Formats and features on BBC One

Donna Clark discusses formats and features on BBC One

Commissioning steers

  • Hours available at 8pm or 9pm midweek.
  • Seeking transformational formats


We are really keen to take risks and build ambitious new returning brands for the future. The key qualities we need from formats and features ideas are:

Broad audience: Our programmes must always be accessible and relevant to the lives of the broad BBC One audience.

Returnability: We need returners with enough scale, drama, warmth and emotional  resonance to potentially sit at 9pm on BBC One, for example DIY SOSEat Well for Less? or Shop Well for Less? We’d love to find the next holiday show or the next interiors show for BBC One.

Scale: Really bold, clear ideas that will have impact within the schedule. Be innovative in terms of shapes you offer. BBC One does not have to mean ‘safe’. 

Purpose: Universal issues like food or ageing that raise challenging questions important to our audience’s lives. How can we examine those questions in our programming in a more unmediated, non-judgmental way that resonates with the audience? We had great success with Britain’s Spending Secrets – what other ways can we explore those issues that are at the forefront of our minds: spending, parenting, and how we chose to live our lives.


The remit of formats and features on BBC One

Formats and features cover a range of content ideas and types:

Documentary formats: Emotional/dramatic formats such as The Island with Bear Grylls on Channel Four or ways of structuring access like 24 Hours in A&E.

Specialist factual formats: Full of specialist factual content but with an umbrella format shape that allows it to return such as Who Do You Think You Are?

Factual entertainment with a purpose/factual events: Previous examples include shows like Hugh's War on Waste, When I Get Older and The Week the Immigrants Left

Factual experiments: ‘Testing’/examining something in a precinct that offers a colourful sense of scale and brings to life important issues in entertaining, thought provoking ways.

Factual formats: We’d love to find the next exciting competition or the next transformational format. What’s the next The Great British Bake Off or the next The Apprentice? How can we reinvent interiors on BBC One?

Consumer: Eat Well for Less? is filled with consumer take out but feels like an entertaining format built around playful subterfuge. How can we develop further entertaining with useful take out? What other consumer spaces can we explore in this way and what does the next generation consumer show look like? Do not be constrained by traditional forms.

Find out more about the BBC One channel strategy


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

Formats and features overview video

Donna Clark discusses her strategy for formats and features

Information reviewed 10 June 2016

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