Home Introduction to radio and television PROGRAMME SCRIPTS FOR RADIO AND TELEVISION


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You have secured a piece of land and want to build a house; you have to get the blocks ready before you can embark on real construction work. So also is with radio, television and even film. The script tends to be the block for broadcast production. It is document, which shows how creative imagination is transformed from thought to a written form. It translates inspired ideas and illusions to reality (Owuamalam 2007:86).

In certain circumstances, some scripts may be uninteresting to read, while others may appear to be complex in structure and composition. Such scripts may hardly appear to the readers. And some because of over simplicity to tend to lose their creative ingredients and may appear offensive to the readers. The scriptwriter should guide against these factors and come up with a worthwhile script which will have an appeal to the generality of the station’s audience.


At the end of this unit, you should able to:

  1. define scripts for Radio and Television
  2. explain the stages involved in planning for a script 
  3.  explain the tenets of script writing as to when the structure,review and attend actuality 
  4.  identify qualities of a good script writer 
  5.  distinguish production scripts from other forms of scripts. 


3.1 Definition of Script

Scripts are guide document in virtually all programme production particularly for the broadcast media. Scripts to spell out all the requirements and indicate what every performer and direct how each performer should relate to the other throughout the programme. It is the scripts that determine the type of programme to be produced. 

Some are fully scripted. These type do not permit the performers to add anything to what is placed before them while semi scripted ones do permit performers to add their thought, ideas and views, thus allowing them to contribute their own creativity along the suggested programme approach.


  1. Why do you think scripts are the necessary ingredients to programme production? 

3.2 Period of Inspiration, Reflection and Review

The scriptwriter has to take certain thing into consideration when writing. The script should be written in such a manner that would attract and retain the interest of the readers. He should note the following points:
1. Period of Inspiration Owuamalam (2007:36) states that the period of inspiration tends to arise from the agitation about a specific issue or subject. Things happen and they may call attention to specific issue, which affect human being. The writer may not resist the urge to share the experience with others who might have been physically present at the time or place of the event. It is the urge to write these experiences down that gives rise to writing a script.

2. Reflection It is at the time that the idea conceiver reflects on the way he or she would out his or her ideas in a creative manner that would appeal to readers to the station’s audience. It is at this stage that he thinks of the type of medium and language to use in communicating his ideas to the audience. He or she puts the various thought together and avoids using too many words and decides the language to be understood by the people he or her is writing for.
3. Period of Enquiry The write takes stock of what has happened in the past whether such or similar ideas have been used in one-way or the other. This stage could be referred to as the research period. The main reason is to see if there has been a vacuum somewhere in the attempt to meet the desires and aspirations of the station’s audience. This could make the work different from other ones that had been put by the station for its audience. 
If a similar idea had been presented, he or she may improve on it to attract more relationship, viewership or listenership.


Why is the period of enquiry also referred to as the research period?

3.3 Structuring, Actuality and Review

This is the period of planning. The writer at this stage would have to be the lose knots by putting the sub-themes in such manner that one relates to the other in a sequence, not losing sight of the central theme. If it is a play or dramatic presentation, it is said the work is divided into episodes, acts and scenes. The parts of the programme are tied to the main theme.

After this stage, the writer now comes to the actual writing of the idea into an acceptable script. This is documentation stage. At this point, the writer puts in all he or she knows about the ideas he has been harbouring in his mind. It is also at this stage that the language to be used is decided upon. The language should be that which should be accepted by the reader and consequently by the audience. Having written the scripts, the writer has to take another look at the idea he or she had put down. This stage is called the review stage and he uses it to realign these thought and ideas he feels do not go well together with the main thing. He uses this revision stage to add these things he might have left out. He polishes the thought and ideas to make the script fall in line with the medium of presentation. He restructures the script content of the scripts to meet the desires of the audience for whom the programme is meant.


Why has it become necessary for the scriptwriter to revise his work repeatedly?

3.4 Qualities of a Good Script Writer

The scriptwriter should appear original in his ideas and should be interesting so as to attract audience attention when finally produced. The script should indicate the scope and limitation so that the producer is in no doubt in planning for the human and material resources that would be employed for the production. The plot and in fact the characterisation should be in such a manner as to be able to direct the producer on the requirements for the production.

If the script is meant to educate, inform or entertain the station’s audience, it should do so very well. The script should be devoid of ambiguity. Sub-themes should match with the main theme and show clarity of thought and provide a vivid picture of the main theme to enhance a better appreciation of the actins found in the creative work.

He or she should be able to handle the plot in an interesting and entertaining manner. Owuamalam (2007:91) states that, plots as the scheme of action ought to be logically presented, in order to enable the audience to understand the lesson derivable from the script as presented.

The presentation of characters in a sequential order of relevance tends to help the progression of the work. Both actions should be presented in orderly and interesting manner so as to make it suiting to the station’s audience. The language used should be understood both by performers and the audience and the scriptwriter must identify the audience he or she is writing for, that he or she must know their needs and desires because audience tend to appreciate more a production that satisfies their needs and desires because audience tend to appreciate more a production that satisfies their needs and desires. And above all, the script writer should give a general consideration to the audience perspective by drawing out of his or her plot that is relevant to the society that the production is meant to appeal to. He or she not forgets that any production, which assists in bringing about change in societal attitude towards taking remedial action to its advantage, tends to be best appreciated.


Who are the station audiences that we have been referring to from time to time?

3.5 Production Script

Perhaps it is because scripts are the programme production pears that they appear to be very important document in broadcast programme production. The production scripts usually contain the production effects to be used during performance. The scripts also determine the type of language to be used by the artistes. A production script is realised after the production meeting comprising the various heads of units who come together to discuss the programme, its content and other necessary requirements including the budget. It is also at this stage that the master script is produced.
Master Script This is the document, which gives the detail description of the programme idea and comes up with the storyline. It is here that other types of scripts emerge. They include:

  1. The Director’s Script :The script identifies the roles of the programme director, the technical director and cameramen in case of the television. It is also here that the type of costumes, make-ups, the furniture to be used. It also shows the floor manager and what is required of him or her, and from here he or she comes up with the proper floor design and plan for the production.
  2. The Technical Script :The script is a technical one so uses technical language. It could first be a sketch and nothing more provided the technical personnel understand it. 
  3. Shooting Scripts :The script is principally concerned with directing and rehearsing on the intended video and audio inputs so that at end a meaningful production is realised.
  4.  The Acting Script :In a situation where lines are provided for the performers the script clearly indicates the lines of dialogue, what each actor or actress is to say in the order the lines are to be delivered. The script also indicates other acting instructions that would aid performers live the lives of other persons on stage. 


In what ways do you live somebody’s live on stage?


From the foregoing it could be noticed that the role of a script in programme production cannot be underrated. To performers and everybody that is involved in programme production the script is the road map just as the map is to geographers. It acts and serves as a walking stick to the blind that is the person involved in the production chain of programmes, especially in broadcasting.


A script is drawn up in relation to the nature of the programme to be produced.
Fully-scripted programmes do not allow artistes to add their own ideas and thought to what has been placed before then, but in semi-scripted ones, the artistes are at liberty to provide their own creative contributions to be suggested programme approach. All the other scripts emerge from the master scripts. The only thing that differentiates one from the other is the language used in each script.


  1.  Describe the role of the scriptwriter in the broadcast programme production. 
  2. Differentiate between the technical script and the director’s script. 
  3.  What qualities must a good scriptwriter possess? 


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