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Pitching for TV FAQ

Q. Where do I send my ideas ?

A. If you are a member of the public with a programme idea please visit the Ideas From the Public page. In-house production teams and independent production companies should submit their programme proposals via e-Commissioning


Q. What information do I need to give in my proposal? 

A. Proposals should include the below areas:

Diversity: The BBC is committed to embracing diversity and so your proposal should include a paragraph explaining how the programme would fulfil our diversity commitment to reflect fully the licence fee paying public (either on or off-screen). Find out more on the Diversity at the BBC website.

Disability: If your proposal includes contributors or working before a live audience then it should also include details of how you will meet your obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 995. The BBC Production Handbook Guide to the Disability Act 1995 lays out the BBC's approach to the Disability Discrimination Act in programme making terms.

Health and safety: If any health and safety issues or concerns have occurred on previous projects commissioned by the BBC from your company, you will be required to include details of how such issues or concerns have been addressed..


Q: What happens if I've got a cross-genre idea?

A: The BBC acknowledges that some programme ideas may straddle two (or more) genre categories. If this applies to your proposal please select the genre you believe is most appropriate on e-Commissioning. If the Genre Commissioner believes your idea is more appropriate for a different genre then they will speak to that genre about your proposal. 

However if you submit your idea to more than one genre then you must indicate this. 


Q. I've got a Factual Entertainment idea. Do I pitch it to Factual or Entertainment?

A. Factual Entertainment programmes by their very nature are a fusion of the two genres so some overlap between the genres is inevitable. To provide clarity as to whether an idea should be targeted at Factual or Entertainment, try to define it by which of the following criteria are dominant: 

  • Subject Matter: Where there is clearly Factual based content at the heart of the proposal - advice, learning or practical take-away value - and that is the dominant element (regardless of approach) the idea should be sent to Factual.
  • Approach: Where the approach rather than the subject matter is dominant and has core Entertainment values  then the idea should be sent to Entertainment (eg The Apprentice). Where the approach is primarily narrative/observation led (even with other components) then the idea should be sent to Factual.

 

Q: I've got an idea with an interactive element. Where do I send it?

A: Send your idea to the relevant genre team or Nations contact and they will liaise as appropriate to ensure the interactive potential of your idea is explored. 

 

Q. Can I send my proposal to more than one genre, Commissioner or production area?

A. Yes you can but you must indicate if you are offering the idea to more than one Commissioner. 

 

Q. Can I pitch my idea to a Nation (Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland)? 

A. Independent production companies have the choice of whether to submit proposals to Network television via the contact in the individual Nations or via the Genre Controller in London.  

However you must indicate if you are submitting your idea to more than one Commissioner or production area. Commissioning for Nations and Regions is not available via e-Commissioning.

 

Q. Can I continue to submit proposals through my existing production contact?

A. All proposals must now be submitted via e-Commissioning.

 

Q. Do the BBC accept ideas from abroad?

A. We can accept ideas from independent companies abroad but it is very difficult to make these logistically as an independent project probably needs a UK company to parent it. This might be possible for some foreign companies but it is not straightforward. 

We do not accept ideas from individuals abroad directly.  

The BBC may consider buying programmes as acquisitions rather than making them. Find contacts in BBC Programme Acquisitions.

Please bear in mind that Factual commission singles and series of universal appeal to a broad-based UK audience so the majority of commissions are domestic ideas. The BBC is happy to receive proposals from independent companies abroad provided they meet the criteria of mass appeal within the UK. There are  very limited slots for acquisitions and again the priorities are domestic films with a broad universal appeal.

 

Q. I've produced a programme abroad and would like to send it to the BBC to see if they are interested. Where should I send it? 

A: The Programme Acquisitions Team are responsible for buying all fiction for the BBC's channels. This includes feature films, TV movies, mini-series, and Drama and Comedy series.

Storyville acquire completed single documentary films. Find information on recent Storyville programmes.

Unfortunately given our domestic focus we do not acquire general Factual programmes from abroad.

 

Q. Do you commission music for programmes?

A: TV only commissions programme, not music or theme tunes. If you wish to produce or compose music or themes for television then you should contact the relevant production area or an independent company. 

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