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BBC Rates

2015 Drama Rates

1% applied to all rates from 1 August 2014.  If you would like to contribute to negotiations or have any queries please contact the Broadcasting Group Secretary, Jo McCrum.

Note that the New Public Services Fee applied to the one transmission rate is 12.5%. Rates are calculated per minute on the slot length with the exception of the '15 minute' drama broadcast in Woman's Hour and paid on the actuality of 14 minutes. Slot lengths are:

  • Friday Drama, Saturday Drama, Classic Serial: 60 minutes
  • Afternoon Drama: 45 minutes
  • 15 Minute Drama (note fees paid on actual written length of 14 minutes)
  • 11.30 and 23.00 Comedy: 30 minutes

Attendance payment

  • Attendance payment: £65.00

Original Drama (per minute)

  • Beginners' rate: £60.83 (2 tx) / £36.50 (1 tx)
  • Established writers' rate: £92.65 (2 tx) / £55.57 (1 tx)

An established writer is one where the Writer has had 95 minutes of dramatic works broadcast provided that this has been achieved over more than at least two Plays, Dramatisations, Dramatised Features, Adaptations, Series or Long Running Series.

A writer who qualifies as 'established' for the purposes of the BBC’s Agreement with the WGGB and the PMA for Television Drama shall also be regarded as established for radio.

Code of Practice

You can read a guide to working relationships between writers and BBC in-house producer/directors here.


The Archers

  • £929 per episode



Dramatisations are paid at 65%, 75% or 85% of the rates depending on the context and level of difficulty.

Commissioned short stories (per 15-minutes)

  • 1st and 2nd: £185
  • 3rd – 5th: £219
  • 6th – 9th: £249
  • 10th onwards: £318
  • Generally established outside the BBC: £318
  • Generally established inside the BBC: £378


Abridgements (per minute)

  • Beginners' rate: £7.17
  • Established writers' rate: £10.69


Radio 4Extra

Under the current RDA a New Public Services Fee of 12.5% of the single transmission fee covers broadcasts on 4Extra (as well as simulcast etc).

Archive material is contracted and paid for by the BBC under the terms of the Radio 4 Extra GP agreement (until March 2018). In return the BBC has the right to broadcast a writer's/author's work for 6 transmission days (up to four transmissions per day) over three years on the Service and rights acquired include to make an audiostream or temporary download for up to 30 days plus a further 7 days to listen (if downloaded) following each transmission:

Original script material: £3.29 per minute
Dramatisations (including specially commissioned translations): £2.13 per minute
Source work material (including translations)  £1.27 per minute
Abridgements £0.76 per minute

To view advance schedules go here using the password 'writer'. Writers will have to be sent the new link once.  The file within the link will change with new week number parameters. Clicking on the “download” button in top right hand corner of screen will allow a user to open up the document in an Excel format.

BBC/Society of Authors Published Material Rates

These rates are calculated on a one transmission basis. Two transmissions, if paid upfront, are 180%. Rates for complete extracts have been backdated to 1 August 2013. Rates for excerpts increased on 28 October 2013.

Agreements now include automatic Public Service podcast rights for 30 days provided that any  podcast could be taken down on immediate request of the rights-holder. Reasons may include any offer of an audio-publication, stage or film deal.

Translations of plays, prose and verse is payable at two thirds of the rates due to each of translator and original author. If you are dramatising an English translation a producer will have to clear rights to the translation and the underlying work. 2/3 of the prose for dramatisation rate is paid to both the original author/publisher and the translator/UK publisher.


  • Prose (per minute): £31.63
  • Poetry (per 1/2 minute): £37.96
  • Download the TV agreement

Core Service Radio

  • Plays/Prose (per min): £18.38
  • Poetry (per ½ min): £18.38
  • Prose for Dramatisation (per min): £14.33
  • Prose Translation (per min): £12.25

World Service Radio (English)/BBC Digital Radio Originations

The rates for R4Extra originations are currently under review.

  • Plays/Prose (per min): £9.19
  • Poetry (per 1/2 min): £9.19
  • Prose for Dramatisation (per min): £7.15
  • Prose translation (per min): £6.13

Local Radio

  • Plays/Prose (per min): £4.59
  • Poetry (per 1/2 min): £4.59
  • Prose for Dramatisation (per min): £3.57
  • Prose translation (per min): £3.06

Radio Features

Features are commissioned at a minimum fee of £44.58 per minute with a baseline threshold of £312.06. The minimum fee equates to seven minutes duration. Rates increased on 28 October 2013. No residuals or repeat fees are paid for further broadcasts and the author is able to re-use their script (but not the recording) once an exclusive period lapses. The option to engage radio features contributors on a daily rate remains.

A feature writer has to provide the following services: research in depth; collection and selection of insert material (e.g. actuality recordings, literary material); scripting; presentation; interviewing as may be required by the BBC to make a radio programme, or self-contained item within a radio programme, which is a creative treatment of its subject but which does not involve actors in character or original material in dramatic form. Such programmes or items would normally be fully or partly edited or compiled by the contributor but these special terms applicable to ‘features’ work may still apply if the BBC carries out editing subject to this being taken into account in assessing the fee.

Some BBC producers offer authors a low non-edit rate of £34.15 per minute with the reasoning that authors are required to submit a fully edited programme. This may be reasonable if a substantial edit is necessary, but a lower rate has not been negotiated with the Society/Guild/NUJ representatives.

Radio Talks Contributions

These rates were increased on 1 August 2014. Talks are commissioned on a flat-fee basis with no residuals paid for further broadcasts. There is a limited exclusive period, after which the author is able to use their script elsewhere. Minimum rates are:

  • Script and Read: £23.26 per minute with a minimum fee of £46.52.
  • Script only £18.03 a minute with a minimum fee of £36.06
  • Daily rate Reporting £130 per day. Minimum fee of £65 (per half day).
  • Download a sample Talks contract

Contributions bought on a daily rate basis are bought out on an assignment basis. See a sample assignment.


BBC titles

Historically BBC Worldwide (BBCW) issued payments to rights holders on behalf of AudioGo, the audio books business. Following the company going into administration last October, BBCW have been unable to continue this service. When AudioGo ceased trading the rights for all BBC titles reverted to the BBC. BBCW have since successfully secured sales and distribution deals with Random House, Blackstone and Bolinda.

Regrettably rights holders will not receive March 2014 statements and payments since funds cannot be recovered from AudioGo. However, BBC Worldwide are submitting claims to AudioGo administrators BDO for monies owed to individual rights holders and BBCW. Any monies recovered from the administrator payable to rights holders will be included on future royalty statements. The BBC cannot guarantee that these claims will be successful but rights holders can expect royalty payments generated by new sales from September 2014.

If you need any further information please email talent.accounting@bbc.com and one of their team will help you with your enquiry.

All rights in BBC material reverted back to the BBC on 28th October 2013. Sales via Audible for the term 28 October 2013 -1 Jan 2014 will be accounted for and paid in September BBCW statements. From 1st January 2014 a new sales, distribution and marketing deal was agreed with Random House Audio (RHA) to take on BBC branded physical CDs in the UK and the rest of the world, excluding North America, Australia and New Zealand. In addition Random House Audio will take global responsibility for BBC branded digital products with retailers including Audible and iTunes. A deal has also been agreed with Blackstone in the USA for the sale of BBC branded CDs in that territory.

All talent payments for the new deals will be made by BBCWW with first statements issued in September 2014.

Please note that all current BBC Download To Own (DTO) commissions are licensed with no advance. In return authors receive payment of the highest applicable royalty (7% of gross receipts for original drama). Titles released on CD will continue to receive an advance and usual starting royalty. Please note the VAT is deducted from sales and distributors such as iTunes or Audible will take a commission of 30-70% for making the work available on their sites.


Non-BBC Titles

Audible continued to distribute works under license from AudioGO paying royalties (by cheque) on sales over 31 October - 15 February 2014 (when AudioGO ceased trading).

Audible has since bought AudioGo’s catalogue of master recordings (excluding BBC titles and large print books), but your title(s) will be withdrawn from sale after 15 February unless you have entered a license agreement directly with Audible. The majority of agreements terminated on liquidation, but you should request a formal notice of reversion from BDO along with any details of any continuing sub-licences. You will need to contact any sub-licensees with your determination notice to ensure that royalties are accounted directly to you.

Outstanding advances and royalties will form part of an author’s unsecured claim in the administration by BDO. It is unlikely that members will see any sums after secured creditors have been paid, but any unearned advances will not have to be repaid.

Please contact Jo McCrum if you have any queries.


BBC/PMA/WGGB TV Rates (per minutes, on slot length)

  • Teleplays: £188
  • Series/Serials: £171
  • Dramatisations: £124
  • Adaptations: £76
  • Educational Drama: £115
  • Shorter Scripts and Children's Drama: £188
  • Online Commissions
    a) Teleplays £94
    b) Series/Serials £86
  • Attendance fees: £100
  • Pension ceiling: £16,920

Established and in-demand writers may be able to negotiate a higher rate. Rates will apply to 1 November 2015.

An established writer is one where the Writer has had 95 minutes of dramatic works broadcast provided that this has been achieved over more than at least two Plays, Dramatisations, Dramatised Features, Adaptations, Series or Long Running Series.

A writer who qualifies as 'established' for the purposes of the BBC’s Agreement with the WGGB and the PMA for Television Drama shall also be regarded as established for radio.

For full details see the Writers' Guild website


BBC Archive

As it is not economical for the BBC to clear every contribution individually, it has been sending out letters to writers (at a rate of 500 a week from August 2014) requesting that they give a general permission covering that writer’s entire BBC radio and TV production catalogue available on similar (paid) terms to those that apply to contemporary BBC programme commissions. Consents from (and payments to) the owners of underlying rights will continue to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The payments for any new commercial uses will be negotiated in the relevant Radio or TV Writers’ Forums. If you do not sign the BBC’s request, your original contracts will continue to apply, but your work cannot be made available for any new uses which may be approved by the relevant Forums (in practice, your work is unlikely to be re-used at all). Note that you can withhold consent to individual works, withdraw or re-include works previously withdrawn at any time upon reasonable notice.

Members often complain that their past work has become inaccessible, so we highly recommend that you sign up to this deal. For full information see www.bbc.co.uk/writerslicence which has full FAQs and a downloadable licence, or contact Jmccrum@societyofauthors.org if you have queries. It would also be helpful if you could pass this information on to other authors (or their Estates) to ensure they don’t risk missing out.

See the Broadcasting Group noticeboard for further details.


Contacts at BBC Literary Copyright

Need to speak to someone? Here are details of http://www.societyofauthors.org/sites/default/files/BBC Literary Copyright contact details.pdf">personell working in BBC Literary Copyright.



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