Understanding Formats with Patrick Uden


This course is eligible for bursary funding.

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Successful formats are the holy grail of factual TV production - returning series that can produce huge financial returns and can be sold around the world. But what makes a format, and how are they developed? This interactive one-day workshop will analyse the key elements of TV formats, and provide a set of guidelines for creating one - including the overarching structure and resolution, developing effective tasks and challenges, understanding casting and characterisation within a format and more. With extensive use of case studies of both successful and unsuccessful formats - including The Apprentice, The Island, Don't Tell the Bride, The Taste and more -  delegates will be taken step by step through the creative process, and challenges, for developing and producing a format. The course is taught by Patrick Uden, one of the most influential and sought-after executive producers in television today, whose credits include The Apprentice, The Restaurant, and Junior Doctors: Your life in their hands. As part of the course, delegates will workshop an idea into a format for production.
Development Producers, Directors, Producers, APs and anyone interested in creating a TV format. The course is primarily focused on factual programming but is relevant to other genres. 
No requirements needed for this course. Just a keen interest in development is beneficial.

This course takes the form of a masterclass and workshop. 

  • Why formats work? Analysis and insight into current UK TV formats. 
  • The role of formats - Look at the economic and logistical rationale for creating formats 
  • Mechanics of a Format - the building blocks of a format including structure, timing 
  • Casting and Characters - understanding the role contributors play 
  • Tasks and Challenges - how to develop tasks that work 
  • Format Points and Format Bibles 
  • A detailed ‘case study’ of the UK version of The Apprentice
Patrick Uden is one of the most influential execs working in UK television. Having made his name as a director and documentary marker at the BBC, where his credits included Tomorrow's World, Horizon and QED, Patrick set up his own pioneering production company Uden Associates, before becoming the creative force behind Channel 4's Bafta-winning FourDocs. More recently, he has worked as a consultant executive producer on some of television's most successful series including The Apprentice, The Restaurant, and Junior Doctors: Your Life in their Hands. 

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.

Approximately 10 people.


10:00-17:30 (Please arrive at 09:15 for course induction.)


Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be in writing and must be received at least 10 working days prior to the course date or the full fee will be charged. DV Talent reserves the right to cancel courses at any time (e.g. if there are insufficient enrolments) without liability, and delegates will be offered an alternative date or full refund. In booking a course, you are acknowledging you have read and accepted our Terms and Conditions.