Student Masterclasses

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.

BBC's Marianna Spring on creating your own path in journalism

At just 25, she has reported on conspiracy theories and online abuse for the BBC’s news programmes, Newsnight and Panorama

“I was one of those slightly weird kids that, aged eight, [watched] BBC World News on holiday because it was the only channel in English,” Spring recalled. At school, university (Oxford, studying French and Russian) and during a year of study abroad, she wrote for local and student papers, and, post-university, worked shifts at the Guardian.

Furquan Akhtar shares his top writing tips for TV

“Soap is a brilliant training ground but it’s also a place to tell prime-time stories in the most powerful way,” he said during his drama masterclass.

Akhtar, though, was determined to write his own scripts. His first effort, a radio play, won the BBC’s Alfred Bradley Bursary Award for new Northern writers. He went on to write three afternoon plays for Radio 4.

“I realised early on in my career that all the different parts of my identity – being Northern, working-class, Pakistani and Muslim – are an asset because people aren’t telling those stories,” he said.

Kenton Allen shares his top tips on how to break into scripted entertainment

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.

Allen said a producer is “first in and last out on any show”. He continued: “[You are] the mad person that thinks you can get something on the television… You raise the money, pull all the crew together, make the show and deal with the problems when things go wrong …