To complement its original commissioned content, the BBC aims to bring the best international movies and programmes to its audiences and acquired programming is a significant and highly valued part of our output across factual and scripted.
Visit the Children's page to find out more about acquisitions for CBeebies and CBBC.
The BBC Factual Acquisitions team is part of BBC Content’s (television) factual commissioning department. We are responsible for buying factual films and programmes that complement the BBC’s original programming with carefully considered content that represents the best in global filmmaking. We are interested in programmes that have unique access to subjects that will resonate with audiences across the UK.
There are a range of opportunities for completed films and programmes across the BBC’s services but all our content must work for a specific BBC channel and audiences.
Skip to the submission section below for submission details.
Our current priorities are:
We are looking for one or two authoritative, ambitious factual series each year. Recent and upcoming examples include Chasing the Moon, The Defiant Ones, Africa’s Great Civilisations and The Vietnam War
We are also looking for a range of single films including:
- Well crafted documentaries that tell us about communities or places in the UK like New Forest: A Year in the Wild Wood.
- Science and natural history programmes that dig deep into their chosen subject and reflect excellence in their field like Deep Ocean – Lights in the Abyss.
- History programmes that look at a shared past with the UK or significant international events from a different perspective and resonate with our times like The No 5 War and The Rise and Fall of Nokia.
- Music and arts documentaries and performance that surprise and offer great access and insight. Recent successful examples include Bros: After the Screaming Stops, Hollywood’s Brightest Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story and Barbra Streisand: Becoming an Icon 1942-1984.
There are a limited number of opportunities for acquired single films on BBC Three. We are looking primarily for English language films on contemporary subjects that are challenging and provocative with smart insightful storytelling, appealing to audiences aged between 16 and 34 like Believer and Alt-Right: Age of Rage.
We look for ambitious single films and series of scale and high quality in music, arts and documentary genres that tell compelling and timely contemporary stories. They often offer exclusive or unusual access to well-known subjects and figures and appeal to a broad audience.
We acquire the occasional high profile, accessible single film and performance pieces for a broad, mainstream audience like Kenny.
Seasons and events
Factual Acquisitions forms a key part of selected BBC seasons and events, acquiring single films with exceptional access and diverse perspectives.
We are currently well served for current affairs, lifestyle, food and cooking, travel, popular factual, factual entertainment and formats.
Factual Acquisitions will consider projects that are in production if we are able to meaningfully assess the potential of the finished film, the majority of the funding is in place and the BBC is able to have an editorial role in the project.
Rights and clearances
Factual Acquisitions will only consider programming that is fully cleared for broadcast in the UK, including catch up rights.
We are happy to consider presenter-led programming that fits with our current priorities provided the presenters are already well known in the UK or bring a specific expertise to the subject.
We want all of our films and programmes to reach as wide an audience as possible and regularly work with producers and filmmakers to create UK television versions of their programming.
If you have programming that fits our requirements please register and submit via the factual acquisitions online submission system.
Please note: this system is for completed and funded films and programmes only. We are unable to consider programming that does not meet this requirement and our current editorial priorities. Producers seeking BBC funded commissions should submit programme ideas through BBC Pitch to the relevant genre lead or controller.
Factual Acquisitions look for programming year round so you can submit at any time. We receive a high number of submissions and carefully consider each one, so response times can vary.
Factual acquisition contacts
The BBC Programme Acquisition team buy and manage acquired scripted fiction from around the world - feature films and international drama series and sitcoms (both English and foreign language) - for transmission on the BBC's television channels.
Recent series include The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, Trapped and the third season of The Bridge. Recent feature films include Iron Man 3 and Brave and foreign language films include Love Is All You Need, and The Hunt.
Distributors wishing to approach the BBC about potential acquisitions should email Sue Deeks with the details of the feature film or series, preferably including a screening link. Alternatively a DVD screener can be sent to Sue at:
Zone A, Floor 7
BBC New Broadcasting House
Fiction acquisition contacts
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