BBC rates

2017-8 radio drama rates (RDA and RAC4 contracts)

Radio rates negotiations are ongoing. If you would like to contribute, or you have any queries, please contact the Broadcasting Group Secretary, Jo McCrum.

BBC commissioning processes are detailed here.

Rates are calculated per minute on the slot length with the exception of the '15 minute' drama broadcast in Woman's Hour which is paid on the actuality of 14 minutes. Note that a New Public Services Fee applied to the one transmission rate is 12.5%. 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: £69.00

Original drama (per minute)

  • Beginners' rate: £63.29 (2 tx) / £37.97 (1 tx)
  • Established writers' rate: £95.46 (2 tx) / £57.24 (1 tx)

An established writer is one where the writer has had 120 minutes of dramatic works transmitted 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
Read a Guide to Working Relationships Between Writers and BBC in-house Producer/Directors »
The Archers

  • £957 per episode

Attendance payment

  • Attendance payment (script + conference): £125.00
  • Attendance payment (biannual script + conference): £153.00

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

Adaptations of stage plays are commissioned ont he following basis The  underlying rights are paid for at the usual per minute published material rate for plays/prose. An adaptor can be paid anything from a  one-off fee for minor edits going towards 35% of a drama rate for very substantial adaptations where new scenes or characters may be developed.  

Commissioned short stories (per 15-minutes)

  • 1st and 2nd: £191
  • 3rd – 5th: £226
  • 6th – 9th: £257
  • 10th onwards: £328
  • Generally established outside the BBC: £328
  • Generally established inside the BBC: £389

Abridgements (per minute)

  • Beginners' rate: £7.39
  • Established writers' rate: £10.90

Agreements and rates 

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: £3.37 per minute
  • Dramatisations (including specially commissioned translations): £2.18 per minute
  • Source work material (including translations) £1.30 per minute
  • Abridgements £0.78 per minute

Advance schedules

To view advance schedules visit this link and enter writer (all lower-case) as a password. 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 were due to increase on 1 August 2015 and are still under negotiation. If you would like to contribute to negotiations or have any queries please contact the Broadcasting Group Secretary, Jo McCrum

These rates are calculated on a one transmission basis. Two transmissions, if paid upfront, are 180%.

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.

Agreements include an 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.


  • Prose (per minute): £32.27
  • Poetry (per 1/2 minute): £38.72
  • Download the TV agreement

Core Service Radio

  • Plays/Prose (per min): £18.75
  • Poetry (per ½ min): £18.75
  • Prose for Dramatisation (per min): £14.62
  • Prose (per min) or poetry translation (per ½ min): £12.50

World Service Radio (English)/BBC Digital Radio Originations

The rates for R4Extra originations are currently under review.

  • Plays/Prose (per min): £9.37
  • Poetry (per 1/2 min): £9.37
  • Prose for Dramatisation (per min): £7.29
  • Prose (per min) or poetry translation (per ½ min): £6.25

Local Radio

  • Plays/Prose (per min): £4.68
  • Poetry (per 1/2 min): £4.68
  • Prose for Dramatisation (per min): £3.64
  • Prose (per min) or poetry translation (per ½ min): £3.12

Radio Features

Features are commissioned at a minimum fee of £45.93 per minute with a baseline threshold of £321.48. The minimum fee equates to seven minutes duration. 

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 lower non-edit rate 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 or approved the SoA, WGGB or NUJ.

Download a sample Feature agreement »

Radio talks contributions

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: £23.97 per minute with a minimum fee of £47.93
  • Script only £18.58 a minute with a minimum fee of £37.15
  • Daily rate Reporting £134.33 per day. Minimum fee of £67.17 (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/PMA/WGGB TV Rates (per minutes, on slot length)

  • Teleplays: £192
  • Series/Serials: £175
  • Dramatisations: £127
  • Adaptations: £78
  • Educational Drama: £117
  • Attendance fees: £102
  • Television sketch material: £137
  • Children's television sketch material: £87

Established and in-demand writers may be able to negotiate a higher rate. Rates will apply to 1 November 2016.

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

The BBC 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 which has full FAQs and a downloadable licence or contact the Broadcasting Group Secretary, Jo McCrum. 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.

BBC Contributor Payments

The BBC receives over 100 returned contributor payments a month, most of which are by incorrect bank details resulting from artists (or even agents) changing bank details and not notifying the BBC. These require a lot of manual effort to resolve and with the consequence that contributors are not receiving the payments that they are entitled to.

If you need to check,  chase a payment of register your details:

Phone: 0800 098 8106 (option 1)
Address(This information will be of interest to artists and contributors/agents who submit VAT-only invoices and any other hard copy documentation): BBC Contributor Payments, PO Box 745, Redhill, RH1 9GB 

Contacts at BBC Literary Copyright

Need to speak to someone? Download the contact details for the BBC Literary Copyright team »