Sanjay Singhal

Industry experts share their insights into how to break into TV at the RTS Student Masterclasses 2021

The RTS Student Programme Master­classes drew a crowd of more than 300 in early November to hear four of the industry’s top talents talk about their careers and offer first-hand advice on how to make a start in television. 

Kenton Allen, one of the biggest names in British comedy, offered the masterclass in scripted entertainment. The CEO of Big Talk is the producer of countless award-winning shows, including The Royle Family and Friday Night Dinner.  

Voltage TV's Sanjay Singhal gives a masterclass in documentaries

The 9/11 attacks happened during his final week and were a “traumatic and colossal story”, he said. “After that, I sort of felt I’d done it all – where else would you go in the world of news?”

Over the following 20 years, first at Dragonfly Film and TV, where he became MD, and then at his own indie, Voltage TV, Singhal has made high-profile docs. In The Plane Crash, which became a worldwide hit, a Boeing 737 was deliberately crashed into the Mexican desert.

Production’s coming home: The challenges arising from TV's post-Covid boom

From left: Brandon Riegg, Ralph Lee, Lorraine Heggessey, Sanjay Singhal and Jane Turton (credit: Richard Kendal)

Demand was “greater than ever” but “there is a skills shortage”, costs were rising by at least 10% per year and there had been no increase in tariffs, was All3Media CEO Jane Turton’s sober assessment of the state of TV production in the UK. 

The big question for BBC Studios CEO of production Ralph Lee was whether the rising costs and wage bills were a long-term inflationary trend or a short-term effect of the pandemic and of “still [being] in the middle of trying to get the shows delivered”.