The David Nobbs Memorial Trust, established in 2017 after the death of the beloved Reggie Perrin author, has launched its fifth annual sketch comedy writing competition, encouraging and championing emerging talent with financial aid after the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition offers cash prizes to up-and-coming comedy writers, helping them ‘buy time’ for writing.
Prizes for the 2022 competition have been increased and the overall winner will win £1000. Any runners-up will receive £250 per entry. The winner will also get a valuable one-to-one consultation with an established comedy producer or commissioner from the Trust board.
Prizes will be awarded after judges from across the UK industry turn their expert eye on entries, which can be submitted from 1st February 2022 until 23:59 on 11th March 2022.
The David Nobbs Memorial Trust was established by comedy producers, performers and people who knew and loved David, with the blessing of his family, to honour his memory by supporting new comedy writing in the UK.
The contest is aimed at those early in their writing career, but it is not totally ‘open door’. Entrants are required to provide a broadcast credit for their written material and must accompany their entry with a 500-word Statement of Intent describing their writing career goals. Full entry criteria can be found on the website. The winner will be announced in July 2022.
Trust chair, journalist and author Mary O’Hara said: “The whole board is thrilled that the competition is back for yet another year and that the 2022 competition comes on the heels of a record year for entries in 2021. Each year the competition attracts an incredible pool of up-and-coming talent, with winners going on to get new commissions and industry representation. I know David would be absolutely delighted that the next generation of British comedy-writing talent is being helped along in this way.”
2020 winner Zoë Tomalin said: “Winning the David Nobbs Memorial Trust New Comedy Writing Competition was a big step forward for my career. Since then, I have signed with PBJ Management and my winning script is being developed by a production company. Most importantly, now when I ask to be introduced as ‘the award-winning writer Zoe Tomalin’ people have to respect that instead of wanging on about how I ‘haven’t even won any awards’ and how I should ‘just get on with Uncle Steve’s eulogy.’”
The Trust is supported by a comedy legend and friend of David’s, Michael Palin. Palin is joined by another of David’s friends, the writer Jonathan Coe and playwright Lucy Prebble.
Coe said: “I’ve never met anyone with such a sharp, instinctive sense of comedy as David Nobbs. Comedy was in his blood and it was his way of coping with life’s manifold absurdities. Encouraging younger writers – such as myself – was an integral part of his mission to spread more laughter throughout the world, and I’m proud to have a role in that now, as a Patron of David’s Memorial Trust.”
Nobbs’ widow and Honorary President of the Trust, Susan Nobbs, added “I know that awarding a bursary to new writers, as a support at the beginning of their chosen career would have definitely appealed to David.”
Deadline: 23.59 on 11th March 2022
Source: BBC Writersroom