From the Great British Bake Off to Gogglebox, Our Planet to Long Lost Family and beyond, factual television includes a vast arena of cutting edge, ambitious and distinctive programmes across documentary, magazine shows, arts and culture, history, politics, science, nature, travel and talk shows. From UK broadcasters to global streaming networks, factual content has never been more in demand and the genre needs more people to develop and make it! 

The Factual Development and Production Diploma at the NFTS aims to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to contribute to this incredibly popular field. 

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

Aaron Hopkins, an NFTS Factual Development graduate, moved over from Ireland at the start of 2019 having never worked in TV before: “I began the Factual Development Diploma with zero experience in television. A few months later and I'm now a Researcher on one of Discovery Inc's biggest shows, Salvage Hunters and have developed my contacts with a variety of experienced producers, top commissioners and independent CEO’s.”

Aaron Hopkins at Curve Media

The part-time, evening 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.

Senior Tutor Simon Broadley has more than 25 years broadcast television experience and has successfully developed factual series and specials for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky and Discovery Networks International. Students also learn first-hand from key industry figures, including commissioning editors and top producers.

Simon commented: “The NFTS Factual Development and Production Diploma features a stellar cast of contributors - commissioners from all the major channels and a host of other inspiring industry figures. It's great for networking, really strong on programme development and provides students with a panoramic view of the factual television industry. We've had some great people on this course in the six years it has been running and their broadcast credits are too numerous to mention. If you want to break into factual television, or develop your existing career within it, then this is the course for you.”

Justin Ballantyne, another recent NFTS Factual Development graduate, moved to the UK last year from Australia, where he had worked for 15 years with airline Qantas. Justin said, “I came to NFTS with no experience and a long-held dream to work in Television. The team are supportive, understanding and experienced and just want you to succeed. Through the course I made valuable connections with industry experts and completed work experience with ITV, which led to paid roles on live shows, studio productions and commercials. I now feel ready for the opportunities that will come my way.” Justin is now working on Cactus TV’s Saturday Kitchen and doing ad hoc work for ITV Daytime.

Justin Ballantyne on the set of This Morning

The Factual Development and Production Diploma embraces factual television from the initial concept to transmission and its modules and workshops that span across one year allows participants to learn by ‘doing’ as well as understanding theory and developing a variety of practical and creative skills.

This course is set to start soon but it’s not too late to apply! Send your CV and covering letter to to fast-track your application! Exclusive Discovery Networks Scholarships available.

For more information about the Factual Development and Production Diploma visit

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