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NHS Heroes Casualty Writing Contest

Accurate medicine has always been at the heart of Casualty and they take it very seriously with nurses, doctors and paramedics reading and advising on every script as well as on set medical advisors perfecting procedures, pronunciation and prosthetics. Accuracy is their watch word and they would love to find and train more writers with direct medical experience.

As part of Casualty’s 35th anniversary celebrations they are launching an exciting opportunity for frontline medical professionals to have a chance to write their own shadow episode of Casualty. At least one successful writer will have full access to a BBC script editor and input from the Casualty team into their paid shadow script.

WHO CAN APPLY?

To be eligible for this scheme, you must be either working as a frontline medical professional or have worked or be retired from a frontline medical role.

This scheme is aimed at finding and developing writers with medical experience who are interested in writing for Casualty. All applicants must be aged 18 or over, and be a resident in the UK or Republic of Ireland at the time of application and for the duration of the programme.

Individual writers or writing partnerships of two (max) may enter. For writing partnerships, both writers must fulfil all the criteria.

WHAT TO SUBMIT

THE BRIEF

Clinical Lead Dylan Keogh has the day from hell, the ED is jammed, he’s drowning in directives from above, and he has a two very trying cases vying for his attention, one in cubicles which is hard to fathom and the other which requires audacious medicine and quick thinking. Meanwhile David is concerned about nurse morale and is encouraging light-hearted pranks among the nurses to boast their spirits but they do their best to avoid Dylan knowing that the scheme won’t go down well on such a busy day.

CHARACTER BREAKDOWNS

Dylan

Dylan is a brilliant clinician, but his abrupt and tactless manner means he rarely thrives in social situations. When it comes to medicine, he always picks the most unusual cases, and there’s nothing he enjoys more than a medical mystery. Since Connie’s departure, Dylan has reluctantly stepped up as the ED’s Acting Clinical Lead, a role he resents as it pulls him away from his beloved clinical work, and into management woes.

Dylan is the ultimate cynic, and his sarcastic wit can draw mixed responses from patients and colleagues alike. But occasionally, Dylan demonstrates a soft side and a strong moral compass. Living alone on his houseboat (apart from his beloved dog, Dervla), Dylan will always be an island. But sometimes, just sometimes, we see Dylan appreciate the benefits of being part of a great team.

David

David is a thoughtful and caring man, and although he often lacks confidence, he is a fantastic and diligent nurse. He excels in making patients feel comfortable and looking out for his team, and is an excellent listener (with occasionally awkward humour). David has bipolar, and is strict on his medication and routine in order to maintain control of his condition.

He lives with his wife, Rosa, who also works at the hospital, and his teenage son from his previous marriage, Ollie. While they haven’t always understood each other, David and Ollie have a loving relationship, and David is very protective of his son.

HOW TO APPLY

Applications must be made through the BBC Writersroom online submission system – a link to the application form can be found at the bottom of this page.

To apply, you must submit:

• The first scene of the episode (no more than 3 pages max, any reasonable formatting accepted)

• The last scene of the episode (no more than 3 pages max, any reasonable formatting accepted )

• A prose account of the story of the episode keeping tightly to the brief above and showing story progression, medical detail and character. (no more than 2 pages or 1000 words max)

• Writers who are short-listed will be required to submit further scenes at that stage.

• For writing partnerships, the scenes and story outline must be the work of both writers.

HOW SUBMISSIONS WILL BE ASSESSED

Your writing sample should be the best showcase of your writing talent and voice. They are looking for unique, well-crafted scenes that give them something that they haven’t seen before.

Submissions will be judged on the following criteria

A) The ability to capture the voice of the Casualty characters listed

B) The quality of the writing in the submission

C) The strength of the story and structure

D) The writers’ ability to write believable dialogue

E) The writers’ skill in inhabiting the characters and developing convincing relationships between them.

F) The writers’ ability to authentically bring the medical reality to life.

Submissions will go through the following process:

Stage One

Casualty and the BBC Writersroom employ professional script readers to assess all eligible material.

For the scenes and story, the readers will be looking for originality and authenticity.

Stage Two

A longlist of 15 writers will be selected and those 15 writers’ submissions will then be read by the Casualty team. Each submission at this stage will receive a double read.

Stage Three

A short-list of writers will then be selected and invited to be interviewed by the judging panel.

The short-listed writers will also be invited to submit further work. This will involve providing new scenes for the episode.

Stage Four

Following the interviews writers will be selected based on the strength of their writing and their interview to enter a period of development with Casualty. At least one successful writer will have full access to a BBC script editor and input from the Casualty team into their paid shadow script.

FEES

Fees for the writer/s selected for a shadow script commission will be based on the standard shadow script fee for Casualty.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The submission criteria asks for writer(s) name(s) and other identifying details to be removed from the script prior to submission. Why?

To ensure that all submissions are considered solely on their own merits, the early stages of the reading process will focus on the writing sample and will be done anonymously (i.e. the readers do not know the identity of the writer).

I don’t currently work as a frontline medical worker but have in the past. Can I apply?

Yes. This scheme is open to writers with previous medical frontline experience or who are retired from a frontline role as well as those currently working in a relevant role.

What do you mean by a medical frontline worker?

Anyone who has worked directly with patients in a healthcare setting from HCAs to consultants and including porters and receptionists.

Can I apply as part of a writing partnership?

Writing partnerships of two writers are allowed. Both writers in the partnership must fulfil the entry criteria, and both must have contributed to the writing samples and the story outline. In line with industry standard, please note that the script fees are paid per project.

After submitting, can I change or amend my application?

Submissions are considered to be the final documents and we are unable to accept any rewrites, or corrections.

Can I submit more than once?

No. We can only accept one submission per writer/writing partnership for this opportunity.

Will I get feedback on my submission?

Due to limited resources, we are unable to give feedback on unsuccessful submissions.

I have a question not covered above?

If your question is related to the scheme please email FreshPerspectiveCasualty@bbc.co.uk

If your question is related to the E-submissions system and submitting your work please email writersroom@bbc.co.uk

The submission window will be open from the 6th September 2021 at 10am until 10am on 20th October 2021. Submissions must be made via the online submission system.

Script submissions will be read anonymously, i.e. without a name attached, until the longlist phase. Please ensure that you have removed your name, address and any other identifying information from your pdf document.

Late submissions will not be accepted.

Please ensure that you read the full terms and conditions of entry, prior to submission.

Visit the BBC Writers Room to make your submission

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