This unique 18-month part-time Diploma in Writing and Producing Comedy aims to enable students to develop all forms of scripted and unscripted comedy including sitcoms, sketch shows and panel shows for radio and TV.

"If you are considering a career in comedy, then the NFTS is a fast track for acquiring those career sustaining skills.” Phil Clarke, Channel 4 Head of Comedy.

The course is run in partnership with Channel 4.

Students will hear from regular industry speakers and get the opportunity to develop and write an original show and make a taster tape.

In 2015, three of our Writing and Producing Comedy graduates wrote for the award-winning satire show Dead Ringers. 2016 graduates Ed Amsden and Tom Coles are now in the Dead Ringers writing team and have contributed material to Have I Got News For You. They have also written for The Now Show and The News Quiz.

All NFTS students can attend the School’s masterclasses programme, with recent guests including Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk, The Dark Knight, Interstellar), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here) and Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, Veep, The Death of Stalin).

What you will study

Writing and Producing Comedy commences in January each year. The course is part-time (one evening a week and occasional Saturdays) over eighteen months and is delivered in central London. You will be expected to spend at least eight hours a week working on assignments for the course. You will leave the course with a portfolio of material, which could include a 10-minute taster tape of an idea you have developed, or a full script and some sketches and one-liners.

Students are taught about:

  • Comedy landscape
  • Radio comedy
  • Sketches
  • Panel shows and formats
  • Characterisation
  • Story structure
  • Narrative TV comedy
  • Script editing
  • Topical one-liners
  • Outlines and treatments
  • Pitching
  • Commissioning processes
  • Working with performers
  • Compliance issues
  • Working with writers
  • Writing briefs

Students graduate able to:

  • generate comedy programme ideas
  • create a narrative comedy, sketch show or comedy entertainment show
  • pitch ideas to commissioning editors
  • work with writers and help them develop their ideas


Download course outline

Current or recent tutors

Bill Dare

Bill Dare

Course Leader, Writing and Producing Comedy

Credits include Spitting Image and Dead Ringers

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home/EU/EEA £8,250

These are the fees for the 2019 intake. Course fees for the 2020 intake are yet to be set. They will be published in the summer and any increase will be no higher than the rate of inflation.

This course is only open to UK and EU/EEA applicants.

A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place.

Students are expected to provide their own laptops.

The NFTS is actively seeking to improve diversity within the industry by encouraging applications from under-represented groups, and have bursaries of £4,650 on offer to two of the successful candidates. 

Entry requirements

Applicants must have comedy talent and have evidence that bears this out.

Applicants do not necessarily have to have a university Bachelors degree to apply for the course, but must be able to: demonstrate a knowledge of television/film; provide details of past achievements; demonstrate a clear focus for their future ambitions; and, crucially, show a passion for comedy.

If you are not an EEA National, you must already be in possession of a UK visa valid for the duration of this course.  We are unable to accept your application if you do not.

If you have any questions, please email info@nfts.co.uk.

How to apply

Application deadline: 15 Sep 2019


Applicants must complete the online application form and submit the following supporting materials:

  • Please submit, in one document, two TV or radio sketches of no more than 350 words each. Write for any of the following shows: That Mitchell and Webb Sound, Tracey Ullman Breaks the News, or Smack The Pony. Do not use characters or ideas already established on those shows. You can choose a different well known sketch show if you prefer, but please indicate which it is.

  • An outline for a comedy series, no more than 300 words.
  • Please write a joke/punchline suitable for HIGNFY or 8 out of ten cats host script for 2 of the news stories listed in the materials sheet.

You can apply online by clicking on BEGIN YOUR APPLICATION below. We are happy to receive applications at any time up until the midnight of the application deadline date.

Begin your application