Contact: Tom McDonaldRegion: All UK

Title: Head of Natural History and Specialist Factual Commissioning
Genre: Specialist Factual, Science, Natural History, Factual
Region: All UK

About Channel

The BBC is the world's leading public service broadcaster with a channel portfolio that  provides entertainment, news, drama, factual, current affairs, comedy, children’s and arts coverage across BBC One, BBC, Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC and CBeebies. 

Programme Interests

Our current commissioning focus for natural history includes: 

Looking For


BBC 1:

Headline needs


We deliver a broad and varied natural history slate in a range of tones, forms and into various slots from 6pm on Sundays through to peak time 8pm and 9pm mid-week.

Recent successes include Big Blue Live, blue chip landmark The HuntAttenborough and the Giant DinosaurSnow Chick: A Penguin’s Tale and Koko: The Gorilla Who Talks to People. Forthcoming titles include Planet Earth II, a supersize return of John Downer’s Spy series, a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall fronted campaign tackling poaching and a six x 60 animal drama set in the Serengeti. 

Natural history on BBC One needs either a strong emotional narrative or real awe and wonder - ideally all of our titles would have a combination of both. The genre has a long lead-time so we are already actively seeking ideas to deliver in 2018/19.

We're actively looking for:


Where are the opportunities available? 

Limited slots in 2017/18 but plenty of opportunity in 2018/19.


Head of Specialist Factual and Natural History Commissioning Tom McDonald leads on natural history commissioning at the BBC, which sits within the wider specialist factual commissioningteam. All proposals for religion and ethics should be submitted via BBC Pitch to the relevant commissioners as listed below.

Visit the Pitching for TV page for further information about pitching including top tips from BBC commissioners and training from the BBC Academy.

BBC 2: 

Headline needs


Natural history comes in many forms on BBC Two: blue chip, event, popular documentary, format and stand out single films. 

Natural history has long lead times so we are actively looking for ideas for 2018/19. 

Recent successes include New Zealand: Earth’s Mythical IslandsTribes Predators & Me, Nature’s Sneakiest Animals, Tigers About The House and popular titles featuring pets including Cats vs Dogs: Which Is Best and Choose The Right Puppy For You. 

We're actively looking for:


Where are the opportunities available? 

Limited opportunities in 2017/18, plenty of opportunity in 2018/19.

BBC 4: 

Headline needs


We have a small but distinguished natural history slate on BBC Four. 

We have three really clear needs:

Single 60 or 90 minute events like the RTS winning Oak Tree: Nature's Greatest Survivor or the forthcoming Butterfly Migration Event which deliver an extraordinary natural history narrative. 

Stand out documentary meets natural history singles such as The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins- special archive, amazing testimony and a cracking yarn.

Series ideas which look at the animal kingdom through the prism of physics or chemistry: how do you do really deep science in the natural history space. Also interested in how you combine natural history with travel as long as it has a really clear sense of identity and purpose eg Richard Fortey’s Islands series.

We’d love to find new natural history talent to launch on BBC Four - idiosyncratic, expert, obsessed with their subject area. A brilliant example would be Ben Garrod’s Bones series from a few years ago.

What are the opportunities available?

Opportunity in both 2017/18 and 2018/19.

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