Newsjack. Copyright: BBC


  • Radio sketch show
  • BBC Radio 4 Extra / BBC Radio 7
  • 2009 - 2021
  • 143 episodes (24 series)

Topical satirical sketch show on Radio 4 Extra. The programme had an 'open door' policy allowing anyone to submit material. Stars Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Angela Barnes, Nish Kumar, Romesh Ranganathan, Justin Edwards and more.

How to write for Newsjack

Newsjack. Copyright: BBC

Newsjack is a topical comedy show on BBC radio that invites everyone to submit material to it. The producers sift through all the jokes and sketches sent in to find the best, and these are then recorded in front of a live audience and broadcast on Radio 4 Extra.

Sending content to the show is a great way to hone your writing craft and is also the best way of getting spotted by the BBC. Whilst it shouldn't be your primary goal, it can also earn you money - as the BBC pays for the contributions that make it to air (£22.75 for a one-liner and per 30 seconds of a sketch).

The producers are looking for two separate things: Topical sketches and Topical one-liners.

Below you start writing anything, you should listen to at least one episode to get an idea of the tone of the show and the sort of material that works for the format. If Newsjack is currently on air (it tends to be on twice a year - early Spring and early Autumn) you can hear episodes via BBC Sounds or as podcasts. If the show isn't on air, you can sometimes find old episodes on YouTube etc.

You should also read and listen to the insight we have collated below before jumping in too - hundreds of people submit to the show each week, but there's only room for a few sketches, so to maximise your chances you need to make sure you're writing things to match what the producers are looking for.

You can submit a maximum of two sketches each week, and six one-liners.

The deadlines are very strict:

Sketches: Noon on Mondays

One-liners: Noon on Tuesdays

When you're ready to submit head to the Newsjack submission page to download the template files you need to type your comedy lines into.


Here's some content British Comedy Guide has published to help you make your Newsjack submissions as good as they can be...


Kiri Pritchard-McLean

[/link]Why write for Newsjack

Host Kiri Pritchard-McLean says "Are you funny? Are you interested in the news? Then why not you?".


Newsjack. Angela Barnes. Copyright: BBC / Matt Stronge

[/link]Writing Tips

Previous host Angela Barnes offered up these tips on how best to be successful writing for the show. For example, "If a word can be taken out and it still makes sense, take it out."



Newsjack. Copyright: BBC

[/link]A guide to the week

Ever wondered how the show is put together? Here's our detailed guide, which also contains lots of tips on how best to ensure your sketches make it through the selection process.



Newsjack Writers Briefing, picture by Simon Paul Miller. Copyright: BBC

[/link]Behind-the-scenes: 5 lessons learnt

BCG writer Craig headed along to watch the show being put together, and in this article he shares some of the lessons he learnt... like just how much chance you have getting on the show (it's a good chance, if you're a good writer!).



Sitcom Geeks

[/link]Sitcom Geeks talk to Newsjack

Our Sitcom Geeks podcast visited the show to talk to the production team and some of the writers. This episode is packed with insight, and bonus tips from producer Adnan Ahmed.



Image shows from L to R: Ed Amsden, Tom Coles

[/link]Tips from two script editors

Newsjack script editors Ed Amsden and Tom Coles offer some tips.




[/link]BCG Pro tutorial

If you are a member of BCG Pro, our website for those who write, produce and perform, you can access an 80+ page tutorial on how to write great comedy sketches. It includes a section on Newsjack in amongst it all.


You'll also find you can chat with other writers via our Newsjack forum threads

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