BBC Comedy has unveiled an exciting new project aimed at fostering scripted comedy collaborations in a targeted region of the UK, with its initial focus on Northern Ireland. The initiative seeks to bring together an independent production company based in Northern Ireland and a seasoned executive producer or script executive renowned for delivering successful scripted comedies for broadcast. By joining forces, these partnerships will work towards developing script ideas that have the potential to be commissioned as broadcast pilots.

The primary goal of this endeavour is to support comedy talent and production capabilities within the region, while also providing a platform to showcase it to a wider audience. To participate in this unique opportunity, interested parties can find detailed application guidelines on the BBC Comedy website. The application process officially commenced on Monday, 19 June and will close on Friday, 1 September.

Following the application period, three partnerships will be chosen for an initial script development phase, with the announcement of the selected projects set to take place during the highly anticipated 2023 Belfast Media Festival. Furthermore, at least one of these partnerships will be granted additional funding to advance their development process.

Jon Petrie, the BBC Director of Comedy, expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative, stating, “This is a really exciting opportunity for production companies in Northern Ireland who are dedicated to nurturing scripted comedy. By adopting this collaborative approach, we aim to replicate the success we have witnessed elsewhere by creating an environment that encourages partnerships and accelerates development.”

Eddie Doyle, the Head of Commissioning at BBC Northern Ireland, also shared his excitement, saying, “We recognise the abundance of comedy talent in Northern Ireland, and we are thrilled that BBC Comedy shares our commitment to bringing this talent to network television. This initiative builds upon our ongoing efforts, working in conjunction with our BBC network colleagues, to develop and showcase our independent sector while reflecting contemporary life in Northern Ireland for a UK-wide audience. It serves as yet another example of how the BBC supports innovation, creativity, and local talent.”

With the launch of this new project, BBC Comedy aims to bolster the comedy landscape in Northern Ireland, providing an avenue for the region’s talented comedians and production companies to flourish on a national stage.