Modern TV


The managing directors of Modern TV were both born in Cardiff and are passionate about building a company based in Wales. Behind the decision to form the company was the desire to prove that programmes of excellent quality and substance could be produced outside the M25. This coincided with a shift in the industry towards television broadcasters increasingly seeking to commission programmes from outside London.

Our main challenges when starting the business

The main challenge was to establish Modern as a credible, reliable provider, since very little network programming at the time was commissioned from Wales. Both of Modern TV’s managing directors have a strong track record in producing network television programmes, excellent contacts within the industry and links with crews, facilities and onscreen talent, all of which provided a firm base on which to build the company. Other challenges included creating a research and development team capable of regularly generating strong ideas for network; securing access to top class presenting talent; initially finding a niche, such as literary biographies and ‘specials’ for anniversaries and memorials, and building from this quality non-fiction base to a landmark series within three years; targeting specific channels and broaden our network of contacts; and demonstrating to London-based commissioners the production and post-production talent existing in Wales, and to bring more of these Welsh-based people and companies to work on our network productions.

Success Factor

The three main factors are (a) the ability to pitch the right idea to the right slot with passion and conviction and back this up with excellent programme making skills; (b) the ability to establish good working relationships with top class presenting talent such as Griff Rhys Jones, Terry Jones, Joanna Lumley and Jeremy Paxman; and (c) perseverance by constant knocking on commissioner’s doors with good ideas to sell.

The Future

Modern TV aims to superserve its core suppliers – BBC and ITV1 Factual and Factual Entertainment, build on its series success and follow up its recent landmark documentary series ‘Rivers’ with a second series presented by Griff Rhys Jones, as well as other primetime series’ with different presenters. It wants to secure a regular long-running series which will allow the company to grow and make more ambitious international documentaries, specifically targeted at key international markets. Modern TV aims to maximise revenue from auxiliary markets such as international sales, DVD and books and to start supplying programmes for other broadcasters such as Discovery and National Geographic.