Credit Guide

This Credit Guide and director definition applies to all works made from 1 July 2014 onwards. You can view our old Credit Guide (formerly Credit Hierarchy) here.

Credit Guide:

Category 1*

  • A Film By (in the absence of a director credit) 
  • Directed by 
  • Director 
  • Produced / Directed by 
  • Producer / Director 
  • Series Director (see definition) 
  • Studio Director 
  • Writer / Director
  • Edit Director**

 Category 2

  • Animation Director
  • Camera Directors
  • Director / Camera
  • DV Director
  • Gallery Director
  • Gallery Producer / Directors
  • Live Action director
  • Location Director

* Any combination of these credits (for example, filmed, produced and directed by) will not affect the ranking of that credit.

** Edit directors are admitted to category 1 from 1 July 2017. Only edit director credits on programmes with a first transmission on or after this date qualify under our distribution rules. Between 1 July 2015 - 30 June 2017 edit directors were in category 2.

  • If a category 1 director is credited then they shall be deemed to be the principal director.
  • If more than one category 1 director is credited then they shall all evenly share the credits on our database and any payments due to the work.
  • If no category 1 director is credited then any category 2 directors credited will be deemed to be the principal director(s) and, likewise, share any payments evenly in instances where more than one category 2 director is credited.

Definition of a Principal Director:

The role of principal director on an individual film or TV programme (a ‘work’) consists of the following components:

  • interpreting and planning the realisation of the creative content, style and structure of a work
  • capturing and gathering the creative content through directing the production crew, performers, presenters and contributors in a work
  • directing the editing of the creative content to form it into a cohesive whole

Definition of a Series Director:

To be considered a principal director of an individual work or episode, a series director must:

  • Direct a significant portion of the episode / series
  • Establish the overall “look” and distinctive visual signature for a series, and ensure that this is carried through the production
  • Be the principal person briefing and leading the creative team including all other directors working on the series

As well as carry out at least one of the below:

  • Be involved in the hiring of the senior creative and technical team and/or junior directors
  • Be significantly involved in overseeing edits and the post production

Definition of an Edit Director:

On certain factual productions, the role of principal director is shared between more than one individual.

In these situations, responsibility for directing the edit may fall to an edit director. The edit director is an individual whose principal role is the full-time supervision and direction of the edit.

This individual will have proven experience of directing both shoots and edits and, as such, will have the skill-set of a principal director.

The edit director will collaborate with other creatives such as the producer, location director and, of course, the editor. These individuals may have a vital role to play in the landscape of the edit - but ultimate responsibility for the edit on a day-to-day basis lies with the edit director.

Responsibilities of the edit director on factual productions will include, but are not limited to:

  • Edit preparation such as rushes logging and paper editing to identify and structure key content
  • Story direction through the structuring of narrative in the edit
  • Scripting the edit and commentary writing
  • Where necessary, structuring pick-up shoots and briefing location teams with the edit’s requirements

In the past, individuals who perform this directing role have frequently been credited as edit producers. However, where their experience and responsibilities match the criteria set out here, they should be credited as edit directors.

Please note that any other editor-related credit (e.g. editor, film editor etc.) is not recognised as a principal director credit and is therefore outside the scope of our distribution schemes.

This change will come into effect on 1 July 2017 and cover only works with a first transmission after this date.

Revisited Director (e.g. Grand Designs Revisited):

Payment will be split 50:50 between originating and revisiting directors unless the directors concerned agree a different division and submit details in writing to Directors UK. 

Studio Programmes

For studio-based programmes containing VT (or other non-studio-based content), the principal director(s) shall be, where possible, identified based on the proportion the content makes up of the overall work. For example, the principal director of a studio-based talent show would be the studio or series director. However, on a programme where the non-studio elements make up the majority of the film overall, then the claim to principal director will be split between the studio/series director and any other Category 1 directors credited. 

Producer Credit:

Where there is only a credit for producer and/or series producer (i.e. no director credit) payment will not be allocated under the UK Distribution Scheme. We are aware that the absence of a director credit usually means that the producer (or series producer) performed both functions. However, an individual producer is not an author under UK Copyright legislation and, therefore, not entitled to payment under our UK Distribution Scheme. It is important that members check their credits and contract carefully.

Pre-July 2014 Credit Hierarchy

Any works first transmitted before July 2014 would be subject to our previous hierarchy (now the Credit Guide), which you can see below.

Order of identification:

  1. Director, Directed by, Producer/Director or Produced & Directed by, Written and Directed By
  2. Filmed and Directed by (where only one director is credited); or Camera and Director (again, where only one director is credited).
  3. Series Director; Where there is a credit as Series Director the following will apply:
    • i. Where a single director is credited on an episode in the series, this director will be identified as being the principal director of that programme.
    • ii. Where several directors are credited on an episode, alongside a Series Director, the Series Director will be identified as being the Principal Director.
  4. Location/Item Director or Studio Director (whoever directed the greater part of the programme).
  5. Animation Director


In the event of there being a dispute between directors as to how payment for a production should be shared, no payments will be issued until all of the directors concerned have resolved the dispute and advised Directors UK in writing as to how payments should be divided.

More information about our credit disputes procedure.

Processes involved:

It is the principal director who holds rights and is entitled to payments under our distribution schemes. But how do you identify a principal director in a programme which has a multiple types of director credit? This was a question that was put to the distribution committee last year as they were tasked with reviewing the credit guide which the distribution team use to identify the principal director from off-air credits.

During the course of the review, the guide (then named the Credit Hierarchy) was also presented to the factual committee as well as a number of non-Committee members for comment and advice.

The first stage of this process was to identify all of the elements of the role of principal director. Despite being mentioned in copyright law, there is surprisingly no legal definition of what a principal director does. The Committee drew upon their experiences and laid out a three stage process of what a principal director would be expected to do on a programme. The definition covers the pre-production, shooting and post-production stages of directing (see above).

As the role of series director can vary from programme to programme, a separate definition was created to help indicate when a series director should be deemed to be the principal director.

The Committee then identified and analysed the different types of director credit currently being used by production companies and ranked them in relation to the definition of a principal director. They reviewed over 35 different types of director credit before deciding upon the final two category system above. This system identifies category 1 directors as those director credits that could reasonably be expected to fulfil most or all of the role of principal director. Category 2 directors, meanwhile, are those that will only have fulfilled part of the role of principal director.

The credit guide came into effect on the 1 July 2014 and applies to new works transmitted after this date. Members will need to ensure that their credits on their works transmitted after this date use the following rules.

The new rules will not be applied retrospectively to any works that have already been broadcast.

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