Once you've worked out your TV programme's top line and who's in it, you're on to the next stage of fleshing out the show's format.

Fictional or documentary, every episode tells a story – broken up into big building blocks – in the form of tasks, incidents, discoveries, etc.

At this early stage, these big blocks (or format points) should create the same structure for each episode, giving the audience a sense of familiarity. You'll create fresh interest with the details of each format point.

Things to notice in the example below:

  • Like a play, each episode is divided into 'acts'.
  • In every episode, the acts ask the same questions in the same order.
  • Once you're happy with the format, you can begin planning details – to the point of imagining the camera shots in each scene.

Cover image courtesy of BBC Academy.

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