Working with CBBC

Posted on: Friday 06 July 2012 1:40pm

Working with CBBC

Blogged by Jon Hancock

Hosted by Saira Khan

Helen Bullough, Head of Production

Bill Hobbins, Creative Director, CBBC

Sarah Muller, Head of Drama Development & Acquisitions

Japhet Asher, Exec Producer, Interactive

Sara Harkins, Creative Director, Children’s Scotland

With a variety of quota and commitments to meet (e.g. 550 hours of factual content per year) CBBC offers a variety of opportunities to individuals outside the corporation. A passionately led session by Saira Khan (with all the energy of someone who surely wasn’t at the party til the early hours last night) was rammed with info, so here are the salient points from the esteemed panel:

CBBC is very much open to people suggesting ideas, and depending on experience and the commission, there’s potential for an individual to continue onto the production in some way.

Start with an email (and I’ll give you this for free: 95% of the time in the BBC it’s e.g. so be bold and make direct contact! )

It needs be nothing more than a topline and concise paragraph overview at first. The pledge from Helen Bullough, Head of Production at CBBC is that if it’s a no it should be a quick no, and if it’s a yes, it will be a collaborative conversation.

So what are CBBC’s “unscripted” wants at the moment?:

  • Something different and fun – make them smile and say “that’s neat”
  • Entertainment shows
  • More features.

…where all ideas should fall under the idea that kids are at the centre and in control.

CBBC Drama & Acquisitions:

Technically speaking they only look at proposals/scripts from existing writers, those with agents etc through the e-commissioning system (, so as to manage effectively the expectations of potential hundreds of wannabes. BBC Writers Room ( is the place to go if you’re an unproduced writer flying solo – where scripts can be sent in, training can be received, and ultimately commissionable ideas can germinate. (They can get individuals up and going on the e-commissioning system):

Currently looking for:

  • Boy driven action adventure (fun, contemporary that puts children at the centre – should appeal to girls though)
  • Long running drama with an emotional heart – character driven (on the edge of a soap)
  • Sitcom
  • Book adaptations – normally the go-to for book adaptations, writers are increasingly trying to get the big movie deal first. Do you know of a book, a forgotten classic that would work? (You don’t have to have the rights, but worth knowing who, if anyone has them! And the BBC can assist the acquisition of rights too.)
  • Comedy Drama – slightly younger e.g. Hotel Trubble.

For animation ideas – they can be sent straight through to BBC individuals – no e-commissioning route necessary. And remember there are opportunities for animation within nearly every CBBC genre. For smaller animation work individuals need to be set up as a preferred supplier through BBC procurement. Go here to find out how:

But the main word of advice before any ideas are sent through: do your research. Know what’s on the channel/website already and know how your idea would fit alongside existing content.




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