Factual television

Factual television is a genre of non-fiction television programming that documents actual events and people. These types of programs are also described as documentary, observational documentary, fly on the wall, docudrama, and reality television. Although the genre has existed in some form or another since the early years of television, the term factual television has most commonly been used to describe programs produced since the 1990s.[1]


Television programs in this genre include COPS and Rescue 911 from the United States, Airport and Jamie's School Dinners from Great Britain, Border Security: Australia's Front Line and Bondi Rescue from Australia[2] and Motorway Patrol from New Zealand.[3]


'Best Factual Series' has been a category at the British Academy Television Awards since the 1990s. 'Most Popular Factual Series' and 'Most Outstanding Factual Series' were new categories introduced to the Australian Logie Awards in 2008 to cover this genre.[2][4]

In September 2012 BBC Television's Top Gear series was officially been named the Guinness World Records "Most Watched Factual TV Program". As Jeremy Clarkson accepted the Guinness World Records 2013 book on behalf of the show he stated: "I am very proud to be involved in such a factual programme."

See also


  1. Bignell, J.; Orlebar, J. (2005). The Television Handbook. Routledge. p. 106. ISBN 9780415342520. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
  2. 1 2 "MOST POPULAR FACTUAL PROGRAM - The Logies Awards". Yahoo!7. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  3. "Motorway Patrol - Greenstone TV". Greenstone TV. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  4. "ABC leads Logies assault". Brisbane Times. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
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