British Comedy Guide

Newsjack 2016

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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MargateSteve

  • Thursday 21st January 2016, 1:11pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 posts

I only found out about Newsjack just before Christmas so have been eagerly awaiting news of a new series.
I would like to try my hand at submitting but having never heard the show and it not currently being available on iPlayer, I am unsure what sort of content it contains or what time it airs. For example, are there any subjects that will not be accepted such as jokes about Yewtree or digs at individuals? Or so long as it is relevant, funny and not too offensive, will anything be considered?

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Nogget

  • Thursday 21st January 2016, 2:40pm
  • England
  • 6557 posts
Quote: MargateSteve @ 21st January 2016, 1:11 PM GMT

are there any subjects that will not be accepted such as jokes about Yewtree or digs at individuals? Or so long as it is relevant, funny and not too offensive, will anything be considered?

Occasionally something which could cause offence slips in, but usually not. In general, it's better to be safe than sorry.

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beakachu

  • Thursday 21st January 2016, 3:51pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 4 posts

There is no information about actually submitting, does anyone know when that will be put on the website?

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swerytd

  • Thursday 21st January 2016, 4:19pm [Edited]
  • Guildford, England
  • 7511 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:
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)

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!)
http://mums-the-nerd.tumblr.com/post/40292001463/im-coming-over-all-topical-panel-show

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):
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

Simon Paul Miller's 'Confessions of a Newsjack Addict'

Formatting:
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.

OLD NOTE ABOUT FORMATTING THAT IS WORTH KEEPING IN FOR REFERENCE:

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! : 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 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...

Dan

Avatar

V Riddoch

  • Thursday 21st January 2016, 5:52pm
  • Bromley, England
  • 132 posts
Quote: swerytd @ 21st January 2016, 4:19 PM GMT

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

Ah, while we're living in such uncertain times, I always feel all warm inside when it's time for you to post your twice-yearly Newsjack guide. You're the seventh emergency service.

Avatar

Bonzo

  • Thursday 21st January 2016, 7:06pm
  • London, England
  • 701 posts
Quote: MargateSteve @ 21st January 2016, 1:11 PM GMT

I only found out about Newsjack just before Christmas so have been eagerly awaiting news of a new series.
I would like to try my hand at submitting but having never heard the show and it not currently being available on iPlayer, I am unsure what sort of content it contains or what time it airs. For example, are there any subjects that will not be accepted such as jokes about Yewtree or digs at individuals? Or so long as it is relevant, funny and not too offensive, will anything be considered?

Hi there,
You can find lots of clips of sketches (and I believe one clip of oneliners) on the website.
Good luck!
:)

Avatar

MargateSteve

  • Sunday 24th January 2016, 8:36pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 posts

Thanks Bonzo. I have also found a few episodes on YouTube so have an idea of the sort of content they use.

Avatar

Dantrobus

  • Tuesday 26th January 2016, 10:09am
  • England
  • 23 posts

Hooray for the biannual disappointment ritual.

Email refresh button, prepare for your ineffectual Thursday hammering.

Avatar

Michael Monkhouse

  • Tuesday 26th January 2016, 10:31am
  • Eternal City, Italy
  • 2798 posts

Sec**ted.
I got one joke into NJ but it was c**t from the final edit: I'm so excited about the new series of Doctor Who, I'm gonna have a party last week.
Mind you, as I say when only half my students turn up, I'm a class half-full, not class half-empty kinda guy.

Avatar

jabashe

  • Wednesday 27th January 2016, 11:02am
  • England
  • 65 posts

LET THE DONALD TRUMP JOKES COMMENCE

Avatar

swerytd

  • Wednesday 27th January 2016, 1:06pm
  • Guildford, England
  • 7511 posts

What's that thing on Donald Trump's head?
Well, not a f**king sombrero, that's for sure!

Dan

Avatar

radiogagger

  • Sunday 31st January 2016, 12:12am [Edited]
  • Lundon, England
  • 74 posts
Quote: MargateSteve @ 24th January 2016, 8:36 PM GMT

Thanks Bonzo. I have also found a few episodes on YouTube so have an idea of the sort of content they use.

Links to the stuff on YouTube would be handy please Steve - I did try looking once before but nothing came up..

Quote: swerytd @ 21st January 2016, 4:19 PM GMT

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:
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)

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!)
http://mums-the-nerd.tumblr.com/post/40292001463/im-coming-over-all-topical-panel-show

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):
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:
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.

OLD NOTE ABOUT FORMATTING THAT IS WORTH KEEPING IN FOR REFERENCE:

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! : 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 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...

Dan

After 13 series - I don't have any hair left...

Avatar

Mikey Jackson

  • Sunday 31st January 2016, 3:57pm
  • Worthing, West Sussex, England
  • 2804 posts
Quote: Michael Monkhouse @ 26th January 2016, 10:31 AM GMT

I got one joke into NJ but it was c**t from the final edit:

:O

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Michael Monkhouse

  • Sunday 31st January 2016, 4:29pm
  • Eternal City, Italy
  • 2798 posts
Quote: Mikey Jackson @ 31st January 2016, 3:57 PM GMT

:O

I have to apologize for last show, I said, 'F**k One f**king Direction, those f**king f**kers.' Afterwards an old lady with three children came up and said, 'Can you please stop saying One Direction? C**ts.'

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