Come format with me – event report

A potential TV format called “Going Spare” took top prize at the latest RTS Futures event, winning its young developers a day’s creative workshop at the BBC Academy training centre. The show, which offered contestants the opportunity to win a year’s free accommodation in the spare room of a house, was developed by a team of RTS Futures members.

The 10 teams competing at the “Come format with me” event were advised by Nell Butler, ITV Studios executive producer and the creator of long-running Channel 4 format, Come Dine With Me, and BBC Academy development executive Linda Green. Facilitators from the BBC Academy and mentors working in programme development for channels and indies helped them develop their ideas, which they pitched at the end of the evening. The RTS members then voted for the best format.
Discussing the pitches, Butler said: “That was a really great collection of ideas – congratulations.”
Butler also offered advice on how to create a successful format. “There’s nothing clever about them. They are subjects that exist in the world around us – you just need to twist them into a format,” she said. “To be a format creator, you have to be curious about the world around you and talk to people the whole time.”
“There is, sadly, no secret formula that guarantees success – there is a huge amount of luck involved, but there are things that help,” she added. Among the factors she identified behind a successful format are recognisability, longevity, cheapness, narrative drive and repeatability.
The RTS Futures event, “Come format with me”, was held in central London on 29 January. The producers were Anna Fern and Sasha Breslau.
Report by Matthew Bell
Pictures by Paul Hampartsoumian