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Thursday, 9 March, 2000, 14:31 GMT
BBC searches for stars
Angus Deayton and Katy Hill
Angus Deayton and Katy Hill launching the initiative
The BBC is launching its biggest search for new talent, with the winners being offered contracts with different parts of the corporation from BBC News to Radio 1.

BBC Talent is searching for up to 40 people who can show flair in sitcom writing, stand-up comedy, TV presenting and programme-making.

Radio 1 is also looking for talent to work in all areas of the station, while Radio 3 is searching for new composers.
Jame Theakston in a BBC Talent trail
Jamie Theakston is fronting trailers for BBC Talent
Stars backing the scheme include Jamie Theakston, Sara Cox, Angus Deayton, sports presenter John Inverdale, EastEnders actors Todd Carty and Tamzin Outhwaite, and Live & Kicking presenters Emma Ledden and Steve Wilson.

Notting Hill writer Richard Curtis is also involved, along with Men Behaving Badly creator Simon Nye.

BBC director-general Greg Dyke said: "The success of the BBC is down to the people who make the programmes - creative people, risk-takers, thinkers, innovators and great performers.

"Without the best talent in the business, the BBC will not flourish. We have to make this place a magnet for talent and a fun place to be."

Talent-spotting

It is also being promoted with trailers featuring TV presenter Jamie Theakston, who started his career with the BBC, through Radio 5 and the London station GLR.

He said: "We all need someone to take a risk and offer you that first break. The BBC did it for me, and they can do it for you too.
Radio 1 DJ Trevor Nelson
Radio 1 DJ Trevor Nelson is also backing the scheme
"BBC Talent will do that and I look forward to working with potential stars who will shape the future."

Launching the scheme at Television Centre, London, BBC Production chief executive Matthew Bannister denied the scheme was a direct response to the recent loss of presenters like Des Lynam and Barry Norman to rival broadcasters.

"A couple of people have left, but we've signed deals with high-profile stars - we have lots of of established stars and we'll always have established stars," he said.

"This isn't about finding the next Des Lynam in 6 months - this is about opening up the doors of the BBC in a more competitive market."

'Attractive place'

He added: "I don't think we can take anybody for granted - be they established stars or new people. It's an attractive place it's a risk-taking place and we've got so many outlets - radio, television, the internet.
Tamzin Outhwaite, Sara Cox and Emma Ledden
Tamzin Outhwaite, Sara Cox and Emma Ledden at the launch
"But we can't sit in our ivory tower, we're saying we want you to come in and we're open to you."

Contracts on offer include one-year trainee positions at Radio 1, and two six-month reporter contracts with BBC News and BBC Sport.

There is also a reporter's contract with the Holiday programme, and a contract to work on digital service BBC Choice for the winner of the BBC New Comedy Awards.

The campaign is open to anyone in the UK, with full details available on the BBC Talent website.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Rosie Millard
"Searching for the stars of the future"
Matthew Bannister, BBC Production Chief Executive
"We want people from all kinds of backgrounds"
See also:

02 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Young DJ's university challenge
20 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Cox lands Radio 1 breakfast job
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