Director pay rates - the challenge

Freelance directors should be paid fairly, appropriately and proportionately, both by way of salary and rights payments.

Proper investment in the creative people who make great programmes is essential for our TV and film industries to thrive. For many directors, pay rates have effectively been frozen despite producers and broadcasters making healthy profits, the expansion of subscription services and the growth of new content platforms attracting increasing numbers of subscribers.

Directors, as the creative leads, are responsible for navigating productions through increasingly pressured schedules and tightening budgets, while embracing new working practices and technologies and acquiring new skills. But while the expectations placed on the director have significantly increased, the pay for this complex, specialist work has not. Responsibility and seniority on set is no longer recognised through production pay structures and working conditions, with directors no longer guaranteed to be the highest paid person on the crew.

Although we are not a trade union, Directors UK does negotiate pay deals with production companies on behalf of our members. On this page you can find details of our work and the terms and pay rates we have negotiated.

If you would like Directors UK to help with pay levels in your area of work, please let us know at [email protected]

Pay deals

BBC pay deal

In June 2017 Directors UK and the BBC reached an agreement on a new pay deal for directors working on their five continuing drama series: Casualty, Holby City, EastEnders, Father Brown and Doctors. The deal has been renewed in April 2019 with a 2% increase in rates.

The BBC has agreed that pay progression within the maximum and minimum pay ranges will be determined through a more formal creative conversation between the director and the executive producer or series producer. The outcome of these conversations will be relayed to the talent team who will consider it and will use it as the basis of negotiation for the next booking.

Members: find out more about the deal and the exact rates of pay and reimbursement.

ITV pay deal

In October 2015, Directors UK agreed a new pay deal with ITV Studios to cover freelance directors working on Coronation Street and Emmerdale. This deal has been renewed in June 2022 with a 3% increase in rates.

Members: find out more about the deal and the exact rates of pay and reimbursement.

Hollyoaks Pay Deal

In August 2018 Directors UK and Lime Pictures agreed terms for directors working on Hollyoaks.

Members: find out more about the deal and the exact rates of pay and reimbursement.

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Have Your Say

Andy de Emmony

If I understood the results of the pay survey correctly. At best the average salary is £2000 per week. On average we worked 23 weeks a year, which gives our British guild/collective an average salary of £46,000 per year. Middle management. I'd love to know how this compares to similar American guild member (96% tier 1) average salary. Our work plays in similar markets all over the world why is there a disparity? In this tax break era we are in a golden age of television, but we have had no increases for 7 years but arguably work harder dealing with bigger production budgets? Andy


When are directors who work in reality TV going to be recognised by Directors UK? I pay membership but in reality am not being represented by you. I have worked on some the UKs biggest structured reality/entertainment shows in the UK and sometimes receive as little as half the recommended 'rate card' amount, yet we work long hours in very intense working environments.

Directors UK

Thank you for getting in touch — we appreciate your feedback. Please send us an email on [email protected] so that we can discuss this issue further.

Harry Connolly

Hi Be great if more research is done on hours demanded. And if buy outs( hours based not rights) are becoming more common. I am working on a global svod’s most watched factual series. And have been asked to sign -a hours- buy out ( every hour if needed within the contract date range) contract without an increase in rate. First time Time in 10 years I have been asked to do so. No doubt covid is pushing this. Best H

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