Contact: David BrindleyRegion: All UK

Title: Head of Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment Commissioning
Genre: Factual, Factual Entertainment, Popular 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

For both BBC One and Two the holy grail will always be the returnable format. For the next few months our team will be almost solely focused on finding and backing the next ideas that can get to scale.

We’re now a newly formed department - an exciting opportunity to broaden our output and clearly signpost to producers that this should be your first port of call for big, bold, returnable popular factual and factual entertainment ideas. Everything we commission should feel like a treat, the first and most attractive option on the EPG after a day’s hard work. Clearly our series need strong purpose, they should challenge our preconceptions and open worlds we’ve not fully explored. Our shop window should unashamedly entice, it should be entertaining, whether that’s the talent on screen or the form we use. People should excitedly discuss our series’ with a smile on their face or indeed a tear in their eye the morning after, that’s more important to us than becoming the subject of a doctoral thesis.

Looking For

BBC 1: 

Popular factual on BBC One has to entertain. We need to find our popular voice to tackle broad, everyday issues that touch the lives of our audience and occupy their conversations in the pub or around the dinner table.

Some specifics:


How can we change the shape of our competition output? It’s an incredibly tough ask to land a big show on One first time around, but we need to be thinking about making a play in this space - what comes next alongside Masterchef and The Apprentice?


The Holy Grail will always be the returnable format. For the next few months our team will be almost solely focused on finding and backing the next ideas that can get to scale.

Where are our next round of entertaining, emotional and experiential formats coming from? DIY SOS does this like no other, but we’ll always be looking for more. How do we make philanthropy and camaraderie work again?

Social purpose

There’s room for social purpose on One from our department. Hugh’s War on Waste brought a broad audience to an important issue. Who else and what else should we be tackling?


We’re keen to find new talent with strong points of view. Anne Robinson does really well but there aren’t many voices like hers with clear opinion and provocation. Who else is out there and what are the pressing issues for today that would help make our output feel very contemporary? 


Eat Well for Less? and Shop Well for Less? are incredibly neat ways into issues that concern every household budget but they do it in an entertaining way and - inviting the likes of Gregg and Chris into your kitchen to rifle through your fridge immediately promises some fun. What other areas of the everyday could be examined in a consumer programme?

Travel and holiday

We’ve tried some forays back in to the holiday space, but not have quite yet worked. Given we’re so keen to escape domestic and international troubles, surely seeing some sea and sand should be appealing now? How do we approach that so if feels fresh and modern and not too traditional or meandering? This doesn’t have to be traditional on-the-nose travel, it could be simply expanding our horizons internationally in terms of where we set our next series ideas.


Transformation shows with an irresistible pull-through will be endlessly fascinating.  What classic territories are ripe for a refresh in this space? How do we make transformation feel less old-fashioned? 

BBC 2: 

We have a real need in early 2018 for series with warmth and purpose at 9pm. Immersive is key with bold premise, high jeopardy and unpredictability. These almost certainly will be experiential formats – seeing people thrown in at the deep end rather than being told about the how and why. In terms of territories:


We’re also really keen to develop 8pm series for early 2018. We’ve had success here with The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great Interior Design Challenge amongst others – what is the next iteration of features content with a factual entertainment shape around it? It doesn’t have to be competition (though we’ll be looking for some) but needs to be an engine to get through content – particularly what we do and the passions we have, blending specialism and fun in volume.

Finally, we’ve a really good opportunity to bring on new cooking talent. We’ve space on Monday nights, who are the new chefs who we could launch?

Watch Commissioner Overview

Watch Commissioner Showreel

Read Commissioner Brief