ITV director of factual Richard Klein outlines the kinds of shows he is looking for in this interview filmed at Televisual’s Factual Festival late last year.
Klein, the former head of BBC4, also discusses the latest trends in factual programme making in the interview.
Klein stresses that ITV is “a big entertainment and drama channel”, which wants to see many of the values of its drama and entertainment output in its factual programming.
“Everything has to be about entertainment, about delivering [viewers] something they really want to watch.”
He also talks about the challenges facing factual programming as it seeks to attract audiences in an increasingly crowded landscape.
“There is a lot of factual out there at the moment, and cutting through means we need to be big, popular and familiar. Don’t be afraid of coming to us with ideas that feel familiar – just do them well.”
This might mean reappraising subjects through the eyes of a well known talent, as in The Mafia with Trevor McDonald.
“In some ways the mafia as a subject matter is well known. But Trevor felt right for the project, and it was beautifully made.”
He also says that some of the shows working best for ITV are big, familiar brands such as Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, Long Lost Family, Love Your Garden and Caught on Camera. They are, he says, shows that viewers are familiar with: “They signal straight away strong emotion, sentiment if you like. You know you are going to have a good time.”
He also said ‘good old fashioned ob docs’ like Rookies, Britain’s Busiest Airport – Heathrow, Superhospital and The Nick’ had worked well for ITV recently.
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