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In partnership with the BBC, this unique 3 month course in Entertainment Format Development will give you the key skills to work in a development team at a broadcaster or independent production company.

Course Overview

Britain is universally acknowledged as a major force in the creation, development and production of some of the most successful Entertainment formats in Television. Britain has always been the first to broadcast new and inspirational formats (Strictly Come Dancing, Top Gear, Pointless) and to sell those formats to the world.

The NFTS is launching a new three-month, part-time course for people interested in generating ideas and working in Development. Devised by the NFTS, BBC Academy and Grand Scheme Media, this course will provide genuine insight into the development of entertainment formats for television.

Working with established television professionals you will learn the art of development, meet key contacts in the industry and gain practical experience pitching ideas to television commissioners.

Not only that, the course also offers a two week placement with the BBC in one of their Development departments and there is an opportunity for one student to secure a three month contract to work in BBC Entertainment Development at the end of the course.

The course involves lectures, activities and sessions with key creatives and commissioners in television. Students will be expected to generate ideas on a regular basis, participate in brainstorms and come up with written outlines to commissioning briefs.

The course will culminate in students devising, developing and pitching an original idea to a panel of commissioning editors. This could win you a commission.

The course will run for 12 weeks and students will be expected to attend full-time in Weeks 1 and 12. Weeks 2-11 will involve one evening and one day per week. The two week work placement will take place in June.

Course delivery will take place in London at a BBC building.

Key Elements of the Course

  • Knowing And Understanding The Market
  • The Commissioning System
  • The Basics Of Programme Development
  • How Ideas Turn Into Commissions
  • Writing Effective Pitches
  • Mastering Pitch Techniques
  • Avoiding Common Mistakes In Development
  • Introduction To Scheduling
  • Visiting Productions In Development
  • Practical Sessions With Independent Producers
  • Guidance On Contracts And Protecting Your Ideas
  • Working With Talent
  • Practical Pitching Sessions


The Market
You will gain understanding of the modern television market and its needs. What has changed in the last ten years and what will happen in the future? We will explore opportunities across all channels and beyond the domestic television screen – how ideas can filter through to online channels, interactivity and apps.

The Pitch
Having a good idea is not enough, can you sell it? Pitching is an art form, whether it be a written pitch, a video teaser or an office presentation. Students will learn the skills required to write and make effective pitches.

Students will study Entertainment formats and use this knowledge to create and pitch their own ideas. Students will be expected to have some knowledge of Entertainment formats in production past and present.

Whether working as an individual creative or as part of a development powerhouse, there are basic rules that can help you brainstorm and generate creative work that has value. We will explore the good and bad things that happen in Development and, in teams, undertake a series of idea brainstorm sessions.

The Business
This will cover legal issues, copyright protection, contract negotiations and international rights. We will provide students with an insight into what happens to ideas once they become a saleable commodity.


The key course tutors are provided by GRAND SCHEME MEDIA. Graham Smith and Mark Robson are highly experienced and versatile producers and commissioners of television programmes, having worked for all the major broadcasters in a wide variety of roles. Graham has been a commissioner for the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5, while Mark was an executive at ITV for ten years.

Both are experienced trainers, having run courses for the Indie Training Fund and worked as mentors, tutors and examiners for the NFTS Entertainment Television Department.

Entry Requirements

Applicants do not necessarily need to have a university Bachelors degree to apply for this course, but must be able to clearly demonstrate a real passion for television entertainment and be fully committed to a career in it. Selection will also largely be based on the quality and originality of the idea you submit and the critical analysis.

Apply With

  • An outline proposal for a television format
  • A critical analysis of a current Television Format on the BBC.

How to Apply

Please contact registry via email stating your name, course of interest and contact details: info@nfts.co.uk
  • Unique, fast-track route into the Industry
  • Working methods based on Industry practice
  • Situated in a professional environment at the BBC
  • Work Experience at the BBC