My RTS Bursary Diary: James Cordell

My RTS Bursary Diary: James Cordell

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RTS Bursary Students including James Cordell (second left) (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian/RTS)

Were it not for the RTS bursary scheme, my time at University would not have been so eventful. And definitely not so Royal.

I received the RTS Television Production bursary in 2015, so I’m approaching the end of my course at the University of Westminster.

Across my three years, I can’t overstate how much help and support the RTS bursary scheme and my RTS mentor have given me, with plentiful guidance and advice on my career path. 

The scheme’s financial support meant that I could focus less on my finances and more on my studies, making the most of the opportunities available. I am an Event Producer on the RTS London Committee, and produced my first event, ‘Gaming & Television: What’s the Score?’, for more than 100 attendees. 

Being a bursary recipient, given me a better insight into the television industry. I was able to attend the 2015 RTS Cambridge Convention, alongside some of the major players in the global TV industry.

The bursary has also allowed me to interact with TV royalty and actual royalty alike, from attending the RTS Patrons’ dinners with industry leaders, to being among the RTS representatives at the Prince of Wales’s 70th Birthday Patronage Celebration at Buckingham Palace.

Thanks to the bursary I’ve been lucky enough to interact with practitioners from the industry, including the incredible minds behind Studio Lambert, and TV/Film Director (and my hero), Graeme Harper, whose work on Doctor Who had a significant impact on my childhood.

It was thrilling to be able to nerd out with - wait no - interview Graeme as part of my dissertation on the representation of strong female characters in television.

In all honesty, I don’t fail to recognise my good fortune in my time at University. But for me, the main takeaway from the bursary was its boost to my drive and motivation. Before receiving the bursary, I had been going through a tough patch in my life, having lost my father to cancer.

The bursary has instilled in me the desire to give back for the opportunities that I have been given. And to further my ambitions of directing scripted drama and comedy, to tell stories that deal with serious real world issues, like mental health, in the aim to promote awareness.



James joined the RTS Bursary Scheme in 2015. He studied BA Television Production at the University of Westminster. 

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Were it not for the RTS bursary scheme, my time at University would not have been so eventful. And definitely not so Royal.