Robert Thirkell Storytelling Masterclass - £750.00

Robert Thirkell is TV’s ‘Troubleshooter’; the person the broadcasters and indies turn to to create - or rescue - their key series, ranging from Jamie's School Dinners to The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, and Blood on the Carpet to the Heston Blumenthal series Big Chef Takes On Little Chef.

This revelatory two-day workshop provides a unique opportunity to learn how to structure your stories and series so they have drive and drama, create successful formats and fix problematic productions. 

Although Robert often delivers his hugely popular CONFLICT talk to students and film festivals around the world, this is his only in-depth course, allowing filmmakers to explore fully the ideas and techniques he uses in a small, intimate classroom setting. 

Duration:         2 days
Cost:                £625 plus Vat

Register your interest by emailing


Who it's for?

Anyone interested in developing their storytelling skills - from researchers and APs, through to series producers, execs and commissioners. The course is primarily focused on factual programming but is also relevant to other genres. 


Participants will come away with a toolkit for structuring their films, and getting themselves out of trouble when things go awry in the edit. You will have a much better understanding of how and why films work - or don't - how to plan the pre-production to minimise the risks of things going wrong; how to cast characters and manage contributors; and how to hone your crucial pre-titles so they give the story a drive and purpose, and engage your audience.

Course Content

  • Storytelling Toolkit – the 8 key elements to successful storytelling (Character; Out of the box and before Filming;  Narrative drive; Front; Loving your character, Interview technique; Care; Timeline, Title and Truth)
  • Getting off on the right foot - choosing the right stories, and making them different
  • Importance of cross-fertilising genres
  • Casting and Presenters – thinking laterally;’ when and why unorthodox presenters can work – and how to handle them; which contributors to avoid
  • Honing your script and how to lay them out
  • The importance of research – and how to do it effectively
  • The importance of Pre-titles – common mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Commentary – enhancing the sync
  • Storytelling Tookit part 2 – 9 advanced tools for story planning and edits

Venue & Times

Location:           DV Talent
                            6 Waterson Street
                            E2 8HL

Time:                 10am - 5:30pm  (Please arrive 15 minutes early on the first day for the course induction.)


Robert Thirkell is the arguably the world's leading story consultant for television and factual features. His credits include multiple Baftas-winning series (Troubleshooter, Back to the Floor, Blood on the Carpet, Jamie's School Dinners) as well as acclaimed one-offs including The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off which won the International Emmy for best documentary. He was named the UK's number one TV producer by Broadcast magazine. 


Do I need to bring anything to the course?
It’s advisable to bring a pen and some notepaper. Otherwise, all you need is a receptive mind and your energy and enthusiasm.

Is lunch provided?
We keep you replenished with teas, coffee, biscuits and fruit. We don’t provide lunch – although there are a number of sandwich shops, cafes, restaurants close by, as well as a supermarket.

What if I have to cancel?
If you cancel more than 10 working days before the course date, you will get a full refund. If you cancel with less notice, or once the course has been confirmed the full course fees are still due. We will however endeavour to get you onto to a future course as and when we have a spare space. Although this cannot be guaranteed and will usually involve you being offered the place at short notice, we have a great track record of making sure people get their training – even it takes a bit of time.

What others say about this course

'Everyone stepping into the edit should have access to this'

- Tara Jang, producer

"Superb. All Senior factual execs and commissioners should go on it"

-Rod Williams, Series Producer

"Learnt about structure, key elements to always keep in mind, Tips to bring out the story"

-Rebecca Hodgson, Producer/Director

"Great. Very full and thorough.Good group of people in the class. Learnt how to look critically at a programme and script"

-Kasia Uscinska, Producer/Director

"Fascinating, charismatic and stimulating tutor who made the course come alive by using his own experiences to illustrate his points"

-Ali Lynch, Producer/Director



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