RTS Yorkshire: How to get into factual TV

RTS Yorkshire: How to get into factual TV

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Ravelle Thomas, Holly Pywell, Hannah McDonagh and Eleanor Wight (Credit: Katherine Blair)
Ravelle Thomas, Holly Pywell, Hannah McDonagh and Eleanor Wight (Credit Katherine Blair)

More than 100 students picked up valuable advice on factual television during RTS Yorkshire’s careers day at Leeds College of Music on 1 November.

At two masterclasses and three mini-“Anatomy of a hit” sessions, the students learned from some of the region’s leading TV executives, who were buoyed by the news of Channel 4’s decision to set up its new national headquarters in Leeds, which had broken the day before.

“How to get into factual television” featured Channel 5 commissioning editor Greg Barnett; True North creative director Jess Fowle and producer Hayley Raper; Daisybeck Studios production executive Hannah Melia; and Andrew White, the presenter and producer of Walks Around Britain, which is shown on 19 local and digital channels around the UK.

The execs stressed the need for students to be engaged and interested when speaking with potential employers. They also offered advice on how to make the most of a work experience placement.

(Credit: Katherine Blair)
(Credit: Katherine Blair)

“How I got into factual television” featured a panel of speakers in the early stages of their TV careers: True Vision Yorkshire production trainee Harry Lock; Daisybeck Studios researcher Hannah McDonagh; Air TV production manager Holly Pywell; and True North production coordinator Ravelle Thomas and development researcher Eleanor Wight. 

They emphasised the importance of showing enthusiasm and engagement, and saying “yes” when an opportunity to learn new skills presents itself.

The careers day concluded with an examination of three factual TV hits made in the region. To celebrate the success of Channel 5’s The Yorkshire Vet, Greg Barnett returned to the stage with Daisybeck Studios MD Paul Stead and the show’s vet, Julian Norton.

Representing high-octane medical show Helicopter ER (UKTV channel Really), were Matt Richards from Air TV and Dr Andy Pountney, one of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance medics featured in the show.

Anna Hall from True Vision Yorkshire talked about her RTS Yorkshire award-winning documentary series for Channel 4, Catching A Killer. The panellists spoke eloquently about the work that goes into making a show about real people, and how vital it is to build trust and relationships

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More than 100 students picked up valuable advice on factual television during RTS Yorkshire’s careers day at Leeds College of Music on 1 November.