Saturday 31st August 2013, 1:01am
  • England
  • 783 posts

Lots of good advice there but any newbie trying to get a quick credit should focus on the one-liners that they aren't allowed to call tweets.

To have a chance of getting one of these you should think of a really, really , REALLY good pun about a non-controversial news story and send it in as soon as possible.

Thank me later.

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blahblah

  • Saturday 31st August 2013, 3:05pm
  • sunderland, England
  • 1,130 posts

Like the last September series the first deadline for sketches is the day after the Great North Run. Think I'll be sat at desk on the monday morning tuning sketches and pretending the act of sitting doesn't hurt

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Feeoree

  • Saturday 31st August 2013, 5:04pm
  • Basildon, England
  • 559 posts

I hadn't submitted for the last few eps earlier this year, was incredibly knackered and busy elsewhere.

This time I'm studying a journalism diploma but thankfully, this is study only for a while and on my schedule so gonna devote a wee bit of time to Newsjack again, though I reckon most of it will be doing one-liners this time round.

Quote: blahblah @ August 31 2013, 3:05 PM BST

Like the last September series the first deadline for sketches is the day after the Great North Run. Think I'll be sat at desk on the monday morning tuning sketches and pretending the act of sitting doesn't hurt

Let the pain DRIVE YOU.

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David Salisbury

  • Saturday 31st August 2013, 8:33pm
  • Reading, England
  • 201 posts
Quote: Jinky @ August 31 2013, 1:01 AM BST

Lots of good advice there but any newbie trying to get a quick credit should focus on the one-liners that they aren't allowed to call tweets.

To have a chance of getting one of these you should think of a really, really , REALLY good pun about a non-controversial news story and send it in as soon as possible.

Thank me later.

I agree that this is probably the shortest route to a credit. But the producers are looking for good sketch writers. If you want to make progress into BBC comedy send great sketches week in and week out (preferably when the show is running...) and you will get noticed.

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Steve Sunshine

  • Saturday 31st August 2013, 8:41pm
  • Dagenham, England
  • 14,448 posts

I'm still sending in painful puns as well though.

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David Salisbury

  • Saturday 31st August 2013, 8:48pm
  • Reading, England
  • 201 posts
Quote: Steve Sunshine @ August 31 2013, 8:41 PM BST

I'm still sending in painful puns as well though.

And they are exquisitely painful! Annoyed :D

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playfull

  • Wednesday 4th September 2013, 1:54pm [Edited]
  • Nottingham, England
  • 1,344 posts

OK, confession time - I have never listened to Newsjack.

In order to tailor my sketches to fit I am listening to old episodes on You tube, mainly from 2011 does anyone know where I can find more up to date episodes?

I am also interested in how many members of the BCG have been successful in getting work accepted?

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swerytd

  • Wednesday 4th September 2013, 3:13pm
  • Guildford, England
  • 7,513 posts

The format is still pretty similar to 2011 tbh, so if you've listened to a few of them, but there are a few clips on the Newsjack website.

Dan

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sootyj

  • Wednesday 4th September 2013, 3:15pm
  • England
  • 51,287 posts

So Obama is going to drop an atom bomb on Syria, anyone else joining in?

Quote: Steve Sunshine @ August 31 2013, 8:41 PM BST

I'm still sending in painful puns as well though.

You monster I'm calling the UN puns are Weapons of mass derivation.

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playfull

  • Wednesday 4th September 2013, 6:22pm
  • Nottingham, England
  • 1,344 posts
Quote: Tim Azure @ September 4 2013, 3:54 PM BST

Jennie, I believe your services are needed...

EDIT: Stand down, post deleted.

Too late! I saw it! My eyes, oh God my eyes!...

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V Riddoch

  • Saturday 7th September 2013, 11:49am
  • Bromley, England
  • 135 posts

I have one ticket for the recording on 25 September, if anybody needs it. (Apparently secondary school open days are more important than my comedy-writing career.)

Cheers

Viv Scotland

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Jaicee

  • Sunday 8th September 2013, 10:10am
  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • 206 posts

Got 2 things written to punt in next week.Very topical - a Titanic joke and one about the relief of Khartoum.

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