Writing for CBBC

So, I was one of the speakers at the CBBC Writers Day on Friday – a day for working writers who are already working for, or might want to work for, CBBC or CBeebies. As well as a range of guest speakers, the commissioning and development staff talked extensively about what they were looking for. Here are the highlights –

What kind of ideas is CBBC looking for?

We want to find enduring fantasy and adventure stories with strong, memorable characters and unusual settings. Young Dracula and Wizards vs. Aliens have proved big successes, but what could be next?

Is there a show like The Dumping Ground, not set in a school or care home but that has a similarly broad and refreshable cast? Perhaps there’s a show that could be built around characters currently in our dramas, or an older-skewing ensemble show.

We are also looking for low cost comedy ideas that might possibly include CBBC talent and could be set-based (as in Hotel Trubble) or out and about (Scoop).

Any top tips?

Immerse yourself in our content.

Demonstrate a passion for writing for our audience.

Think about how kids watch TV and the different ways you can tell stories (with interactive and online elements)

We can cover social issues within a show as long as it’s done in an appropriate way for our audience

Make sure your idea not only reflects the lives of 6 to 12 year-olds but entertains them too.

Don’t be afraid to pitch something a little different; we are actively looking for bold and original ideas that we haven’t seen before.

Don’t let production issues limit your ideas, but we find shows with a precinct and/or multi-protagonist shows work well for us.

It’s difficult for us to achieve ideas driven by complicated special effects, and we have a couple of period dramas on our slate already, so are not looking for any more

Don’t be disheartened if your idea doesn’t go to commission. The needs of the channel constantly change, and development is about having an ongoing relationship with you and your work.

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