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Developing Factual Ideas

A Field Guide to: Drama Documentary

Drama doc is a fully dramatized telling of a factual story.


There has been a recent fashion for documentary producers (rather than drama producers) to produce drama documentaries, and they’ve drawn criticism for low production values and poor storytelling. However, these programmes are made on a much smaller budget than a comparable narrative drama budget.


The story is based on factual events, but there may be some dramatic license taken to make the narrative more interesting or to condense the story.


Drama docs can be problematic, as viewers are left unsure whether they are watching a factual story or a drama. Documentary fans find a lack of concrete facts deeply unsatisfying to watch, and drama lovers get bogged down in the factual exposition instead of being swept along by the story.


Explore more factual TV formats:







Constructed documentary

Presenter-Led Documentary Series

Character-Driven Documentary


Point of View Documentary  

Immersive Documentary

Observational Documentary Series

Factual Entertainment




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