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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 Professional 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 Masterclasses. Recent guests include David Fincher (Fight Club), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Ben Wheatley (Free Fire), Rapman (Blue Story), Louis Theroux, Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), Denis Villeneuve (Bladerunner 2049), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Sam Mendes (1917), Asif Kapadia (Senna), Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir), and Russell T Davies (Doctor Who).

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

Recent credits and successes

“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.

“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.”

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 Golden Square. 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 (PDF)

Course Leader

The course is run by Simon Broadley, who has over 25 years Industry experience. Simon is also currently Development Producer at ITV Daytime.

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home/EU/EEA £6,000 (for January 2022 intake)

This course is only open to UK applicants and EU/EEA applicants must hold an EU settlement status.

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 an EEA or International citizen, you must already be in possession of EU settled/pre-settled status or another visa which allows you to study for the duration of the course. If you do not already hold a UK status, unfortunately we cannot accept your application as we are currently unable to support a visa on our Diploma courses.

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

How to apply

Application deadline: 08 Jul 2021

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

Applications are now open! We are happy to receive applications until midnight of the application deadline date.

Begin your application