British Comedy Guide

Newsjack Series 24 - Feb/Mar 2021

Newsjack. Copyright: BBC.

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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Dantrobus

  • Monday 8th February 2021, 4:07pm
  • Sheffield, England
  • 142 posts

Hi everybody,

Newsjack is back for a truncated four episode run, starting on 25th February, so thought I'd get a thread started for it.

Submissions open at midday on: Friday 19th February
First sketch deadline: Midday Monday 22nd February
First one-liners deadline: Midday Tuesday 23rd February
Then at the same times each week, for 3 weeks.

Can't see any significant changes to submissions - still two sketches, still three breaking news and three good week bad weeks for the oneliners.

Details at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1hDdvFLfWClPHW7zT3sq01S/submit-a-sketch

They are doing remote live audience recording for this series, so you can apply for tickets to join the recordings. Details are here, pasted from the BBC Shows and Tours email list:

BBC Radio 4 Extra's topical sketch show Newsjack returns for its 24th series with host Kiri Pritchard-McLean.

Irreverent and satirical, Newsjack is the scrapbook sketch show written entirely by the Great British public, and then brought to life by a revolving cast of sketch performers.

The programme continues to be a showcase for new comedy writing: anyone can submit material (sketches and one-line jokes) - these can be submitted every week of the four week run.

Details for submitting material can be found on the Newsjack programme page.

Dates:
Wednesday 24 February
Wednesday 3 March
Wednesday 10 March
Wednesday 17 March

Online access from: 6.30pm
Live recording starts: 7pm

Tickets for these recordings are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

You can apply for a maximum of one ticket per recording and if your application is successful you will only be allocated tickets for one recording date.

Successful applicants will be invited to watch and listen to this live recording using Zoom, allowing you to see and hear the presenters and panelists.

In order for the BBC to be able to record your reactions throughout, you will also be given access to our Virtual Audience Recording system, which will need to be opened in an up-to-date version of Google Chrome on a PC or Mac (tablets and phones are not currently supported). You will be able to hear reactions from all other audience members live, so we hope that even though you are probably sitting at home, we can try and recreate the feeling that you're part of a live audience!

Audience members will be encouraged to react in the same way you would in a theatre - laugh, applaud and react whenever you want to, and when we mix everything together it will sound amazing!

To apply for tickets visit bbc.co.uk/showsandtours.

Full instructions for accessing the recording will be provided to successful applicants.

I've got a bunch of work commitments in Feb and March so my own writing and submitting may be sporadic but I hope to keep track of the discussion here and see how the forum-ers are doing this series.

Good luck, everybody!

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Sheepstar

  • Monday 8th February 2021, 5:59pm
  • Manchester, England
  • 17 posts

Hi - Stupid question inbound!

Although the templates provided are .rtf format, i guess i'm ok submitting .doc format. Just not .pdf?

is that right?

Steve

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Dantrobus

  • Tuesday 9th February 2021, 7:41am
  • Sheffield, England
  • 142 posts
Quote: Sheepstar @ 8th February 2021, 5:59 PM

Hi - Stupid question inbound!

Although the templates provided are .rtf format, i guess i'm ok submitting .doc format. Just not .pdf?

is that right?

Steve

Yes that's right. They use rich text format .rtf because it's accessible across multiple operating systems and applications. Their general advice on this is to stick as closely as you can to their template format, but the important thing is that it should be easy for them to read it and edit it (i.e. not pdf).

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Sheepstar

  • Tuesday 9th February 2021, 8:39am
  • Manchester, England
  • 17 posts
Quote: Dantrobus @ 9th February 2021, 7:41 AM

Yes that's right. They use rich text format .rtf because it's accessible across multiple operating systems and applications. Their general advice on this is to stick as closely as you can to their template format, but the important thing is that it should be easy for them to read it and edit it (i.e. not pdf).

Perfect, thanks

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BTF

  • Tuesday 9th February 2021, 11:11am
  • United Kingdom
  • 565 posts

I have work/family/carer commitments taking up vast amounts of my time in February and March so will also submit very sporadically if at all. I hope to make time to read these forum threads on Newsjack still.

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MargateSteve

  • Monday 15th February 2021, 10:06pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 29 posts

I haven't listened to NJ for a couple of years so was wondering if the style of material they are looking for has changed at all in that time.

I love the idea of the show but I never really found much of what got aired that funny. That is not to say it wasn't funny to many people and is certainly not disrespectful to the submitters but it just wasn't my type of humour. I used to find that a lot of the rejected submissions that got posted in here were better than what got accepted.

I think the fact that my humour is Mock the Week, Jimmy Carr, Frankie Boyle end of the scale and NJ feels more in Michael McIntyre territory is why it just never holds any appeal. That said, I did spend two series making submissions every week and got successful once, in 2017. The irony is that what got in was by far the weakest thing I sent them. I had one one-liner left before submitting so looked a summary of the weeks news, found a story that involved a nostalgic culture reference, so threw a weak one together, that did not really make sense.

I would love to have a few more attempts this series but would struggle to write things in the style the reviewers liked when I used to listen. If they are now looking for the sort of thing that might get laughs mixed with 'oooh's on Mock the Week, then I am up for giving it a go, getting disappointed and trying again the next week!

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BTF

  • Tuesday 16th February 2021, 12:10am
  • United Kingdom
  • 565 posts

I have an odd sense of humour, I think. Unfortunately, therefore, I often don't find the show that funny. The odd sketch in a series is very good though.
I find this with other shows too.

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Dantrobus

  • Tuesday 16th February 2021, 7:49am
  • Sheffield, England
  • 142 posts
Quote: MargateSteve @ 15th February 2021, 10:06 PM

I haven't listened to NJ for a couple of years so was wondering if the style of material they are looking for has changed at all in that time.

I love the idea of the show but I never really found much of what got aired that funny. That is not to say it wasn't funny to many people and is certainly not disrespectful to the submitters but it just wasn't my type of humour. I used to find that a lot of the rejected submissions that got posted in here were better than what got accepted.

I think the fact that my humour is Mock the Week, Jimmy Carr, Frankie Boyle end of the scale and NJ feels more in Michael McIntyre territory is why it just never holds any appeal. That said, I did spend two series making submissions every week and got successful once, in 2017. The irony is that what got in was by far the weakest thing I sent them. I had one one-liner left before submitting so looked a summary of the weeks news, found a story that involved a nostalgic culture reference, so threw a weak one together, that did not really make sense.

I would love to have a few more attempts this series but would struggle to write things in the style the reviewers liked when I used to listen. If they are now looking for the sort of thing that might get laughs mixed with 'oooh's on Mock the Week, then I am up for giving it a go, getting disappointed and trying again the next week!

All of the last series (series 23) and most of the one before (series 22) are available for listen again on BBC Sounds or the website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kvs8r/episodes/player?page=1, though I don't think you'll spot much difference in the style and tone of the show.

For me, one of the good things about Newsjack from a writer point of view is that it's good practice at writing to somebody else's brief: trying to write something that you think is funny AND is different enough to stand out BUT not so different that it wouldn't fit with the tone of the show. That's not to say it isn't frustrating when weak or hacky stuff gets on while your own comedy gold is languishing in the recycling bin!

Quote: BTF @ 16th February 2021, 12:10 AM

I have an odd sense of humour, I think. Unfortunately, therefore, I often don't find the show that funny. The odd sketch in a series is very good though.
I find this with other shows too.

Yes, I always think there are a few sketches each series that are strong enough to make the script in other Radio 4 sketch shows, as well as a bunch of others that could be worked on a bit more to get to that level (i.e. the idea is good but the execution of the sketch isn't quite there). I think it's a pretty good hit rate for a show that's made in a rush using material written by amateur writers, performed by a constantly changing cast!

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MargateSteve

  • Tuesday 16th February 2021, 10:22pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 29 posts
Quote: Dantrobus @ 16th February 2021, 7:49 AM

For me, one of the good things about Newsjack from a writer point of view is that it's good practice at writing to somebody else's brief: trying to write something that you think is funny AND is different enough to stand out BUT not so different that it wouldn't fit with the tone of the show. That's not to say it isn't frustrating when weak or hacky stuff gets on while your own comedy gold is languishing in the recycling bin!

That is exactly what I thought when I persevered for a couple of series. Trouble is it turned out that if the brief does not appeal to me, I struggle to even keep motivated to try! Although my own comedy gold is probably far from that in other peoples eyes, I do feel for people who have had genuinely funny material rejected for an episode because it doesn't fit the remit.

I dare say I will give it a try again and will listen to a couple of episodes from the last series to try to get the feel.

Quote: BTF @ 16th February 2021, 12:10 AM

I have an odd sense of humour, I think. Unfortunately, therefore, I often don't find the show that funny. The odd sketch in a series is very good though.
I find this with other shows too.

This is exactly how it is for me. There will be things that people rave over that just does not hit the spot for me. On the flip-side, there are plenty of shows I have found to be excellent that have failed to amuse others.

If there was a Newsjack style show that took submissions of a more risqué nature, then I think I would be a lot more keen on it.

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Dantrobus

  • Wednesday 17th February 2021, 10:23am
  • Sheffield, England
  • 142 posts

I think it is possible to get away with slightly risqué material on newsjack. I had a one liner broadcast in series 22 that went, "There are reports of people using condoms to protect themselves when pressing the buttons in lifts. Alf, 83, said it was a sensible precaution but he was finding it difficult to get an erection *every* time he left the flat."

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Will Cam

  • Wednesday 17th February 2021, 11:29am [Edited]
  • England
  • 8,054 posts
Quote: Dantrobus @ 17th February 2021, 10:23 AM

I think it is possible to get away with slightly risqué material on newsjack. I had a one liner broadcast in series 22 that went, "There are reports of people using condoms to protect themselves when pressing the buttons in lifts. Alf, 83, said it was a sensible precaution but he was finding it difficult to get an erection *every* time he left the flat."

Great gagLaughing out loud

I haven't submitted anything for years. The way 24 hour news is geared to having to fill advertising space, I find the news stories covered (generally) are either sensationalist or just plain depressing. I also didn't like it when the host started writing their own 7 minute monologue which was usually political. Nish Kumar in particular put me right off.