Factual programmes are at the heart of the UK television schedules, whether it’s The Great British Bake-Off, GP's Behind Closed Doors or Gogglebox.

I’ve gone from working in a pub to working for one of the largest, most prestigious broadcasters on the planet, doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do.” Graduate George Richardson

If you want to learn from key industry figures – including commissioning editors and top producers – how mainstream factual programmes are developed, commissioned and produced today, then this year-long, part-time diploma is for you.

This part-time, evening course aims to give students the know-how and confidence to develop ideas for factual series and pitch them to commissioners.

The course is delivered in partnership with Discovery Networks International and ends with students given the opportunity to pitch an idea to their senior executives. One student pitched show will be ‘optioned’ securing £5,000 for further development with the support of a Discovery executive producer.

All NFTS students can attend the School’s masterclasses programme, with recent guests including Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Killing Eve), Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna, Diego Maradona),  Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here, We Need to Talk About Kevin), Louis Theroux, and M Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Glass).

Successful applicants will be invited to apply for the  Discovery Networks International scholarship.

What you will study

Producers have overall responsibility for making programmes happen. They begin work in the development stage and work right through until the programme or series is delivered to the channel and transmitted. Therefore this unique course is structured around three key areas - developing shows and understanding the factual programming market; producing a show; and delivering a show and managing the show post transmission.

The course is part-time (one evening a week and occasional Saturdays) over twelve months and is delivered at Discovery’s UK headquarters in Chiswick, London. Participants will leave the course with a portfolio of material developed during the course, including ideas for factual shows, production bibles and treatments.

The course is made up of a number of modules and workshops, participants learn by ‘doing’ as well as understanding theory and developing a variety of practical and creative skills. Each of the modules will focus on the UK in the first instance and then compare and contrast approaches with the US market.


Download course outline

Current or recent tutors

Simon Broadley

Simon Broadley

Course Leader, Factual Development

With 25 years industry experience, Simon is a Development Executive at IMG Productions

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home/EU/EEA £6,000

This course is only open to UK and EU/EEA applicants.

A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place.

Students are expected to provide their own laptops.


Entry requirements

Applicants will typically have some experience, if only at a junior level, in television and have the commitment to progress to a more senior role.

Applicants do not necessarily have to have a university Bachelors degree to apply for the course, but must be able to: demonstrate a knowledge of television; provide details of past achievements; demonstrate a clear focus for their future ambitions; and, crucially, show a passion for factual programming.

If you are not an EEA National, you must already be in possession of a UK visa valid for the duration of this course.  We are unable to accept your application if you do not.

If you have any questions, please email info@nfts.co.uk.

How to apply

Application deadline: 20 Oct 2019


Applicants must complete the online application form and submit the following supporting materials:

  • An idea for a factual series on Discovery Channel UK no more than 750 words max
  • Tell us about a stand out Factual TV programme you’ve watched in the last month. Explain why you think it was a success. 500 words max

You can apply online by clicking on BEGIN YOUR APPLICATION below, or you can download our application form and submit it to registry@nfts.co.uk.

We are happy to receive applications at any time up until the midnight of the application deadline date.

Begin your application