Night in BAFTA (Piccadilly)

Monday 23rd April 2012: I love attending television seminars/events, they are a cheap and fantastic way to learn about the world of TV as well as network with those already lucky enough to be in it.  I’ve been to a few already and thought it would make a credible entry into my blog, as these events would be great for anyone with an interest in TV, whether you work in it or not.

Last night I attended the BAFTA event Pitch Up! BAFTA HQ is based just off Piccadilly Circus, so it’s handy for all to travel to.  Inside is a lovely bar and restaurant and various rooms for their events.  You can become a member but you have to be invited first by another member…

Around 150 people attended the Pitch Up! event, of which there were ten who were selected out of over 200 submissions (at £6 a submission), to pitch their idea to a panel of experts. 

The experts were; Juliette Howell, Head of Television (UK) Working Title Television, Huw Kennair Jones from Sky, Gregor Sharp, BBC and Ben Cavey, Head of Entertainment Tiger Aspect.

It felt very Dragon’s Den-esque and just as tense, each pitcher had 3 minutes to get their idea across before a very loud klaxon went off, then it was over to the panel. 

Depending on the genre of the pitch would generally depend on which expert advice they received.

  • Juliette and Huw = Drama
  • Gregor and Ben = Comedy

There was a good mix of pitches and one or two with seemingly no clue, one pitch in particular, second in, were particularly entertaining, for all the wrong reasons.  It was a double-act pitch based on a political comedy, along similar lines to Spitting Image.  The panel shot it down, all with practical advice, however the pitchers were having none of it and in the end it felt like Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman…awkward!

The panel did give good insight into what they want to see, which to most might seem near on impossible!

Wish List:

  • a totally original idea, non-comparable with anything that has been or is about to be on TV elsewhere, ever!
  • funds, funds, funds!  (co-produced, ad-funded…)

Basically, for anyone who doesn’t have an agent and dreams of submitting a winner to someone in the indudustry, AKA – “Hotmailers”, then your chances are slimmer than ever!  Nevertheless, some of their tips are:

  • get an agent.
  • dont show anyone your ideas i.e. dont put onto YouTube etc.
  • have a complete decision on all areas around your idea (channel, genre, cast, duration, demographic etc), it may be wrong but at least you’ve thought about it.
  • be passionate about your idea; it’s not a story, business presentation or death row speech.  Have fun with it but not too much!
  • keep it simple, your first two lines should hook people straight away.

BAFTA run events similar to these every week, so get involved!  They even had legend Sir Tom Jones as a speaker recently!

For £6.50, it was definitely worth it and included a free wine/beer reception afterwards (bonus!).


About Hayles

Living in and loving London, I like to cram in as much as possible. I have a lot of different hobbies which I start on a whim and most of the time abandon for something else! My current interests include film, TV, music, comedy, art, photography, theatre and finding new yummy food establishments. Mostly I just love to experience the many joys and wonders that London offers. I started this blog to help me remember what I've actually done at the end of each year, but now I actually really enjoy writing and sharing what I hope is funny and/or useful information.
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2 Responses to Night in BAFTA (Piccadilly)

  1. SARAH G says:

    Love it Hayls! Any Bafta members out there…

  2. Hayles says:

    Thanks Sarah! I think if we hang out at the bar more, we can go member-fishing!

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