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

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 April 2019 with a 2% 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.

Entertainment and Multi-camera Rate Card

In early 2015, Directors UK published its official rate card for directors working on entertainment and multi-camera shows. The minimum daily rate is £600 for all directors and this rate became effective from 1 October 2014.

See below for further details:

  1. The recommended minimum daily rate for entertainment and multi-camera directors shall be £600 per day with effect from 1 October 2014.
  2. This rate is exclusive of holiday, which must be added to this rate if a director is unable to take any leave.
  3. The minimum rate for directors operating via a loan-out company is £665 per day, to compensate for the lack of holiday pay.
  4. A booking may be made for less than one full day e.g. half a day, but the minimum rate is still £600.
  5. This rate applies to productions in the following genres:
  • Awards
  • Broken comedy and sketch shows
  • Celebrity panel and quiz shows
  • Chat shows
  • Comedy stand up performances
  • Music performances
  • Game shows
  • Major “shiny floor” entertainment
  • Multi-camera studio factual programmes, e.g. cookery shows
  • On productions where the current director’s rate is significantly below the new minimum rate and where the transition to the new daily rate may be difficult to achieve immediately, the production companies and directors concerned are advised to contact Directors UK for further advice and assistance.
  • Download the entertainment and multi-camera rate card.


    The Directors UK Pay action was initiated by member feedback and experience supported by an internal pay survey carried out by Directors UK in 2015. Our evidence confirmed that directors across all genres have been consistently falling outside of the general pay increases being awarded to other professions working in television production - often including those working on the very same programmes.

    With Directors UK’s working membership at around 2,200 directors, the 312 submissions we received on our pay survey provided us with a strong sample of just under 15% of our members. 37% of responses came from drama directors, 51% factual directors, and 12% from multi-camera and entertainment directors. A survey like this was not something Directors UK had undertaken before and it provided valuable insight into how genre, type of programme, location and broadcaster/indie can affect the range of pay rates on offer.

    From the survey we developed a clear overview of pay levels across the genres, with many submissions covering what should be the better-paid, most high-profile work:

    • 96% of respondents were principal, tier 1 directors
    • 83% of respondents were working on peak-time productions
    • Responses included a good spread of work across the broadcasters; just over half of submissions (54%) were for BBC commissions, with ITV and Channel 4 both at 12% and Channel 5 and Sky at 3%
    • The gender breakdown of responses was not dissimilar to our overall membership (30% women to 70% men)

    For a detailed analysis of the first round of results members can read our report: It Pays to Know - The Real Picture on Directors’ Pay, or have a look at a short two-page summary.

    From this improved level of understanding, Directors UK could work with its members to identify specific areas around which to focus our campaigning and negotiating activity. This in turn has led to us developing a highly effective model for improving directors pay – most recently seen in the success achieved across both ITV’s and BBC’s continuing dramas. 

    For more information about these successes please see the Pay deals section above.

    However, our Pay campaign can only be as strong as the information we receive from members, which is why we need as many members as possible to contribute and continue to complete the pay survey with each new job.

    But more evidence is needed... 

    Pay Survey

    The pay survey remains open and if you haven’t already done so please submit details of projects you’ve worked on so we can gain a better understanding of your particular genre and what’s happening to your level of pay.


    Like this campaign?

    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 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

    Bill Clark

    I would like to see more effort put into the collection / administration side of back end collection. Too many producers in the independent features sector bully and pressure Directors (and writers, crew and cast) to take on projects for little or no up front or salary payments promising back end participation. In the event that participation vanishes in the wind with deductions and overheads being applied and the nett being reduced to a rumour. I read the latest DUK self-congratulatory report on collections - but it seems to me that if the organisation doesn't have a relationship in a territory it does little to pursue any payments. I am aware of countries who have screened my work that I have yet to receive any payment for. This situation is really debilitating. More pressure should be brought to bear on producers who fail to honour their contractual obligations and more resources put into tracking outstanding payments overseas. The DGA are both more aggressive and pro-active.

    Directors UK

    Hi Bill. Thanks for the feedback. We have agreements and arrangements covering transmissions in nearly 30 countries around the world, but we can only receive money from countries that have the right copyright legislation to allow our local sister societies to collect money on our behalf, and that’s often for specific uses. However we do also collect money on sales made to countries beyond those we have agreements with. We are always looking to expand the scope of our collection schemes to generate more payments for members – our current focus is on SVODs and a wider range of UK broadcasters, but we are working internationally as well. If you’d like to discuss any of this further, please email us at

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