The killer pitch - pitching tips

Got an idea for a TV show? Listen to these pitching tips and techniques from programme commissioners across the BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 5 and UKTV.

Getting your idea commissioned requires planning, creativity and salesmanship.

Commissioners offer their tips on how to pitch, how not to pitch and their most memorable pitches, from Britain’s Got Talent style dog shows to using YouTube to make a trailer.

"The perfect pitch is one that someone passionately believes in."– Zai Bennett

Research and plan
Know the audience, know the channel, know the network. Match the tone of your pitch to these.

Be passionate
Genuinely believe in what you are pitching. Have a clear, exciting and enticing idea that will cut through the other pitches seen that day.

Be clear
Be succinct, don’t pitch too many ideas, preferably pick your best one. Don’t use gimmicks unless they are vital.

Send a taster tape
Making a taster tape is a good idea if you can. Make sure it is in a hard copy format, such as a DVD.

It’s not a lecture
Have a conversation with the commissioners, you’re not giving a lecture! Make them curious, make them laugh.

Don’t be a stranger
Keep in touch with the commissioners.

With contributions from:

Zai Bennett, Controller, BBC Three

Liam Keelan, Controller, BBC Daytime and Early Peak 

Sam Anthony, Executive Producer, BBC Knowledge Commissioning

John Kaye Cooper, Controller of Entertainment, ITV

Michele Kurland, Head of Factual, Sky Entertainment

Celia Taylor, Head of Factual and Features, Sky Entertainment

Jeff Ford, Director of Programmes, Channel 5

Jane Rogerson, Director of Commissioning at UKTV