We are delighted to announce the BBC Three Docs Sheffield Pitch, which we’re hosting in partnership with the BBC. 

BBC Three is passionate about:

  • identifying and championing emerging filmmaking talent in the North 
  • bringing new voices to the channel 
  • bringing compelling content and stories rooted in the North to a BBC audience. 

BBC Three is also in the unique position that it can commission and broadcast documentaries of different shapes and durations and they welcome ideas for both short (up to 30 mins) and long form (up to 60 mins) films.

As well as targeting directors, BBC Three are opening up this year’s pitch to include new talent who are keen to break into the industry. The successful pitch, chosen on the idea which is the best fit for the channel, will be housed by a production company and will work on the film at a level which enhances their experience of documentary making for television.  


The successful winner will receive the following:
• You get to make the story you pitched for BBC Three. Final documentary length will be determined by the panel depending on suitability of winner’s story and their production expertise.
• Support from a northern-based independent production company who will provide production support to complement the winner’s experience. For those who are not ready to produce and direct the commissioned film themselves, the BBC will ensure that a team is built around them to help them produce the film to the standards required for broadcast.

Criteria for the idea: 

This is an open call to submit new film ideas for consideration by BBC Three commissioners. Once applications have been reviewed, we will invite five applicants to pitch to a panel of commissioners and industry representatives in front of a live audience during Sheffield Doc/Fest. A BBC commissioner will give all shortlisted one-to-one advice on their pitch beforehand. The BBC will announce the winning pitch on the day.


At the Sheffield Doc/Fest BBC Three Pitch, Five shortlisted pitch applicants will be asked to present their idea in front to an audience and a panel of BBC commissioners. Their presentation should include details of what the potential story beats would be and why it would appeal to the 16-24 BBC Three viewers.  

Together the panel will decide – in front of the Sheffield audience – who has the most promising idea with a subject and approach that will really work for the BBC Three audience and award the prize at the end of the session. The decision will be made on the idea that best suits the BBC Three audience. 

The pitch winner will be offered the opportunity to make the idea into a film for BBC three with production support from an independent production company based in the north of England.


Applicants will need to submit an up-to-date CV and a one-page summary of their project. The candidate must demonstrate why their project belongs on BBC Three and how it will appeal to a BBC Three audience. Subjects that the BBC Three audience engage with are usually ones that directly affect their lives.

Successful pitches will:

  • Have a clear story at it its heart – whether it’s following unfolding story, or a re-telling a compelling story from the past. 
  • Prove that this story has the potential to appeal to BBC three 16-24 audience – how is it relevant to their lives? 
  • Identify specific contributors who will help bring that story to life for the BBC three audience and be clear on the level of access already gained to those contributors
  • The story should be connected to the North 
  • Have a clear idea of the duration and the shape of the film – ideas can be pitched for short form (up to 30 mins) and long form (up to 60 mins)

Applicants for the BBC three Sheffield pitch must be available to attend the pitch event on Saturday 14 November as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest Fall weekenders (online or physical event, TBC). If you cannot make this commitment, you are not eligible to enter the pitch competition. All five finalists will be offered a Festival Day Pass, which will give access to all Doc/Fest films, events and sessions on the day. 

  • Those currently living in the following counties: Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Cumbria, County Durham, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and Leicestershire. 

Submit an up-to-date CV and a one-page summary of your project to the Sheffield Doc/Fest Marketplace team at marketplace@sheffdocfest.com by 6pm BST on Wednesday 30 September.

Before applying, please make sure to read our Terms and Conditions carefully. For any queries regarding The BBC Three Sheffield Docs Pitch, please contact our Marketplace and Talent Programme Producer, Manon at manon.euler@sheffdocfest.com.