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Factual Entertainment

What we are?

The Factual Entertainment team commissions for ITV primetime and for ITV’s digital channels. They look for premium, aspirational, optimistic, entertaining, dramatic, bold, exciting, big-hearted programming with broad appeal.

We're currently in full-on development mode so we can hit the ground-running when we come out of Lockdown. We don't need any more fast-turnaround Lockdown shows.  The opportunity and priority now is for 21.00 ideas that we can make as and when we're able to produce programmes again - these slots are funded and we will fund development for the right idea.

There is less of a need for Pre-Watershed programmes currently. There are some opportunities here for funded-shows but even for those slots it's probably more constructive to think about 9pm shows, as ideas with ambition and scale are more likely to hit the mark.  If we like the idea but think it's better suited for 8pm or 8.30pm (hours or 1/2 hours) we will work with Producers to achieve this.

9pm:  We are on the hunt for new high-volume Returnable DOC SERIES and DOC FORMATS  for 21.00 

-  ACCESS Documentary Series in iconic Institutions, Brands, Organisations and People.  Definitive access: From Palaces (Our Queen at 90; Diana Our Mother) to Prisons:HMP Belmarsh & to the ultimate in places we all want to get into, such as the Ritz.  Not generic piece of access; each one has a distinctive USP, a clear why now  and often a superlative: the biggest; the most luxurious; the busiest eg The Savoy eg Heathrow.  Smart Titles which sell the USP really help. 

-  ACCESS Docs with a new twist, a new format, something new to say or even just a new attitude/a new approach to a familiar subject. Coming out of lockdown presents an interesting opportunity to look anew at the world and re-imagine the familiar worlds of classic docs.  What is the new generation of doc series and formats such as 24 Hours in A&E, Undercover Boss,  Back to The Floor; what has the emotion and drama of Long Lost Family?

Talent-Led docs and Authored pieces.  Names we're proud to have on the channel from Joanna, Trevor, Billy to Paul OG and Martin Clunes - big names matched to big ideas

Landmark Docs Definitive pieces such as 63 up; The Day Diana Died; The Queen and David Attenborough's Our Green Planet.

- CRIME pays on ITV Less interested in Blues and Twos as so much already on other channels. Very interested in iconic crime stories and in exciting fresh ways of telling compelling stories.  As well as singles, we’d like to find the next big 21.00 Crime Format .

Many of Netflix's biggest docs to date have involved dark crime stories such as Making A Murderer. What's the incredible story (eg. TigerKingDont F@ck with Cats) that could work on ITV1 ax a number of episodes?  ITV True Crime Drama is 1st in class - what could we do in Factual that could compare? 

TRAVEL: Many of our Doc Series to date involve Travel. Obviously this is problematic at the moment, so think about other shows that can deliver that same sense of aspirational adventure, entering into new worlds; 9pm ideas that can land the sunny - the sunny funny even better - how else can you deliver this without having to go 1/2 way around the world. The best of our current shows (involving travel) include challenges, joy, friendships, revelations, triumph + laughter, all as the story unfolds.  Think how else you might bottle that? 

9pm: We want Returnable FACT ENT FORMATS, EVENTS and STRIPS with broad appeal for 21.00 ITV1 is an optimistic, uplifting often escapist, sometimes highly emotional channel.  We like big ideas, big characters and strong narratives (that can sit in formats) we welcome grit in the story-telling oyster but our shows are never (intentionally) miserable or depressing - we favour warmth, humour and redemption.  Harry's Heroes is about physical and mental health, The Real Full Monty is designed to raise awareness about male and female cancers, but the purpose is lightly-worn and housed in ambitious, entertaining propositions. Nostalgia feels good at the moment, but we don’t want old-fashioned clip shows - instead think about how to embed nostalgia and archive into stories and bigger formats.   Broad appeal is key and we like to innovate in the mainstream.  Personality +Pressure +Purpose is the holy trinity for us.  Wit and a keen sense of mischief always helps - and definitely helps to get ideas to commission.  Before you think about the format, always think what the Story is first. 

What could offer ITV1 the Scale, the Definitiveness + the sheer va va voom of Love IslandIt's brilliantly produced and you don't get more nakedly noisy + addictive than this...  Think beyond dating.

Returning Series: What's the next big distinctive Returning Series that can land in Primetime and sit alongside Gordon, Gino and Fred?  What can deliver the great shared-viewing pleasure of Bradley and BarneyGoggleBox or for an older audience, The Repair Shop?

We want the new Competitive Fact Ent Format for 9pm - to Tx either as aStrip or as a Returning Series We are already making a big,new competitive sports show, what else can land scale and entertainment values and challenge the contributors  in ways that delivers story, challenges, relationships and reveals participants' real character? 

Features: Relatable content in doc formats please: POG4LODogs has the best talent on a show that combines purpose, playfulness, powerful stories and personality (canine + human); Gordon, Gino and Fred is a food travel show at heart.  What other subjects are ripe for re-invention?

Talent On-air Talent is hugely important for ITV1, especially big personalities and established talent. We're always looking for new talent for ITV1 Factual and Fact Ent. It may be household names from other channels or biggish names that are new to Factual; it's often entertaining and revealing to see talent through a different prism. They could be big personalities new to television, but with a profile in the real world: Business people, Opinion formers, Sports people, Entertainers etc etc.  At 9pm our way of launching brand new talent is in ensemble pieces or alongside established talent - it's a great way to grow people and works really well for us.

We want and need more diverse talent and more women please.  We particularly like and admire people who don’t take themselves too seriously - even if their work is in a serious field.

Securing and attaching the right talent to an idea can be a shortcut to a commission, but it's not essential in the first instance and the whole team enjoy discussing potential talent and talent combinations with producers. 

How to Pitch to us In the first instance please email your ideas to us either via a Commissioning Editor you know or like the look of (they are all on the ITV Commissioning website) or via the departmental email address address factual.commissioning@itv.com

We need a killer title and 1- 2 paragraphs about the idea. That's generally enough for us to ascertain if it might be of interest for ITV. It can be a good idea to write the press/EPG billing for your show. With all the noise and choice out there for viewers, we need ideas that can grab viewers’ attention and draw them in to watch, so if you can draw us in with your title and synopsis, that's a good start. 

If you can stretch to it, it's often a good idea to imagine what the programme would look on an ITV poster. A cobbled together photoshop will do (it really doesn’t need to look gorgeous) but it can just be a shorthand for us to understand the tone and attitude you're striving to achieve. If the title, idea, talent or poster makes us laugh, you're probably pushing at an open door. 

Sizzles are useful but not essential.  If we like an idea on paper we often fund Sizzles as part of the development. 

Don’t want / Best to avoid:

  • Straight Blues and Twos, as ubiquitous elsewhere

  • Old fashioned Features formats - a/a  Doc formats more welcome both for pre + post watershed. We like our Take-Out embedded in a story 

  • Singing competitions as ITV already so well-served

  • Derivatives of our current output 

  • Heavily constructed formats. Formats need a light touch + ideally anauthentic starting point and / or talent

  • Anything that feels too much like a Game Show.

  • Anything too dark/miserable.  We like a bit of grit but usually in a bigger human story

  • No to niche or trashy 

Best to include:

  • Exciting, surprising, unexpected talent or clever combinations of talent 

  • Exclusive access

  • A factual sense of purpose or personal motivation at the heart of the idea/ the starting point.

  • Ideas should feel aspirational, entertaining, possibly emotional and relatable

  • Sunny, funny, ITV warmth

  • Clever + witty title, which sells the tone of the show

Factual Entertainment programmes

The Queen's Green Planet
The Real Full Monty: Ladies Night
Long Lost Family
Paul O'Grady's For The Love of Dogs
Love Island

Key People

Sue Murphy - Head of Factual Entertainment
Jo Clinton-Davis - Controller of Factual
Kate Teckman - Commissioner, Factual
Priya Singh - Commissioning Editor, Factual
Satmohan Panesar - Commissioner, Factual
Amanda Stavri - Commissioning Editor
Nicola Lloyd - Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment

Commissioning areas

  • Entertainment & Daytime

  • Daytime

  • Drama & Comedy

  • Sport

  • Current Affairs

  • Digital Channels

  • Online

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