RTS Bursary Scheme

“I know first-hand how difficult this industry is to break into”: Q&A with AJ Odudu, RTS Bursary Scheme Ambassador

AJ Odudu

The Scheme is all about channelling new voices from low-income backgrounds and championing underrepresented talent, in the hopes that one day they too might be asking Big Brother contestants not to swear on live TV.

As an Ambassador, AJ will be meeting and mentoring bursary scholars, as well as attending bursaries events. But in the meantime we spoke to AJ to learn more about her TV journey, from runner to primetime presenter via the call centre, and to find out why getting involved in the Scheme is so important to her.

Big Brother host AJ Odudu becomes the ambassador for the RTS Bursary Scheme

The Big Brother host will meet and mentor scholars and attend bursaries events.

She said: “As someone who worked their way up and started my career with no connections in the TV industry, coming from a working-class background in Blackburn to finding my feet in the industry, I know how important being supported by such a prestigious institution will be for the recipients.

“I look forward to meeting the talented students and hearing all about their aspirations for the future.”

RTS launches new bursary schemes for 2024 with new ambassador AJ Odudu

The RTS is delighted to announce that British television presenter AJ Odudu will be an Ambassador for the scheme, which will see her meeting and mentoring the scholars and attending bursaries events, as well as using her platform to highlight the importance of the RTS bursary schemes for up-and-coming talent in the television industry.

Meeting Jesse Armstrong, top tips from Ash Atalla and networking with television royalty – an update from our Bursary Scholars

The dinner was combined with speeches from newly awarded RTS Fellows (an award offered to those who have offered outstanding contributions to the UK television industry). Amongst them were Succession creator Jesse Armstrong, and screenwriters Abi Morgan (The Split) and Jack Thorne (Best Interests). Meanwhile 100 past and present scholars were busy making valuable connections with each other, as well as the TV veterans.

RTS Bursary scholars chosen for 2023

Thirty-four were chosen for the TV Production and Journalism Bursary, including Amelia Nicola, who was awarded the Steve Hewlett Scholarship, and Cerys Horner, who won the Beryl Vertue Scholarship. The latter was introduced last year for a student with an interest in producing.

Ten scholars have received a Digital Innovation Bursary.

Theresa Wise, CEO of the RTS, said: “This year, we have received the highest number of applications to date.

How the RTS Bursary Scheme is changing lives

During her early years at school, Catriona Walsh didn’t speak. It might be a surprise, then, for her teachers to discover that she wants to be a TV presenter. This summer, she’s spending her university holiday working as a studio runner and researcher on Blue Peter, upping sticks from her hometown of Derry, Northern Ireland, for Salford’s MediaCity in pursuit of her dream job.

"It's the best thing that's happened to me": an update from RTS Bursary scholars

RTS Bursary scholars and alumni share how their lives have changed since applying for the scheme, what they have learned about themselves and the industry, and why they think you should apply.

In late June, Fremantle UK hosted the RTS’s annual summer networking session, welcoming past and present RTS Bursary scholars to their London office. Alongside their personal mentors, the attendees connected and exchanged contacts with each other and industry professionals.

Mo Gilligan wants YOU to apply for the RTS Bursary Scheme

Mo Gilligan explains why you should apply for the RTS Bursary Scheme.

The RTS Bursary Scheme is now closed and will re-open in 2024.

The RTS wants television to reflect the exciting, diverse and talented voices of the Britain of today, and that starts by changing the industry from the inside out. We offer three core schemes – the TV Production and Journalism Bursary, the Digital Innovation Bursary and the Steve Hewlett Scholarship. And in 2022, we introduced the Beryl Vertue Scholarship to support an applicant with an interest in producing.