New mum Christina Wilby talks about juggling her job in TV and her relationship, how her husband re-trained in order to support her career choice, and bridging the North South divide to keep working.
I’ve been working in television for the last seven years and love it. I knew it was for me well back when I was at school, and after I studied at Manchester University I got my first work placement in Religion and Ethics at the BBC in Manchester. It was a great starting point. I was still studying for my Post Graduate Degree while working full time as a runner and they were very accommodating when I had to take time off for my final exams.
Early on I had to learn to juggle my career and my relationship with Ollie who I met when I was 17 years old. Ollie doesn’t work in TV so at first I think it was hard for him as he was alone at home a lot of the time as I often did not know when I would be home. But he has been so supportive and when I decided to go freelance and had to take a number of jobs in London he supported me 100%.
I worked in News and Current, then moved to ITV as a Senior Researcher on The Jeremy Kyle Show. It was this show that really taught me about the dedication needed to work in TV as the hours are long and you have to produce a show every week no matter what.
For the last four years I have predominately worked in London. Mentorn Media gave me my first job as a researcher after leaving The Jeremy Kyle show, developing the BBC3 series Underage and Pregnant. I have worked for Mentorn a lot and they are a great production company. I have managed to be able to continue to work in factual documentaries and factual entertainment which is where my passion lies and I finally got to the point where I was able to choose between different jobs that came up.
After four years working in TV, Ollie and I got engaged and decided to move to Canada for a year as we love travelling and wanted to visit my family who live out there. We thought if we don’t do it now we’ll never do it. So we moved to Vancouver where I worked at the Vancouver International Film Festival, and on a 48 hour Horror film which was brilliant. When we arrived back in the UK we were planning our wedding which took place at Kichaka Lodge, a Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Ollie and I love wildlife and Southern Africa and knew this was the place for us to celebrate our big day. I started work on Junior Doctors: Your Life in Their Hands in Newcastle as Story AP which was brilliant but full on as I was away from home and planning a wedding abroad. We got married in October 2010 which was such a special day but straight away after we returned home I was back to London to help in the edit for Junior Doctors.
I love being a mum but love working in television. I had always said to myself I wanted to achieve my goal of being a Producer by the time I was 30 and before I had children. I have been able to achieve this goal and hope to set myself a new one once I get back to work.
I was lucky and worked as Casting Producer on One Born Every Minute, Series Four, in Leeds when Mako was 6 months old, helping out with some last-minute casting. It was hard leaving Mako for the first time but it was nice to get back out there again. I haven’t worked since then although I have been offered various projects in London but decided it was too soon to leave Mako. I decided to join Media Parents as I saw the flexible working event in Manchester which I thought was a great idea. I attended the event and it was great to see some familiar faces, meet some new people and learn more about some of the current projects happening at the BBC and Indies in Manchester. Through Media Parents I also found out about the Fast Track North event at BBC Salford which I am attending on November 20th.
Mako is nearly 9 months old now and I am looking to get back to work, so I hope I am able to balance being a mother and working in TV – only time will tell. I am looking for PD work ideally, but AP work if needed in Factual or Factual Entertainment. I have lots of experience in casting and development. I can self shoot but haven’t shot that much for broadcast recently. I love working in TV because you learn and take away something new from every project you work on and I don’t want to do anything else. I am sure I will end up back in London again but hope I am able to work up North more often than not.