British Comedy Guide

Newsjack 2016 Page 34

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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nabbit

  • Wednesday 11th January 2017, 5:13pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 25 posts

I went along to the briefing meeting at 6pm on Tuesday. The room was packed! Must have been over a hundred of us there (and there was repeat of the talk at 8pm to presumably a few less).
Most of what was conveyed is probably familiar to anybody who has submitted before. They reiterated the structure of each show, and gave some examples of the new 'Number-crunch' one-liners. But there were a few new tips (or old tips expressed in new ways). One of the bits of advice from producer Abby that I think I will try to take to heart is: "every line should fight for its place on the page".
Adnan also said that "brevity is great". I was tempted to ask if this was the name for this year's referendum, but in the assembled company I think any bold attempt at humour was risky.
Producer Adnan explained that they typically get 500 or so sketches submitted for each show. Of these, all are read, and by Tuesday, about 25 have survived to be refined and stand a chance of making the recording. They get 600-700 one-liners, and these are all read out in a round-table fashion.

They admitted that the proportion of material in each show written by staff writers was greater than material from non-commissioned writers in the last series, but they wish to redress this in the new series.

The two staff writers present were Robin Morgan (http://www.robinjmorgan.co.uk) and Jenny Laville (https://jennylaville.com). They both reflected that they only began to become more successful with their non-commed sketches once they fully committed to the weekly regime.
They also recommended this article about successful sketch writing for Newsjack:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/gabby-hutchinson-crouch/newsjack-radio-4_b_3883040.html .

Here are some of the questions asked that I recall being asked by the audience:
Q: Is there any topic that you are bored with/angry to see? A: No.
Q: Do you start reading/selecting the sketches before the Monday deadline? (that was me asking that one; curious if there was an advantage to submitting on Sunday afternoon). A: No.
Q: If we get the "recorded but cut" email, is it possible to learn which of our subs made it this far? A: Yes, email Bev and she'll tell you.
Q: Can the writer credits go on the website like they used to? A: Yes.

I travelled some distance to be there, but was pleased I did. I left feeling less sorry for myself about not having got anything on in the last twenty sketches I sent in! The enthusiasm for the show - and for its mission of discovering writing talent - was tangible and infectious. It was nice to feel like a member of a community that exists around the show. I got to speak to three people! And they were nice. We speculated on the dark art of Newsjack success. Glad I went. Hope the account above is useful or interesting.

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Will Cam

  • Wednesday 11th January 2017, 7:18pm
  • England
  • 7,493 posts

Very kind of you to share that with us Nabbit. Thank you.

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Steve Sunshine

  • Wednesday 11th January 2017, 10:04pm
  • Dagenham, England
  • 14,445 posts

I was at the 8 O'clock one
Where they shared the proper secrets
Ooh and i gt a selfie with the BBC Dalek

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Will Cam

  • Thursday 12th January 2017, 10:14pm
  • England
  • 7,493 posts

No Steve. The BBC Darlek got a selfie with you.

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Steve Sunshine

  • Thursday 12th January 2017, 10:16pm
  • Dagenham, England
  • 14,445 posts

He was holding my phone in his plunger
So you may be right

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Will Cam

  • Friday 13th January 2017, 12:04am
  • England
  • 7,493 posts

I haven't sent anything to Newsjack for about 5 years. Now I am a man of leisure I should really give it a go.

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Michael Monkhouse

  • Friday 13th January 2017, 2:52pm
  • Eternal City, Italy
  • 3,103 posts
Quote: Will Cam @ 11th January 2017, 7:18 PM

Very kind of you to share that with us Nabbit. Thank you.

Seconded.

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Mrkgrngr

  • Wednesday 18th January 2017, 12:45pm
  • England
  • 64 posts

Right. Anybody who isn't familiar with Angela Barnes download the latest comedians comedian podcast. Not only will you get to know her style but she also has great tips for writing topical jokes. Do it kids.

http://www.comedianscomedian.com/

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Paul Wimsett

  • Saturday 21st January 2017, 10:16am
  • Folkestone, England
  • 2,540 posts
Quote: Mark @ 5th January 2017, 6:20 PM

FYI, Newsjack returns to the radio (with new host Angela Barnes) on Thursday 26th January, so I think (but this is not yet confirmed) that the first deadline for sketches will be Monday 23rd January.

The producers for this 16th series will be Adnan Ahmed and Abby Kumar.

This would have been the ideal time to start a new thread, Mark?

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Bonzo

  • Monday 23rd January 2017, 11:19am
  • London, England
  • 723 posts

Well, we sent ours off this morning - 2 sketches about 1) Andy Murray and 2) an initiative to plant trees in Manchester.

Good luck everyone! :)

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GoWithIt

  • Monday 23rd January 2017, 11:36am
  • United Kingdom
  • 122 posts

2 sketches sent for the new series!
Good luck everyone!

J x

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kate to the party

  • Monday 23rd January 2017, 12:14pm
  • England
  • 38 posts

Just sent one in this time -I wasn't going to send any but kept thinking about an article I read and then in the middle of the night realised I was annoyed enough about it/had enough jokes to make an entire sketch which is cool (not so cool for my sleeping patterns, but yeah)!

Good luck everyone!

(Also do we need to start a new thread for 2017? Or just change the name to be non-year-specific?)

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