BBC Radio Drama accepting short story submissions for Opening Lines

The BBC Radio Drama Readings Unit welcomes submissions 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 5th – February 13th 2015.

The team are unable to respond to unsolicited stories submitted outside this time-frame.

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.

Key Information:  To ensure your story is read and doesn’t miss out on this opportunity, the following criteria must be met:

• 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.

• They only accept one story per writer.

• Please don’t re-submit stories that have previously been considered for Opening Lines

• Stories must be between 1,900 and 2,000 words in length.

Content & Format: 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 (

Stories must not contain defamatory, obscene or any other unsuitable material which is likely to cause offence to a wide audience of all ages.

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.

Submission Details & Process: 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.

All eligible submissions will be read and the team will get in touch with those writers whose stories have been shortlisted for the 2015 series of Opening Lines by Friday 15th May, 2015. They are unable to respond to those writers whose stories haven’t been selected.

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

PLEASE NOTE: This opportunity is not run by BBC Writersroom (we deal with scripts) but by BBC Radio 4.  Any queries regarding Opening Lines must be directed to the Radio 4 team at

Deadline:  13 February 2015  (Please note : Submissions do not open until 5 January 2015, so don’t send your script before then!)

Source:  BBC Writersroom


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