Entertainment on BBC Two

Commissioning slots

  • Disruptive opinionated talent driven Comedy Entertainment format for 10pm.
  • Sunday night 8pm and 9pm - 60 minutes:  this is the territory available when Top Gear and Dragons’ Den are off air. It’s broad but very slightly more male skewed.  It has a sense of scale. Budget range £150k - £300k per episode
  • Midweek 8pm 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 Factual Entertainment shows of broad family appeal and positive aspiration. 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. Budget range £70k - £90k per episode


Comedy Entertainment at 10pm 

Our current focus for BBC Two Entertainment is at 10pm. For this slot we would like to try something big and new in the form of a late night, multi-item and multi-talent-led Comedy Entertainment vehicle bringing the very best cutting edge content to the screen.

We want to be surprised with something that breaks the mould of the traditional panel, chat, sketch or stand-up format whilst retaining some of the elements that make these shows successful.

We want to 'crank up' the jeopardy and anticipation levels around this new type of show that is appointment to view television with an event feel.

We’re looking to bring an American style of noisiness to the UK with the rhythm and topicality of high impact shows such as Saturday Night Live, The Late Late Show with James Corden and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon whilst retaining the unique stamp and right feel for our BBC Two UK audience.

The brief is broad but the areas we would ask suppliers to consider are:


Innovative talent

The proposition could involve a number of comedians: big, well established names as well as rising stars. We need distinctive, individual and diverse voices that naturally, weirdly or surprisingly complement each other. The synergy between them will be key.


Intelligent Comedy which an edge

On a channel where the 10pm slot is already well known for creative risk taking we are keen to explore ways to push these boundaries even further. This is a unique, channel defining slot and we are looking for a signature show to place here.

Think disruptive, alternative and surreal. Introducing an unknown quantity could be interesting: could we take comedic talent out of their comfort zones with surprising results? Perhaps we could be looking at other big stars or talent who don't necessarily provide a comedic voice, but would complement the overall line up? These could be guest appearances, cameos or perhaps even regular companions?


Must see TV

We believe there are four core elements which are true of what we're looking for:

  • Social impact
  • Exceptionality
  • Timeliness
  • Deep immersion

Event TV has mass appeal, an impact beyond transmission, is watched with others and watched live, or close to Live. Event TV feels un-missable and has high production values.

We are open to new forms of scheduling - should we schedule episodes in quick succession or be consistent with weekly slots?  Could this be stripped? To increase topicality and timeliness could we look at doing an 'event week'? This could play to the strengths of the talent and bring a real edge across the week whilst ensuring relevance.

Can we make it live or as live? This could bring a whole new level of raw anticipation, where our audience don't quite know what's coming next but want to stay tuned to find out.

Think about what else could enhance this new proposition. Saturday Night Live comes from the impressively iconic Rockerfeller Centre in New York. Jimmy Fallon can claim that Questlove and The Roots are his house band.

We would urge you to think hard about the location and musical offerings, which need to feel like an integral feature of the show and invites the viewer to feel like they are part of something big and engaging.


Viral and social

These US examples often have a viral quality, something that’s thought about in advance and forms the basis for the TV offering.

We want ideas to maximise appeal on a multi-platform level and content to have a shelf life beyond transmission. We are open to ideas with separate accompanying pieces that could live on BBC Three. This is a real opportunity to draw the next generation of viewers to BBC Two by engaging them with content that speaks to them in the online world.

We want to incentivise the audience to the point of transmission. Think about immersive experiences: perhaps we can encourage participation and response? How can we utilise social media as part of the editorial? For example, ‘Mean Tweets’ on Jimmy Kimmel is a simple proposition but is a huge hit online.

Do think about social media as a promotional tool to be used before, during and after transmission.

We are also open to ideas involving Radio – don’t forget that some of our successful virals have originated in the radio world such as Radio 1’s Innuendo Bingo or Playground Insults.


How to pitch for the 10pm BBC Two slot

Initially submission must be via the online proposal system BBC Pitch by Friday 8 April.

Ideas will then be shortlisted and we will invite successful companies in for development meetings. 


The BBC Two 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 a 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. 


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

Alongside ideas for the 10pm slot, 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 Formats and Features commissioning team.


Information reviewed on 10 February 2016


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