British Comedy Guide

Newsjack Series 13

Newsjack. Copyright: BBC.


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


Michael Monkhouse

  • Thursday 20th August 2015, 12:00pm
  • Eternal City, Italy
  • 5,553 posts

First deadline 7 September. Nice clip on Twitter.



  • Monday 24th August 2015, 6:27pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 27 posts

And so it begins! Again ...



  • Tuesday 25th August 2015, 10:02am
  • England
  • 23 posts

I'm currently in a country that for one reason or another blocks a lot of webpages, the BBC being one of them! Is it possible that somebody may drop some screen shots onto this thread (is there a way?) or send me some screen shots of what's required etc.
Thanks to anyone willing!

AvatarBCG Supporter


  • Tuesday 25th August 2015, 3:55pm
  • London, England
  • 835 posts

The submission info is 2 sketches and 1 advert plus 6 oneliners - the webpage info is below....

Submit a sketch
Make sure you read our rules before you start sending us your material...
1. Download the template(s) Below

2. Write your name and email address in the header

3. Write in your sketches or one-liners

4. Attach your sketches or one-liners in an email and send to:

N.B. you will NOT receive an auto-response confirmation from However, if you do not get an "undelivered message" back, then we have received it. Thanks.


(These are .rtf files - compatible with both MAC and PC, if you're having trouble opening it please try opening in another programme)

(This is an e.g of what a formatted sketch looks like - Arial 12pt, double line spacing, indentation hanging by 4cm. If you are having real problems with the template above please just get your sketch looking as close to this as possible)


Sketches: 12.00pm Monday 7 September

One-Liners: 12.00pm Tuesday 8 September

Then at the same times each week, for 5 weeks.

Submissions after these times will NOT be read.

Sketch Guidelines:

Please write an introduction for each sketch for Nish to read, clearly outlining the news story it's from and setting up the sketch for clarity.

Each episode will have the following sections. The show will contain a maximum of 3 sketches in each section.

Arts & Entertainment
Business & Economy
Science & Technology
World News

Please think outside the box - delve deep for stories you find fun/interesting.

Sketch Limit per Episode: 2 Sketches per person.

30 Second Advert Guidelines:

This is a 30 second advert satirising something from the news that week - i.e. The Oscars, a political ad, infomercial, etc. Although we're not asking for charity appeals this time. (We've had too many. Our sympathy has dwindled.)

30 Second Advert Limit per Episode: 1 per person. 130 words maximum.

One-liner Guidelines:

Each episode will contain one-liners in the following forms ONLY:

Breaking News.

A One-liner ideally linked to a current news story.

e.g: Obama gives interview to Buzzfeed. What happened next will warm your heart.

Goodbye TV Listings, hello 'Viewsjack'.

That's right, the one liners have evolved once again. Newsjack will head to the street to get various views on pressing issues.

Viewsjacks are vox pops in format - An opportunity for a quick, characterful one-liner from a member of the public.


Man: 'I'm voting for the Green Party because of their policy to introduce less severe sentences to prevent overcrowding prisons. Now give me your wallet.'

Woman: 'If Kanye doesn't like Beck, why can't he just drink champagne like all the other pop stars?'

One-liner Limit per Episode: 6 One-Liners per person. (3 Breaking news, 3 Viewsjack.)


There is a flat fee for all non-commissioned material (regardless of the writer's previous experience):

£42/minute for sketches. (£21/30 seconds for sketches.)

£21 for quickies and one liners.

This fee will be for taking all rights in the work on a non-exclusive basis.



  • Wednesday 26th August 2015, 1:16am [Edited]
  • England
  • 23 posts

Thank you bonzo! Much appreciated :D

With this first episode can we use news stories from this week? Or do they only want things from the 7 days before?



  • Wednesday 26th August 2015, 6:43am
  • England
  • 6,620 posts
Quote: Jodan @ 26th August 2015, 1:16 AM BST

With this first episode can we use news stories from this week? Or do they only want things from the 7 days before?

Being the first episode of the series, there will be (the bigger)stories from any time since the last series ended. :)



  • Wednesday 26th August 2015, 2:02pm
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 12 posts

Hi everyone. I've written a couple of jokes to test if I have the newsjack chops and I was hoping I could post them here and ask you guys what you think? Thank you!


Steve Sunshine

  • Wednesday 26th August 2015, 2:09pm
  • Dagenham, England
  • 14,672 posts

Search for a Newsjack rejects thread & post them on there
I'd be happy to have a look at them



  • Wednesday 26th August 2015, 2:41pm [Edited]
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 12 posts

Cheers Mr Sunshine. I'll check those forums now and here's a couple of my attempts-

Scientists have created a 'mother' robot that can create babies out of mechanised blocks. When asked the mother robot said it was a wonderful surprise and also that she's trying to track down a fax machine she met a club 9 months ago.

At Nine Elms in Battersea the world's first sky pool is to be built between two blocks of flats. The pool rules state no heavy petting, no running and no-one under half a million a year.

Thanks again!


Paul Wimsett

  • Thursday 27th August 2015, 12:50pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,395 posts

Er, I think this thread would be swamped if we all did that. Could you put them in critique please?



  • Friday 28th August 2015, 12:51pm
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 12 posts

Sorry about that, I'll move them now. Do you think it would be best to delete the comment?


kate to the party

  • Tuesday 1st September 2015, 1:01pm
  • England
  • 56 posts

Enjoyed the mother robot one, Hamstrad! I do think it could go even snappier with the second part (the hunt for the fax machine bit) but I also like that there are enough funny details in there that you could take it the other way and go Full Sketch if you wanted.

One thing I've been thinking about with the upcoming series is the whole satire element of the show -on one hand it's important to have a strong satirical stance and actually say something about current affairs that has an impact.

On the other hand, how do you do this and stay 'impartial' i.e. avoid going too obviously left or right (lol) politically?

Just wondering if people have had similar experiences/feelings on this, or if anyone has any advice?



  • Wednesday 2nd September 2015, 11:39am [Edited]
  • Guildford, England
  • 7,526 posts

Here's the usual 'trying-to-put-the-useful-stuff-all-in-one-post' post...

Probably (not necessarily!) all still valid from last time.

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

Submission Guidelines for Series 13 Everything in the link above supercedes anything I've put below, as the below is mostly historic things from the last few series mish-mashed all together.

Video of Nish giving tips about submitting.

First deadline is the Monday before broadcast (7th) at 12noon for sketches (2 each per show this series, plus an additional 'advert' sketch of 30 secs duration, that could be a traditional ad or party political broadcast or programme ident, etc) and 12noon on Tuesday for one-liners (and the old 'VoxPops' are back in fashion this series).

Tip: put an intro to the sketch and put a gag in that intro. Make the gag in the intro different to the gags in the sketch; otherwise you're just proving that you can do your gag a lot shorter.

Two pages is the ideal length. The readers admit to getting bored after that.

Similarly, two people chatting in a sketch is boring for the readers, so may not progress.

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

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:

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.

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)

Have I Got News For You, 15-Minute Musical and Weekending writer Dave Cohen's advice

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 and series 9'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!)

And Gabby Hutchinson-Crouch's (now an in-house writer!) 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):

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

Instead of us all arguing about formatting, as that repeats here more than Last of the Summer Wine, the producer have kindly supplied templates on the submissions page. Use whatever they put here.


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 Dan Tetsell (the then Script Editor) wrote 3 years back, re formatting and how much they like it to look proper! : /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 was 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. David also has a very useful list of what NOT to write for Newsjack.

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


AvatarBCG Supporter


  • Wednesday 2nd September 2015, 12:16pm
  • London, England
  • 835 posts

Thanks Dan - always a great reference! :)