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Entertainment on BBC Two

 marklinsey.jpgController: Mark Linsey


Popular Factual Entertainment for BBC Two

BBC Two is seeking to refresh its popular Factual Entertainment offering with a number of new formats. In the past, the channel has taken a leading role in developing such outstanding shows as Top Gear, Dragons’ Den, The Apprentice, Robot Wars, Who Do You Think You Are? and The Great British Bake Off. But now we need to find the new shows which will define the next generation of Factual Entertainment on the channel.

This brief is intentionally broad because we want to encourage a range of ideas which will offer genuine refreshment and surprise in this area. 

But the kinds of questions we are asking are: what are the new areas of lifestyle, home activities and hobbies which should follow on from The Great British Bake Off, The Great British Sewing Bee, The Patch, and The Great Interior Design Challenge? What are the new kinds of adventurous formats which will attract a broad but slightly more male skewing audience like Top Gear, Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice: You’re Fired? What are the lessons of Gogglebox and other rigged/user generated shows for the future of people-watching?  How can we turn the dial and find the new version of competitive formats like Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off?  Where are the shows for BBC Two with real scale which may be versions of international formats or offer other kinds of significant editorial ambition?

We are open to free-standing or returning formats but we would like them all to feel modern, witty, warm and innovative. They should push the boundaries in terms of what BBC Two has tried before in this area but without alienating the heartland audience. Please keep an eye out for diversity of talent and participants throughout.

There are three broad opportunities in the schedule for these kind of shows, please see the Commissioning Slots section below for more information.

Please note: Popular Factual Entertainment ideas for BBC Two can also be pitched via the Features & Formats Commissioning team.


The Entertainment portfolio on BBC Two continues to work really well, ranging from panel shows to Factual Entertainment formats.

The channel has always welcomed adventurous, cutting-edge ideas and formats that become much-loved features of the TV landscape. Many of our shows are talent-led and passionate expertise can also be key to bringing an audience to new shows.

For online and Red Button content ideas for Entertainment please visit the service strategy page for BBC iPlayer, Red Button and programme pages.

Find out more about the overall BBC Two channel strategy.

The Audience

The challenge for entertainment on BBC Two is to continue to bring younger audiences (25 - 44 year-olds) to the channel without alienating the older heartland.

Factual-based formats have achieved this in the past by providing immersive experiences with strong entertainment values (which attracts younger viewers) whilst being set in an world which gives older viewers (over 55s) 'permission to watch'.

Tonally, the BBC Two audience appreciates something that creates a conversation with them and includes them in new experiences as well as telling a compelling story with strong entertainment values. 

They also want content which prompts knowing smiles as well as laugh out loud moments.

Commissioning Slots

  • Sunday night 8 and 9pm - 60 minutes:  this is the territory available when Top Gear and Dragons’ Den are off air. It is broad but very slightly more male skewed.  It has a sense of scale.  Ratings target 2 - 3 million.
    Budget range £150k - £300k per episode.
  • Midweek 8 and 9pm - 60 minutes: this is where The Great British Bake Off, The Great British Sewing Bee and The Choir have played and tend to be shows of broad family appeal and a positive aspirational feel. Ratings target 2 - 4 million.
    Budget range £150k - £225k per episode.
  • Weeknight 10pm - 30 minutes: we are planning some more Factual Entertainment in weeknight 10pm slots. This is an opportunity to experiment with a format or a piece of talent and these shows could skew a little younger. Ratings target 1.5 - 2 million.
    Budget range £70k - £90k per episode.
  • Factual Entertainment and Pure Entertainment Formats that could work at 8pm or 9pm for 30 or 60 minute duration.
    Tariff range: price targeted up to £200k per hour.

Where are the opportunities available?

Both opportunities exist in the WoCC in 2014/15 and 2015/16.


How should I submit my ideas and who should I pitch to?

All proposals should be submitted via BBC Pitch to the relevant genre Controller or Commissioner. 

Popular Factual Entertainment ideas for BBC Two can also be pitched via the Features & Formats Commissioning team.

Find contacts in Entertainment commissioning and Features & Formats commissioning.

Information reviewed 12 August 2014

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