This year’s Televisual Factual Festival will explore the power that factual TV makers and broadcasters have in their hands.

After a year that has witnessed major political change, the rise of fake news and a surge of interest in current affairs from a shocked public, we will host a discussion at the heart of the Festival about how far documentaries can or should change the world.

Silverback’s Alastair Fothergill will talk about his upcoming Netflix series with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which will campaign to save the planet. He will be joined by Channel 4 head of News and Current Affairs Dorothy Byrne, and Will Anderson, creative director of Keo Films, the indie behind Exodus: Our Journey to Europe and a major new BBC series on obesity. The session, chaired by journalist and broadcaster Grace Dent, will also hear from young director Rachel Lob Levyt.

This year’s Festival takes place on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th November at BAFTA in Central London.

Among the many highlights, the BBC’s controller of Factual Commissioning Alison Kirkham will discuss the future of factual at the broadcaster with Julian Bellamy, md of ITV Studios.

The top TV commissioners in Specialist Factual, Documentary and Factual Entertainment will be there to give up to the minute insight into their slates and the plans for their channels; and the heads of Daytime at Channel 4 and the BBC will talk about the great ideas that have worked on their schedules and the ingredients of long-running, volume shows.

World-renowned producer John Battsek will talk about Creating Compelling Stories in documentary, using dramatic technique. He will be on stage with Hannah Wyatt, soon to be genre director of Factual Entertainment and Events at BBC Studios and 24 Hours in Custody mastermind Simon Ford, in a session chaired by Kudos chief executive Diederick Santer.

Plus there are sessions on Development, VR, AR and AI, and how to adapt to a new generation of TV watching.

Creative Europe will present its funding opportunities and you can find out from the experts, How To Grow Your Business Overseas.

There will also be the opportunity to book one-to-one meetings with commissioners. Broadcasters already confirmed to be part of the Festival include the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Discovery, A+E and National Geographic.

The Festival website is being updated with new speakers every day. To find out more and to book tickets, go to

Pippa Considine

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