Head of Development

Channel 5
London (Central), London (Greater)
04 Oct 2017
18 Oct 2017
Job Type

Job Title: Head of Development (Maternity Cover)                  

Department: Elephant House Studios          

Reporting To: Director of Factual                  

Location: Hawley Cres, London, NW1 8TT            

Elephant House Studios (EHS) is the rebranded in-house production arm of Viacom-owned Channel 5, and is led by Vice President Joe McLusky and Director of Factual Jeff Anderson. Launched in 2011 as 5productions it has produced more than 300 programmes across all genres for Channel 5, 5star, MTV, Spike and Comedy Central. Productions include: Cruising With Jane McDonald, Britain By Bike, Make or Break?, World’s Greatest Bridges, The Railways That Built Britain, Inside Kensington Palace, Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty, Caught On Camera and Tattoo Disasters.

Channel 5 launched as Britain's fifth public service broadcaster in March 1997 and reaches 4 in 5 of the UK viewing public each month with a broad mix of popular content, including quality factual programmes, entertainment, reality, sport, 5 News, acquired and original drama and pre-school children’s programming through its award winning Milkshake strand. Sister channels 5* and 5USA compliment Channel 5 with a mix of must see entertainment and US drama, while My5 is a free video on demand service with the latest programmes from Channel 5, 5USA, 5* and milkshake! My5 is available on Channel5.com, set top boxes, Smart TVs, games consoles and mobile devices.


  • Managing the EHS development team, including identifying and responding to changing hiring needs and recruiting key development staff accordingly
  • Responsible for the EHS development slate – including overseeing the selection/shortlisting, development and writing up of all ideas by the development team
  • Pitching EHS ideas, alongside the Director of Factual and senior management, to Channel 5, MTV, Comedy Central and other Viacom channel brands
  • Generating and pitching EHS ideas to key non Viacom broadcasters including ITV and the BBC
  • Liaising with other key departments including Viacom’s distributor (IPS), Commercial Partnerships, Press & Publicity
  • Working with Commissioning Editors to further develop shortlisted and commissioned ideas through development and pre-production
  • Overseeing production of taster tapes, run-throughs and pilots
  • Negotiating with key talent and agents
  • Securing key access
  • Contributing to the editorial direction of EHS through the types of ideas developed and pitched
  • Bringing commissions and new business into the department


  • Previous Head of Development experience in factual/factual entertainment
  • Experience running/managing a small development team, and managing a slate of ideas
  • Strong editorial vision, and a good knowledge of the output of Channel 5 and other channels
  • A proven track record of devising commissioned ideas
  • Experienced at pitching to commissioners at Channel 5, and industry wide
  • Generator of new ideas – especially series and formats – and killer titles
  • Comprehensive understanding of the broadcast marketplace
  • Network of on-screen and production talent contact
  • Able to spot opportunities and trends
  • Able to manage a varied workload and prioritise
  • Copy-writing/editing/proof-reading skills
  • Organised, efficient

This job description is a guide to the work you will be initially required to undertake. It may be changed from time to time to meet changing circumstances. It does not form part of your contract of employment and as your experience grows you will be expected to broaden your tasks, suggest improvements, solve problems and enhance the effectiveness of the role. This spec summaries the main aspects of the job but does not cover all the duties that the job holder may have to perform.


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