For the first time in 40 years, two women have been selected for the BBC Radio Comedy Writers Bursary. The initiative gives new writers a chance to write for a year across various shows and this year Kat Sadler and Catherine Brinkworth were named recipients of the bursary.
Devised in 1978, the scheme was created by comedy producer David Hatch and BBC Television’s Head of Light Entertainment Jimmy Gilbert with the aim of giving new writers a chance to give up their day job and become full-time writers able to work on any shows in production at the BBC.
Since then 81 writers have been given the bursary, the first being Rory McGrath, Jimmy Mulville and Guy Jenkin.
Kat Sadler is a writer, actor and stand-up, Kat also edits satirical women’s magazine Succubus and you might have spotted her on BBC Radio 4 Extra, the Chortle Student Comedy Award semi-finals or performing in her own sitcom for the 2016 So You Think You Write Funny. Kat told us: “I am so excited and feel so lucky to be chosen for the bursary. It’s an amazing chance to write on a whole variety of cool projects and learn the craft, and it feels frankly bizarre to have my name included on a list of so many incredible writers I look up to. It’s a brilliant opportunity and I can’t wait to get cracking. I hope this encourages other writers who feel like they don’t belong to give comedy a proper go. To get to work with one of my best mates and comedy goddess Catherine is a dream come true too. Can’t believe it’s the first time two girls have gotten the job – it definitely won’t be the last!”
Catherine Brinkworth has written for BBC Radio 4 Extra series Newsjack, BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz and The Now Show. Catherine said: “I’m completely thrilled to be one of this year’s contract writers and, even better, I’m over the moon to be doing it all with Kat, who I think is ridiculously talented and amazing and I can’t wait to keep learning and hopefully getting better with her to look up to all the way.”.
Julia McKenzie, head of BBC Studios Radio Comedy, said: “The Radio Comedy Bursary really is an exceptional opportunity for writers to learn how to write across a variety of shows and formats and make career changing relationships with a range of producers and talent. There is no better way to hone your craft than to write daily and this bursary pays the writers to do just that, often to demanding deadlines. Being on the inside of a multi-faceted global content company such as BBC Studios also offers rare access and if this year’s writers take full advantage of that, it will be the push that launches them into a career of writing for a living.”
We at Funny Women are delighted to see the BBC continue to develop female voices in comedy!