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Chester Dent

The Monastery for TLC
TLC's The Monastery

I've directed prime-time factual TV for BBC2 and BBC3, Channel4, 5 and Discovery/TLC.

I bring clear well-thought-out leadership based on solid experience and expertise. I'm also a stylish and distinctive self-shooter, passionate about character-led stories. I have very substantial experience in both scripted and unscripted storytelling across a wide spectrum of genres - from authored ob-doc actuality to formatted factual entertainment and drama.

I've worked in the US and New York and was based in Australia for five years. Previously I directed commercials in London and drama in Hamburg for NDR.


2015 Channel4 9pm Britain's Benefit Tenants Series 1, Episode 3
Observational documentary series about the UK social housing crisis.
Nominated 2016 RTS Scotland Award, Best Documentary and Specialist Factual
IWC, Execs Elspeth O'Hare, Comm Ed. Anna Miralis
1 x 60 mins Self-shot (and edit produced) Sony PMW300

2014 Channel4 9pm The Complainers Season 1, Episode 3
Ob doc about some of Britain's most awkward customers.
Dragonfly Pictures, Execs Simon Dickson, Mark Raphael, Comm Ed. Nick Mirsky
1 x 60 mins Self-shot (and edit produced) Canon C300

BBC2 9.50pm Trouble at the Top: Hey Jo.
Authored observational-documentary for the prime-time BBC2 strand following
bumptious millionaire Dave West on his quest for love and happiness. More...
1 x 39mins, Self-shot (and edit produced)

“Witty, and very stylish…. the most enjoyable thing I’ve seen in a long while”
Robert Thirkell

BBC2 9.50pm Trouble at the Top: Terry & Liz

Highly regarded, documentary classic about shoe designer Terry de Havilland’s big comeback: his surprise return to the world of high fashion decades after most people thought he was dead. More...
1 x 39mins, Self-shot (and edit produced)

"A touching documentary with much to say about the contentious interface of art and commerce..."
The Sunday Times

"Bitter-sweet and full of humanity writ small" The Scotsman

Factual Entertainment

2015 TLC 9pm Too Ugly for Love?
Glossy returning series for Discovery - raising the veil on the trials of dating with a hidden medical condition.
Exec Ian Carr, Comm Ed. Mark Procter (Sarah Thornton)
6 x 60 mins Self-shot Canon C300, Sony PMW200

2014 BBC3 9pm Don't Tell the Bride
The BBC3 flagship factual entertainment series where the groom organizes the wedding. Sensitive subject. West Indian groom and disowned Sikh bride.
Renegade Pictures, Execs Sarah May, Rebecca Byatti, Comm Ed. James Hayes
1 x 60 mins Self-shot (and edit produced) Canon C300

2013 BBC3 9pm Barely Legal Drivers Series 2, Episode 1
Two young drivers are secretly watched by their parents and a former traffic cop with the chance to get a car or go back to driving school. I was asked to bring an ob doc feel to the episode.
Renegade Pictures, Exec Harry Lansdown, Comm Ed. Sam Bickley
1 x 60 mins Self-shot (and edit produced) Canon C300

2007 BBC3 9pm Honey We're Killing the Kids - Series 4, The Bainbridges
Intimate ob doc access for the life-changing BBC family format.
BBC Manchester, Exec Helen Nightingale
1 x 60 mins Self-shot (and edit produced)

2006 TCL The Monastery
Critically-acclaimed observational documentary following five non-believers as
they spend 40 days and 40 nights in a Benedictine monastery in New Mexico.
US version of the BBC2 hit series. More episodes ...

Tiger Aspect, Exec Charles Brand, Comm. Ed. Mark Finklelpearl
5 x 60mins, Self-shot (and edit produced), Panasonic SDX900

"I've never seen a TV show explore spiritual issues in such compelling fashion."
Andrew Wallenstein - NPR

2005 Channel4 9pm Demolition - Episode 3, Housing
C4 series about Britain’s most unpopular buildings hosted by presenters Kevin McCloud and Janet Street-Porter.
Oxford TV, Exec Nick Kent
1 x 60mins Self-shot (and edit produced)


1990 Series Director Magic
Shot in English and set in Hamburg, $6 million dollar mini-series “Magic” for NDR International told the backstage stories of the cast of a fictional musical, loosely based on the German production of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's 'Cats'. The musical 'show-within-the-show' was shot on one of Germany's largest sound stages and was composed, designed, constructed, choreographed, and staged in parallel with pre-production and the first weeks of location filming. Principle photography on the series was completed in just 75 shooting days with a full 35mm crew. All episodes were directed by Chester Dent. Script by television veteran Paul Wheeler.
Represented by William Morris in London and Los Angeles.
NDR International (6 x 52mins, 35mm Arriflex)

Short Film

Revolver - Liam Neeson Writer/Director Revolver
Short Film with Liam Neeson,
Winner of a dozen awards, including Critics' Week Cannes, Aix, Chicago, Tokyo, Brest, Munich and the Kino award in Melbourne. Shown at more than 40 festivals world-wide, sold in 15 territories. (NFTS, 35mm Panavision)


1988-1992 Commercials Director
Numerous commercials for agencies, among others Bates Dorland, Saatchi and Saatchi including Clio Award winning Starlight Express commercial.


2007-13 Based in Australia where I directed factual series for ABC1 and SBS including Angels in New York, Vet School and Selling Houses Australia.

2009 AIDC Masterclass - Casting Characters for Documentary
A talk given at the invitation of the Adelaide International Documentary Conference including video clips from various documentaries I produced and directed. You can see complete episodes and the full-length BBC documentaries here.


National Film & TV School, Beaconsfield, UK
Direction Graduate
Mentors: Stephen Frears, Mike Leigh, Mike Newell.

University College London
BA Hons. English Literature
Tutors: Dan Jacobson, Karl Miller, John Sutherland

Northgate Grammar School, Ipswich, UK


2001 Open University
Interface Design (HCI) and Relational Databases

as part of MSc. in Computing for Commerce and Industry

1995 Apple Developer University, San José, California
Multimedia Development with QuickTime VR


Canon C300, 5D Mk II, XF305
Sony PMW300, F800, F5, FS7
Panasonic HDX900

Final Cut Pro, Avid Interplay, FORscene,

Health & Safety Accreditation

BBC Safe Management of Productions Part 1
BBC Safe Management of Productions Part 2
BBC Safe Manual Handling Techniques for Camera and Sound Operators
BBC Interactive Health & Safety Training
BBC Safeguarding Trust

Directors UK

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