Young Films Foundation’s Writing Talent Scheme launches its latest search for new Scottish screenwriters

Building on the success of the Young Films Foundation’s Screenwriting Residencies on the Isle of Skye, 2023 sees Film and TV producer Chris Young launch the Foundation’s latest search for Scottish screenwriting talent, offering participants the opportunity to work with UK broadcasters, professional mentors and industry experts on a year-long programme to take their ideas from pitch to commissioned script. 

Launching as a pilot scheme in 2017, where it was immediately billed “Sundance on Skye”, YFF’s talent development scheme was set up to support, encourage and nurture new Scottish writing talent. In 2018, 2019 and 2022 YFF conducted week-long intensive residencies for new Scottish film and TV writers on the Isle of Skye.  

Now in 2023, Bafta winner and founder Chris Young (whose many production credits include 2005’s Festival, The Inbetweeners franchise, BBC Alba’s Bannan and the recently completed Silent Roar for BBC Film, BFI and Screen Scotland) and award-winning producer and former Head of Drama at Channel 4, Beth Willis (Doctor Who, Ashes to Ashes, Help, The Marriage, and now in production Debutantes) from The Forge are looking for fresh talent with an authentic voice to participate in the programme where they will receive a fully 360 commissioning experience. 

Each of the 6 selected participants will receive a full TV drama, comedy or feature film script commission from either Channel 4 Drama, Channel 4 Comedy, BBC Drama, BBC Films, Film4 or Sky. Each participant will receive a full script fee from the broadcaster with which they’re partnered, while each broadcaster has the first right of refusal over the script they have commissioned. Alongside Young Films, Screen Scotland, Channel 4 Nations and Regions and Torabhaig distillery are providing key financial support. 

Each participant will be assigned a leading industry mentor who will be available to give support and advice throughout the year-long programme.  

As in previous years, inspirational experts from the world of film and TV will work with the participants throughout the year in a series of online and in-person workshops, and at a week-long residency on Skye in 2024, to share ideas, advice and their own personal experiences of the industry. 

The year will culminate with a week-long inspirational and immersive residency on the Isle of Skye in September 2024, where participants, mentors and a number of the programme’s experts will come together to discuss and further develop their work, ahead of script delivery to broadcasters two months later.  

The scheme, which opens for applications on 9 March 2021, is open to all Scottish residents and this year is looking for writers from all backgrounds: from experienced screenwriters looking to write their first feature film; to novice screenwriters; to authors & playwrights looking for a change in direction. 

Chris Young says: “We’re delighted to have continuing support from our partners Screen Scotland, Channel 4, BBC and Sky as we continiue to raise the bar for new scriptwriting in Scotland.  Our participants last year all made the most of this massive opportunity –all the writers are either continuing partnerships or establishing new ones from the programme in developing their projects further.  In renewing their support, the broadcasters are giving us a massive vote of confidence in this programme for which we are very grateful.  Likewise we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our incredible team of experts and talent – including Peter Straughan, Hania Elikington, Joe Thomas, Robyn Slovo, Andrew Macdonald, Jackie Kay and John Collee – who are all set to return, demonstrating remarkable generosity in sharing their insight and wisdom to our new writers. 

My advice to applicants remains the same  – do think very hard about the project you want to bring, because it will be interrogated from every angle by some of the best minds in the UK Film and TV industry.”  

Kieran Hannigan, Head of Scripted at Screen Scotland says: “This is an amazing opportunity for writers in Scotland. As well as securing script commissions from key commissioners in the UK, Chris and the team have assembled a hugely impressive array of experts and key decision makers to act as mentors and tutors to the successful applicants. There is nothing else like it and we are delighted to once again support this remarkable programme.” 

The scheme, created by Young Films, is supported by Film4, Channel 4, BBC Films, BBC, BBC Scotland, Sky TV, BFI, Screen Scotland, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and Torabhaig Distillery. 

Applications are now open. Full eligibility criteria and application details can be found at:

More information

Young Films is a Scottish Film & TV production company with a reputation over 30 years for working with established and new UK talent in delivering award-winning drama and comedy for film and television.  Production credits include: Bannan (BBC Alba), The Inbetweeners Series 1-3 (C4), The Inbetweeners Movie (C4/Entertainment), Festival (Film4/Pathe), Gregory’s Two Girls (Film4), Prague (BBC Films), The Final Curtain (Universal) and Venus Peter (Film4). It has recently finished Silent Roar, a new feature film with BBC Films BFI and Screen Scotland , and is currently developing a film based on the life of Scottish football pioneer Rose Reilly written by Lorna Martin due for production this year in partnership with Entertainment Film Distributors. 

The Forge is a UK-based independent drama production company specialising in original, innovative and high-quality TV drama. Production credits include Jack Thorne’s multi-BAFTA-winning trilogy NATIONAL TREASURE, KIRI and THE ACCIDENT (C4/HULU), ACKLEY BRIDGE (C4), HELP (C4), THE LAST POST (BBC1/AMAZON), THE MINIATURIST (BBC1/WGBH), DARK MONEY (BBC1) and David Hare’s COLLATERAL (BBC2/NETFLIX) and ROADKILL (BBC1/MASTERPIECE). They are currently in production with an eight-episode Apple TV+ series, inspired by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edith Wharton’s unfinished final novel “The Buccaneers”. 

Screen Scotland is the national body that drives development of all aspects of Scotland’s film and TV industry, through funding and strategic support. Screen Scotland is part of Creative Scotland and delivers these services and support with funding from Scottish Government and The National Lottery.