BBC and Directors UK Announce New Partnership on Creative Rights

The BBC and Directors UK today announce the launch of the Creative Rights Partnership, a landmark deal agreed by the two organisations which provides detailed and comprehensive rights and responsibilities for directors working on BBC in-house productions.

As part of this new Partnership, the BBC and Directors UK will collaborate on a number of initiatives which will set out to support and enhance the career skills and talent development of directors throughout the UK. The Partnership will also mean regular high level interaction between the BBC and Directors UK on major strategic issues including Delivering Quality First, programme strategy, talent development, compliance and diversity in commissioning.

Directors UK Chair, Charles Sturridge (left), said: ”The BBC and Directors UK have redefined the creative relationship between directors and the BBC. Setting out a new and powerful partnership that recognises the central role of the director in every programme and every genre that the BBC produces.  This agreement ensures that directors in partnership with other creatives can continue to make remarkable, original and innovative television.”

BBC Director-General, Mark Thompson, said: “I’m delighted that the BBC and Directors UK have committed to this partnership which represents a sustainable and contemporary relationship between BBC production and the directing community. We recognise that directors are pivotal to delivering our output and place importance on growing this relationship in an engaging and meaningful way.”

Details of the new Partnership are outlined in two documents – one for drama and one for factual programmes – that establish the detailed roles and responsibilities for directors. These include:

  • Affirming the directors’ copyright in their programmes.
  • Setting out the requirement for advance disclosure and consultation on key creative elements and key production information – budgets, schedules, key personnel, scripts and casting (for fiction), contributors (for factual) – to ensure the director is sufficiently well-briefed to understand the commission and lead the team in delivering it.
  • Setting out the directors’ rights and responsibilities through all the stages of production and post-production, including the exclusive right to make an uninterrupted first cut.
  • Options for the director to create re-versions and re-edits.
  • Options for the director of pilots/first series to direct further series.
  • Rights to programme credits.

Directors UK CEO, Andrew Chowns, said: “We have been looking for a way of defining the role of the director more clearly for the modern era, and for a way of ensuring that the contribution of directors can be properly plugged into the BBC’s thinking on a range of strategic issues. This is a real breakthrough for us.”

Pat Younge, Chief Creative Officer, Vision Productions, said: “From Drama to Factual, directors are at the heart of our content. I am confident that this partnership provides real clarity to the role and responsibilities of the director for all involved in our production teams. I look forward to seeing in-house production working with Directors UK on key issues as we strengthen ties with this important section of the freelance community.”

You can download these documents below, or email for a copy. To read the press release in full, please click the ‘Download’ link below. 

If you're a member of Directors UK and would like to know more about the Partnership and what it means for you, please click here.

Attached files

Title Size
DUK- BBC Drama Creative Rights.pdf26.27 kbDownload
DUK - BBC Factual Creative Rights.pdf23.76 kbDownload
Directors UK BBC Creative Rights Partnership Press Release -29-03-2012.pdf0 kbDownload


For too long directors' creative rights have been eroded and diminished and for some time, directors have had serious concerns about the damaging knock on effect this has had on our working conditions and on the work itself. So I am delighted that Directors UK have taken a major step to reverse this situation by initiating a new partnership with the BBC which aims to give clarity and structure to all issues that affect our creative rights in both drama and factual fields. In the future this can only lead to better working relationships with the BBC and a better quality of creative output, allowing us to get on with what we do best. I'm sure I speak for us all in expressing sincere thanks to all involved in getting us to this crucial stage. Mandy Chang

“The Creative Rights Partnership is fantastic news for all directors - in fact for anyone who cares about film and television in Britain. This isn't just the small print on our contracts, its official recognition of the critical role of the director in all productions. The sooner the agreement is rolled out beyond the BBC to all other British producers, the better.”

"The Creative Rights partnership is great news for the industry as a whole. For directors to deliver the best work for our audiences we need to be given creative freedom and responsibility. For too long the creative role of the director has been eroded and this is something we at Directors UK were keen to see corrected. Drawing up the creative rights statements with the BBC is a huge step forward and I commend the BBC for recognising the central role directors play in delivering quality in all programmes. My career has been shaped by the support and creative scope I was given as a young television director. I'm delighted that Directors UK has found a way of working with the BBC to allow directors today the same creative rights. I hope the rest of the industry will follow their lead."

The Creative Rights Partnership is great news for all of us. For the first time it recognises our vital contribution in the creation of distinctive, successful productions and opening a new chapter in the relationship between Directors UK and the BBC.