BBC Radio 4 seeking short stories for Opening Lines

The BBC Radio Drama Readings Unit welcomes submissions of short stories from writers new to radio for their annual series, Opening Lines which is broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

The next window for sending in material to Opening Lines – BBC Radio 4’s showcase for short stories is January 6th – February 14th 2014.  The team are unable to respond to unsolicited stories submitted outside this time-frame.

Eligibility:  Writers who have previously had a story/stories broadcast on network radio or have substantial writing credits in other areas of radio (e.g. comedy and drama) are not eligible for this series.

What to submit:  The team are looking for original short stories which work being read out loud i.e. with a strong emphasis on narrative and avoiding too much dialogue, character description and digression. Pay particular attention to how the story opens and closes.

They are interested in seeing stories which cover a broad range of subject-matter but material which explores particularly dark, harrowing themes is not best suited to Opening Lines. We recommend visiting the Opening Lines programme pages to read transcripts of stories which have featured in recent series (

The BBC has a rigorous taste and decency policy and cannot accept stories of a sexist or racist nature, or those which use the stronger swear words.

The time allotted for each story is up to 14 minutes, which means submissions must be between 1,900 and 2,000 words in length. They are unable to consider stories which fall outside these parameters.

How to apply:  When submitting your work, you must include a brief covering letter giving your name, e-mail address (if applicable), the story’s title, word count and details of writing track record. Please could you also state how you heard about the creative window and Opening Lines. Stories can be submitted either electronically or typed and double-spaced on A4 paper. Only one submission per writer will be accepted. Please send a copy of your story, not your original work as the team are unable to return submissions.

If you would like to submit work to the London office you can e-mail your story to us at or you can send it to: BBC Radio Drama Readings, Room 8015, Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA.

What you get:  As well as broadcasting the three strongest stories,  transcripts of the best stories submitted within this period are published on the Opening Lines programme pages. The three successful writers will be invited to London for an afternoon in Broadcasting House. They will also have the chance to see their stories being recorded.

All eligible submissions will be read and the team will get in touch with those writers whose stories have been shortlisted for the 2014 series of Opening Lines by Friday 16th May, 2014. We regret that we are unable to respond to those writers whose stories haven’t been selected.

Deadline:  14 February 2014 (*Note: submissions do not open until 6 January 2014)

Source:  BBC Writersroom


6 thoughts on “BBC Radio 4 seeking short stories for Opening Lines”

  1. Good day, I would like to submit a short story, Steve and Charlie, 7,913 words, set in Garston, Liverpool in around about the 1930s. It tells of the adventures of two nine year old boys and a killer cat. I have written it in a Scouse accent. I would like to know if I am eligible being a British Citizen resident in Italy.
    Thank you.

    1. Kimberley Andrews

      Hi Paul, please contact the organisers directly with any queries as we simply repost these opportunities and do not have any further information. Thanks and good luck!

    1. Kimberley Andrews

      We haven’t heard anything about any up and coming windows for Opening Lines but we’ll keep you updated if we do!

  2. Hi, It is 2021. Am I really seeing your dates for submitting a short story to this platform was in 2014? please update me. I thank you in advance.

    1. Kimberley Andrews

      Hi Alex,

      As we’re a blog, you’ll find old posts come up in searches. For a list of all live opportunities, click on our Weekly Round-up on the homepage.

      Hope that helps,

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