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Submissions for Comedy Pilot Scripts by Women close on September 11th

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Woman reviewing script
The Female Pilot Club was founded in 2019 by award-winning comedy TV and Radio writer Kay Stonham | Photo: Ron Lach

Award-winning broadcaster UKTV announces a new comedy TV script call-out in partnership with Female Pilot Club. The call for submissions is open August 8th through September 11th, and invites women to submit original comedy scripts featuring female lead characters over the age of 45.

Since 2019 Female Pilot Club has produced readings of new comedy scripts in front of live audiences with the cream of British comedy talent, including Arabella Weir, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Kiell Smith-Bynoe and Robert Webb. This announcement marks its first collaboration with a broadcaster.

“Female Pilot Club exists to amplify brilliant female comedy voices and to help great TV pilot scripts take off and fly,” says Kay Stonham, “We’re excited to partner with UKTV to find some great new comedy scripts written by women.”

Female Pilot Club was founded with support from Comedy 50:50 by award-winning comedy TV and Radio writer Kay Stonham (My Family, Harry Enfield and Chums, Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression, Shaun the Sheep,) writer Abigail Burdess (Tracey Ullman’s Show, Paddington, That Mitchell & Webb Look) and actor and writer Emily Chase (Bad Salsa, Bloody Comedy TV).

The Club was founded to address inequality. Female writers continue to face challenges pursuing careers in the film and television industry. The Writers’  of Great Britain (WGGB) revealed in their 2018 Gender Inequality and Screenwriters report that only 17% of comedy films made in the UK had at least one female writer, and that just 11% of TV sitcoms were predominantly female-written.

UKTV is also passionate about Diversity and Inclusion and actively works towards a range of pillar strategies broaching areas such as leadership and responsibility, talent and development, culture and working environment, and on screen and production diversity. Recent projects run by the commissioning team include Rosie Jones’s Disability Extravaganza, a comedy showcase for up and coming disabled comedians which is now live on the Dave YouTube channel, and the upcoming All New Laughs pilots on Dave, which are the result of a WriterSlam to elevate TV writers from underrepresented groups.

“Partnerships like this are so important,” says Lindsey Rost, Development Executive – Scripted Comedy, UKTV. “Working with organisations like the Female Pilot Club, we can identify and elevate talent that too often goes undiscovered. We look forward to seeing some wonderful new comedy come from this initiative, and hope it opens doors for the talented writers who participate”

Information about the initiative can be found on the Female Pilot Club website.

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Officers implement new tactics to protect women in central London

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Officers implement new tactics to protect women in central London
On a recent patrol officers stopped eight men who raised suspicions, subsequently arresting six of them for offenses

Met officers patrolling the London West End are now using new training to identify predatory behavior, addressing concerns for the safety of women and girls.

The training, originally developed for counter-terrorism policing, equips officers to spot signs and behavioral cues of potential offenders. It has been rolled out to officers patrolling London streets to protect women and girls at risk of violence.

This initiative is part of the Met’s proactive operation, ‘Project Vigilant’, where officers conduct plain-clothed patrols, monitor live CCTV, and have uniformed officers on standby to respond and intervene when necessary.

“The Met is committed in tackling sexual offenders and rebuilding trust amongst women and girls in local communities. It is devastating that women and girls are not able to enjoy a night out with friends due to the potential harm they could face at the hands of predatory men. We remain focused in creating a safe space for women and girls and encourage all victims of violence or sexual violence come forward to help bring offenders to justice,” says Sargeant Augustine Anyaegbuna of the Westminster neighbourhood team.

On the most recent Vigilant patrol, officers stopped eight men who raised suspicions. Six of these were subsequently arrested for offenses including sexual assault, drug possession, robbery, and theft.

Beyond the streets of the capital, domestic abuse remains a significant issue across the country. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, an estimated 2.1 million people aged 16 and over (1.4 million women and 751,000 men) experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2023.

However, the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows a slight decrease in domestic abuse-related prosecutions. There were 51,288 prosecutions in England and Wales for the year ending March 2023, down from 53,207 in the previous year.

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Channel 4’s Writers Scheme Welcomes 20 UK Authors

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Channel 4's New Writers Scheme Welcomes 20 UK Authors
Twenty people from across the UK have joined a Channel 4 scheme designed to work with TV drama writers

Twenty people from across the UK have joined a Channel 4 scheme designed to work with TV drama writers in the West and South West of England and Wales, North of England, and Scotland – providing them with months of expert industry training, mentoring and support to develop their first pilot episode-spec script.

4Skills launched this year’s New Writers Scheme last week with an aim to nurture underrepresented writing talent, focussing on diverse, regional and authentic voices who have a flair for television drama.

Following the successful pilot in the West and South West of England in 2022, the programme has since expanded to work with participants located near Channel 4’s regional hubs: Bristol, Glasgow and Leeds. The writers will benefit from nine months of expert industry training and mentoring from scripted indies and a script editor, alongside feedback from Channel 4. 

As part of the kick-off, screenwriters from the regional hubs met at Channel 4’s Leeds office for three days of introductions, writing tips and training with NFTS trainer Hannah Robinson and heard from the experts including Nicola Shindler, Danny Brocklehurst, Helen Black and Director of Film4 & Channel 4 Drama, Ollie Madden.

“It was very exciting to meet with such a talented group of writers, who all bring an incredible depth of creativity, specificity and passion to their projects. I am truly looking forward to seeing how this year’s cohort develop their skills in the months ahead,” says Ollie Madden, Director of Film4 & Channel 4 Drama. 

The New Writers Scheme is funded and developed by 4Skills with Channel 4 Drama and supported by the BFI NETWORK (Film Hub South West and Film Hub North) alongside support from Screen Scotland. 

The initiative is one of many projects being supported by 4Skills, which provided more than 57,000 learning, training or development opportunities in 2023.

Kevin Blacoe, Channel 4’s Head of Partnerships & Skills, Nations & Regions said:

4Skills is designed to open doors for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds and various regions across the UK, providing opportunities for those who typically wouldn’t have access to the behind-the-scenes world of television.

By guiding them as they advance in their careers, we are also investing in the future of television. Our goal is to ensure that every voice, both on-screen and off, is heard and valued.”

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Go North East sponsor Durham Cricket’s Visually Impaired Team

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Go North East sponsor Durham Cricket's Visually Impaired Team
Durham’s Visually Impaired Cricket Team now plays in the England and Wales Cricket Board Development League | Photo: Gavin Forster

Go North East has announced the continuation of its partnership with Durham Cricket as the front-of-shirt sponsor of their Visually Impaired team until 2025.

First founded in June 2007, Durham’s Visually Impaired Cricket Team now plays in the England and Wales Cricket Board Development League, against 11 other teams.

Visually Impaired (VI) cricket is a specially adapted version of the game that is suitable for anyone with a visual impairment – whether partially sighted or totally blind.

Ben Maxfield, Business Director, commented, “We are thrilled to be supporting the Visually Impaired Team at Durham Cricket again this year. At Go North East, we are dedicated to making our services accessible to everyone, and our buses are equipped with next-stop audio announcements to assist visually impaired passengers. This sponsorship is a natural extension of our commitment to inclusivity and supporting our community. We look forward to seeing the team’s success in the coming season.”

Tom Seymour, the Commercial Director for Durham Cricket said, “We are delighted to have Go North East, a local company connecting the region, renew their partnership and sponsorship of the Visually Impaired Team.”

He continued, “We’d like to thank them for their continued support for this programme and further showing the commitment we have here at Durham Cricket in creating an inclusive and welcoming space in the sport.”

For more information about the team, visit Visually Impaired Cricket – Durham Cricket

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