Media Parents

Author Archives: Amy Walker

About Amy Walker is a jobs and social networking site committed to keeping experienced talent in TV production. It was set up by Series Producer Amy Walker.

media parents BBC Broadcasting House event photos

by Amy Walker

Thank you so much to everyone who attended the Media Parents Pan UK Networking event at BBC Broadcasting House, 100 people came from far and wide to join us for a brilliant evening’s connecting. Thanks also to Helena Gardner and Paula Goldstein who hosted the event on behalf of the BBC Talent Network, and to the team from dock10 studios in Manchester who sponsored the evening. And BBC Daytime Commissioning Exec Adrian Padmore held Media Parents’ first Skype meeting… Our next event will be held on October 21st.

BBC Daytime Commissioning Exec Adrian Padmore holds Media Parents' first Skype meeting with SP / EP Ceri Rowlands from Cardiff.

At Media Parents we do everything we can to help people connect, so for our first regional talent event held in London we didn’t want distance to be a barrier. BBC Commissioner and former Media Parents talent Adrian Padmore skyped with Media Parents SP/Exec Ceri Rowlands in Cardiff at the event. We’re hoping that Skype can be a regular feature for people who can’t travel to future Media Parents events – although there’s nothing like seeing you in person!

100 Media Parents members from throughout England and Wales gathered to meet employers in the glorious Council Chamber of Old Broadcasting House

Huge thanks to BBC Talent Network's Helena Gardner (here meeting freelancers) and Paula Goldstein for hosting this event. We're delighted to say that the BBC were delighted with the event and we'll be invited back!

Thanks to Chris Hutchins and his team for joining us from BBC Bristol. A father of five, Chris spoke passionately about the need to support parents in the industry. Thanks Chris!

TwoFour's Sue Kenderdine travelled from Plymouth for the event, and Fremantle Media's Emily Gale was keen to meet people who would like to work in Amersham

Sky's Jamie Mezzasalma was keen to meet talent in all areas of production who would like to work in Osterley

SONY Pictures' Ian Critchley meets Media Parents David Coward (left), who got a job through Media Parents at Lime Pictures on Wednesday

Harriet Scott from Remarkable TV met freelancers who work out of Birmingham

BBC North's Sian Whomes attended from Salford

Sas Bonser from BBC Bristol's NHU meets a Bristol-based freelancer

Patrick Steel and the dock10 team flew the flag for facilities in Manchester - check out their website and impressive client list

Media Parents Exec Jonah Heston got his Lime Pictures job through the website

Dragonfly's Nicky Searle meets a Media Parents freelancer

Media Parents freelancer Amanny Mo talks to Amy Gelber who got her Exec job at freeform through Media Parents

Media Parents' Kerry Jones (left) came down from Liverpool for the event

Jasbinder Kaur from Breakthrough Media was on a mission to hire

RTS Award winning team! TVPP Hampshire's Rosie Bowen-Jones and Media Parents Director Amy Walker

Huge thanks to everyone who travelled to this event and gave it their support. Our next event is on October 21st in Central London. Please see site emails and the watercooler on for details. See you there!

October 2, 2015 @ 5:27 pm Posted in News Comments Off

media parents networking BBC Broadcasting House Sept 30th

by Amy Walker

Fancy a spot of networking in here? Join Media Parents in the BBC Broadcasting House Boardroom on September 30th. Photo courtesy of

We’re delighted to announce that our next networking event will be in the Council Chamber at BBC Broadcasting House on September 30th. The event is kindly being hosted by the BBC Production Talent thanks to D-I Brown and Helena Gardner and her team, with a special emphasis on meeting talent who will work outside of London. Please see below for details of employers attending. Media Parents would also like to thank dock10 in Manchester for sponsoring this event.

who’s coming…


First up is Adrian Padmore, a Media Parents member for several years…

Adrian Padmore meets PD Fiona Calvert at GEITF with Media Parents' Back to Work Scheme

adrian padmore, Assistant Commissioner for Daytime and Early Peak

In February 2015 I became the Assistant Commissioner for Daytime and Early Peak. My recent programmes in this role include Big Blue UK, Instant Gardener, Right on the Money and Escape to the Country.

Before joining the BBC, I worked as a freelance Series Producer across factual, formats and features programming. Over the past decade, I have produced shows for BBC One, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 including Holiday Hit SquadEscape to the Country and Can’t Pay We’ll Take It Away.

I currently split my life between London in the week and the West Country at weekends.

Helena Gardner, BBC

helena gardner, Head of Production Talent for Factual & Daytime (London)

Helena Gardner is the BBC Head of Production Talent for Factual & Daytime in London, she is keen to meeting senior talent at SP and Exec level across Science, Arts, History & Business, Documentaries, Current Affairs, Consumer & Live and The One Show.

Chris Hutchins meets Media Parents talent at a BBC Bristol event

Christopher Hutchins, Head of Production Talent, Natural History, Features, Daytime & Documentary Genres (Bristol)

A staunch supporter of Media Parents since our inception, Christopher is based in Bristol but across factual production on all sites.

Helen Hagelthorn at a Media Parents event at BBC Bristol

helen hagelthorn, Talent Manager for Features, Factual Formats and Daytime pan UK (Bristol)

I manage editorial staffing for long running Features brands such as Countryfile, Antiques Roadshow, DIY SOS and Food and Drink; and across Daytime, productions such as Flog It, Bargain Hunt, James Martin’s Home Comforts. After an earlier production career APing and directing on features and ob docs, I worked as Talent Manager in the Indie sector at RDF West, before moving to BBC Bristol four years ago.

Sas Bonser, Talent Manager NHU (Bristol)

Sas works across Natural History and Gardening Production, based in Bristol.

Gaynor Scattergood, BBC NHU at a Media Parents event

Gaynor Scattergood, Talent Manager NHU & Children’s (Bristol)

I’m a Talent Manager for BBC Natural History Unit Landmark and Children’s programming.  I’ve been a Talent Manager at BBC Bristol since 2004, during which time I have covered Production Management, Bristol Factual and now the Natural History Unit.  I started my career as a Secretary at Central TV in Birmingham, working in the Personnel Department before moving onto productions such as ‘Central Weekend’ and ‘The Cook Report’.   I joined BBC Bristol as a Production Secretary on a much loved series ‘Under the Sun’.  I then became a Production Co-ordinator in the Natural History Unit and worked on some fabulous projects including ‘Wildlife on One’ and ‘Andes to Amazon’.

Sian Whomes, BBC

Victoria Goodwin, Head of Production Talent for Learning, Religion & Ethics (SALFORD)

Sian Whomes (pictured) will kindly replace Victorian Goodwin. Victoria is Head of Production Talent for BBC Learning and the Religion & Ethics departments. She’s always on the look-out for digital content makers, especially with great story telling skills and wants to talk to documentary film makers and anyone who’s interested in working in production management. Victoria has over 20 years in broadcasting, both in production and talent management in the BBC and independent sector, in children’s, sport, news and current affairs.

BBC Comedy’s Charlotte Lamb (right) with Vera MD Rebecca Parkinson at a Media Parents Event

charlotte lamb, PM BBC Comedy

Charlotte Lamb has been a long-term supporter of Media Parents and would like to meet freelancers connected with comedy at the event. Charlotte is a TV Comedy Production Manager who manages and recruits the Comedy departments Production Co-ordinators, Production Secretaries and Runners.  Charlotte was a Production Co-ordinator for ten years working in both the BBC, Channel 4 and various independents.

ian critchley, talent consultant SONY pictures

Ian Critchley, SONY

Originally from St. Helens, Merseyside Ian has spent over twenty-five years in the TV industry across ITV and the BBC where he established the BBC’s Production Talent Network. He has been responsible for editorial talent management across all genres in production and commissioning on a pan UK basis.

With a particular focus on developing new talent and headhunting at the executive level for a range of award winning shows, from Strictly Come Dancing to Top Gear, Little Britain to Dr. Who, Ian is now a talent consultant at Sony International television and is the media advisor for On The Road action group.

Jamie Mezzasalma, SKY

Jamie Mezzasalma, Lead Recruitment Partner Content SKY

Jamie is a member of the recruitment team at Sky. He is responsible for all recruitment across Content for Sky. He leads a team of recruiters, who are responsible for roles across Sky Entertainment, Sky Production Services and Sky News. Jamie has been at Sky for 2 years and has always been responsible for recruiting across the content areas. Media Parents would like to thank Sky for sponsoring the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2015.

Harriet Scott, Endemol

Harriet Scott, Series Editor Remarkable Television (Birmingham)

Harriet is currently overseeing the successful returning BBC2 series ‘The House That £100K Built’ and ‘The £100K House: Tricks of the Trade.’

Harriet is keen to meet factual editorial and production talent at all levels who are based in or willing to work in Birmingham. Media Parents would like to thank Endemol Shine for sponsoring the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2015.

Jonah Weston, Exec Producer Lime Pictures

Jonah Weston

Jonah Weston is a freelance Executive Producer who got his job at Lime Pictures through Media Parents. He joins us as both a representative of Lime Pictures, as he is looking to hire people for a couple of roles, and is also attending to meet people as a freelancer.

I have over 20 years television experience.  My work has been Bafta nominated and won various awards, including an RTS. My film Feral Children is still Channel 4′s highest ever rating science documentary with an audience of over 5 million.

Sue Kenderdine, Head of Talent Twofour (Plymouth)

Sue Kenderdine, TwoFour

Sue is responsible for off-screen editorial talent across the Twofour Group (including Twofour, Oxford Scientific Films, Indus and Boomerang). She runs our Talent Database, building and developing relationships with all levels of production staff – from researchers to series producers – and working with our executive producers and production management teams to staff projects and to attract and keep the best people in our Devon, London and Cardiff offices. With eight years non-TV management experience and 17 years in television, Sue joined Twofour in 2006 having spent six years at Lion Television. She would specially like to meet people who can work in Devon who are self shooting PDs and SPs. And all levels for Cardiff.

Emily Gale, Fremantle (Photo courtesy of RTS Futures)

Emily Gale, Head of Talent for Fremantle UK

Emily would like to meet freelancers interested in working from Boundless’s
production office in Amersham, and PDs/Edit Producers/Series Producers/ Dev Producers/Exec Producers/Producers working in London.

Nicky Searle, Dragonfly Film & TV at a Media Parents event

Nicky Searle, Head of Talent Dragonfly Film & TV

Nicky would like to meet freelancers working regionally and in London. “[On a CV] I like a mission statement paragraph which tells me who you are, what you’ve done and where you want to go.”

Rosie Bowen-Jones, TVPP

Rosie Bowen-Jones, Executive Producer TVPP (Hampshire)

Rosemary Bowen-Jones has produced and directed “Survivor” for ITV-1; won an RTS Award for Best Daytime Feature for her Watercolour Challenge programme in Connemara; made the definitive country music documentary “Stand By Your Dream : The Tammy Wynette Story” for the BBC’s BAFTA award winning Arena Series.

She has recently completed programmes for prime-time ITV-1 and Channels 4 and 5.

Amy Gelber, freeform TV

Amy Gelber, Exec Producer freeform TV

Amy got her first job at freeform through Media Parents and would be looking to meet people at all levels who are happy to work out of Chorleywood and/or on location in Europe/Rest of the World. We hire Researchers and APs who are multilingual – French and Spanish are what we need most. Also interested in Casting Researchers and APs, EPs and Directors.

A producer with more than 15 years experience, Amy cut her teeth in regional current affairs, before moving on to produce, report and direct on factual series covering everything from business to crime and movies. She went on to PD for several years, before moving into edit producing, working on both established formats and new series including A Place in the Sun, The Clothes Show and Kill It, Cook It, Eat It!. Amy series produced on A Place in the Sun from 2012 and is now executive producing at Freeform Productions.

Jasbir Saund, Breakthrough Media

Jasbir Saund, Head of Talent Breakthrough Media

Jasbir has used Media Parents as a freelancer and wltm shooting PDs and DV Directors.

Media Parents would like to thank Patrick Steel and his team at Manchester-based dock10 for kindly sponsoring this BBC event.

A word from dock10

“We offer the finest studios spaces in Europe, an innovative post & content platform that can be extended across campus and beyond alongside the benefits of MediaCityUK’s highly connected and resilient infrastructure. We have combined this state of the art technology with market leading operational support teams and craft talent. Whether you’re filming the next generation of talent show, grading a gritty new drama, archiving your precious content or need a purpose built media environment to operate from, you’re in safe hands.”

Patrick Steel, Dock10

Patrick Steel, Head of Commercial Dock10

Patrick has 30 years experience in the international broadcast market including operational roles on some of the UK’s leading productions. As Commercial Head of BBC Studios, he played a key part in the commercialisation of the business and its subsequent growth in indie revenues, also delivering strategic deals with BBC Sport and Childrens.

Following a period as Head of Operations with Talkback Thames Patrick left to fulfil a dream of sailing across an ocean before being lured back from the western Caribbean by the bright lights of Salford, where he was a member of the initial team responsible for the startup of dock10.

…No of course he doesn’t miss it.

Andy Waters, dock10

Andy Waters, Head of Studios dock10

Andy takes responsibility for all things studio flavoured. Spanning a 25 year career in TV production, including BBC Television Centre and Limehouse Studios, he first came to MediaCityUK in May 2010 where he established and launched the dock10 studio business. Andy’s passionate about dock10’s clients having a great experience from the moment they arrive, helping them create their show through to leaving with their rushes.

When not working Andy attempts to stay on top of the weekend schedule for his   four children, getting them to hockey, football and rugby matches on time (well mostly) and sometimes squeezing in a bit of fishing…

Kerry Jones & Amy Walker, Media Parents

Kerry Jones, client liaison Media Parents

Kerry Jones worked on a variety of factual TV programmes before moving into feature films and working with Danny Boyle, Mike Leigh on Vera Drake, and a variety of British directors on quality period features as a Hair and Makeup Artist. Kerry works flexibly and brings up her two girls in Liverpool.

Amy Walker, director Media Parents

Amy Walker founded Media Parents in 2010 and works with a small team of brilliant freelancers to run events, training, and to offer jobs throughout the UK. She is keen to meet everyone at the Broadcasting House event and would love to hear ideas for the development of Media Parents and our events. Amy continues to work as a freelance Series and Exec Producer, moving between factual programmes, development and talent management. Loves a positive solution.

Miranda Wayland, ITV (centre) at a Media Parents event

miranda wayland, diversity & inclusion manager ITV

[unable to attend]

Miranda has long been a supporter of Media Parents and we would like to thank her for her part in ITV Studios’ sponsorship of the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme 2015. Miranda would like to meet anyone interested in working with ITV.

media parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme 2015

Some of the winners from the 2015 Media Parents Back to Work Scheme will be joining us at Broadcasting House so please look out for them.

Comedy Director Vito Rocco (left) & the Media Parents Back to Work Team at GEITF

Vito Rocco, Comedy Director, Sky Back to Work Scheme Winner

Back to Work PD Caroline Deeds (centre) with ITV Shiver MD Alex Gardiner at GEITF

Caroline Deeds, PD Wall to Wall Back to Work Scheme Winner

PD Melanie Beer with CDN CEO Amanda Ariss at GEITF

Melanie Beer, PD Creative Diversity Network Back to Work Winner

Back to Work PD Fiona Calvert with Boomerang's Head of Development Patrick McMahon at GEITF

Fiona Calvert, PD BBC Wales Back to Work Winner

For a full list of attending freelancers please see the watercooler at

Please join for great jobs, networking and events. The next Media Parents networking is at New Broadcasting House on September 30th, see for details.

September 25, 2015 @ 12:03 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with international shooting PD Louise Orton

by Amy Walker

Like many documentary filmmakers, I haven’t followed a normal route into the profession, writes Producer Director/ DV Director Louise Orton.

Louise Orton in Lira, Uganda.

My first professional job after university was as a local journalist, and then I went to work in communications for international charities for over 11 years. I covered conflicts and natural disasters including the wars in Sierra Leone and DR Congo, and Cyclone Nargis in Burma. The crux of my job was to tell the human stories behind the issues and to engage the UK public to want to donate or take action.

My experience as a journalist stood me in good stead for finding interesting and engaging characters and persuading them to talk. But that was in the UK. A remote African community can be a totally different kettle of fish. Sometimes women are nowhere to be found when you enter a village, as their voice may not be considered important. The village chief may have strong ideas on who he wants you to speak to, but this might not be who you want to speak to, so delicate negotiating is needed.

This is Mayna Bibi, who lost her daughter and grand-daughter during severe floods in Bangladesh when their small boat capsized. Photo courtesy of Islamic Relief.

Many times I’ve travelled overseas immediately after a famine or conflict. The circumstances are traumatic but it’s your job to come home with the stories.  I have developed a hard casing, but have never lost the compassion. Important while interviewing a mother who lost her daughter and granddaughter in floods in Bangladesh (pictured above); children in Sierra Leone whose parents were beheaded in front of them; a man who lost his wife and eight children in a massacre in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Not all my work with NGOs has been so sad. I was in Ghana for the Global Week of Action on Trade assisting a camera crew to film chicken farmers marching into parliament with their chickens. At the end of the march it was a scram to get into parliament and the authorities said they would only admit one chicken farmer, the media and some prominent campaigners.  Unfortunately, the chicken farmer had parted company with his chicken! I ran round like a woman possessed to get another chicken and just managed to pass it through the gates as they were about to close. Having a chicken in parliament created a stir and achieved our goal of making it onto the national and even the international news agenda.

Philippines shoot: Louise Orton worked as director with Filipino cameraman Gerry Carreon.

Ingenuity and resourcefulness are important in both NGO comms and documentaries. As is tenacity. I was working for a medical aid agency during the renewed violence in eastern DRC in 2008. Our doctors were desperately trying to reach a hospital in a town that had been cut off by the violence. A TV crew making a Dispatches for Channel 4 were interested in joining the medical convoy but the doctor in charge had categorically refused. After several hours I managed to persuade him otherwise and the TV crew produced amazing footage of the doctors literally saving lives with the new supplies. I helped the crew by English – French translating and liaising with the doctors and patients, and finally decided I wanted to be a filmmaker.

I went freelance in late 2010. I got a job as social media producer on The Health Show for BBC World because of my contacts and knowledge in the work of global health, and also did some research and AP work. I was delighted when I was asked to direct a short film on a great character I had found in Huddersfield. Since then, I have done development work for True Vision and shot and/or directed several short films overseas (mainly for charities). I also filmed, produced and directed a Witness film for Al Jazeera, about a human rights activist in Western Sahara. I am currently developing several international films for broadcast and online.

Louise Orton on location in Burkina Faso.

The resourcefulness and resilience that I have developed, my international contacts book, along with my foreign language skills and knowledge of global current affairs, are great assets for TV documentary work. I’d be delighted with any pointers, introductions or to hear from any companies who could use my skills.

Please join for great jobs, networking and events. The next Media Parents networking is at New Broadcasting House on September 30th, please email us at for details.

September 21, 2015 @ 12:11 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with Leeds PD Emily Coleman at Edinburgh TV Festival

by Amy Walker

I’m Emily Coleman – TV Producer with 15 years’ experience, writes Producer Director Emily Coleman. I’ve made primetime programmes for all of the major broadcasters. My ideas have been commissioned by BBC1, ITV and Channel 5.

But I’m also the woman pushing the swings in the park in a soggy anorak. I’m the woman pretending to be a zombie in pursuit of my excited toddlers. I’m the woman whose handbag no longer contains an iPad and a notebook, but loose Smarties, wet wipes and an upended tube of glitter.

Since I had my kids, it feels like I’ve been living a double life – and the two versions of me don’t seem to have much in common. With returning to work on the horizon, I don’t just want to press rewind but find a way to bring the two halves of my life together. So I was thrilled when Amy Walker rang to offer me the ITV place on Media Parents’ Back to Work Scheme.

We met at the Edinburgh TV Festival and took turns to introduce ourselves. It quickly became more confessional than sales pitch, as we exchanged stories of how long we’d been out of the industry. “Stop apologising”, Amy said. “You’re not a TV Producer BUT a mum, you’re a TV Producer AND a mum – and that’s brilliant!

First Back to Work group meeting at Edinburgh TV Festival : "I'm a TV Producer AND a mum - and that's brilliant!"

Edinburgh was a great chance to catch up on everything I’d missed and find out what the commissioners are looking for. ITV’s Richard Klein asked for producers to pitch “the bloody obvious” – but reappraised and well-made – e.g. Rookies. We’ve all watched ob docs about the police, but to see them handling difficult situations for the first time offered something new. Jay Hunt threw down the gauntlet to developers, revealing that at the top of her access wish-list is IKEA – a furnityre company which aspires to change the way we live.

I booked speed meetings with regional BBC talent managers Victoria Goodwin, Victoria Roye and Sue Fletcher – two of whom I’d worked with more years ago than we cared to remember. They made it clear their doors were open and parents with experience were regarded as an asset, not a liability.

Oxford Scientfic Films' Emma Morgan with Emily Coleman and the Back to Work team at GEITF.

We met inspiring mums like Cat Lewis from Nine Lives – who persuaded Granada to set up their first ever job share when her kids were small and now runs her own successful indie – and Emma Morgan from Oxford Scientific Films, who has always worked 3 or 4 days a week since she became a mother.

ITV Shiver MD Alex Gardiner with the Back to Work team at GEITF.

A special mention goes to Alex Gardiner, MD of ITV Shiver from my sponsoring company ITV Studios, for proving that you can have one of the biggest jobs in TV and still be a thoroughly nice person. He made time for us to have a relaxed and unhurried coffee, where we chatted about family, home, travel and life as well as our careers and approaches to work.

Emily Coleman celebrates her birthday with the Back to Work team at GEITF.

There was lots of talk about how to encourage diversity in TV at the Festival, but we often have a narrow definition of what that means. If we want to make TV that speaks to the whole of the audience, it can’t all be produced by twenty-somethings pulling all-nighters in Soho edit suites. So good luck fellow Media Parents – I have the feeling I’ll be hearing a lot more of all of you in the future.

Emily Coleman is a Yorkshire-based Producer/ Director and Development Producer looking for part-time work or job share.

September 18, 2015 @ 5:47 pm Posted in News Comments Off

5 minutes with comedy & current affairs producer anne henry at GEITF

by Amy Walker

Here is the first of the blogs from the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme Winners sharing information from the Edinburgh TV Festival. Anne Henry is a Comedy and Current Affairs Producer, sponsored by Channel 4.

Media Parents Producer Anne Henry, and One To Watch, Electric Ray AP Ziyaad Desai, a tiny bit excited waiting for Armando Iannucci’s MacTaggart lecture

One of the benefits of being on the Media Parents scheme, writes Anne Henry, is that Amy Walker, the indefatigable and inspiring dynamo who runs Media Parents, will not let you be a slouch in the networking department. As soon as we arrived Amy gave us an informal seminar on networking, and then cast us out into the speed-dating sessions. A first for the fest this year, these are 10-minute slots where you can meet commissioners and talent managers. I had a hot date with Melissa Clay-Peters, talent supremo of Princess & Shine, who revealed they are looking for producers with experience in live current affairs to train up as gallery producers for The Wright Stuff (part-time if you like – worth knowing about).

After that, we dived into the festival proper. Sessions I liked: the screening of the first part of Sky Atlantic’s new Hunderby special, followed by a discussion with Julia Davis and Rufus Jones chaired by Sue Perkins. Julia talked about how her writing partnership with Barunka O’Shaughnessy works – Julia likes to focus on the characters and the big picture, and Barunka is responsible for the tight plotting and end-of-part cliffhangers. She also said she’d love to do her own version of Neighbours or Dallas. I sincerely hope someone will take her up on this.

‘The Future Of News’: from left, Peter Barron (Google), John Ryley (Sky News), Cathy Newman, James Harding (BBC News) and Ben de Pear (Channel 4 News)

I also enjoyed a discussion about ‘The Future of News’ with Peter Barron from Google, James Harding from the BBC, Ben de Pear from C4 News and John Ryley from Sky, talking about how news is changing in the digital age. Ben de Pear talked about how C4 News is innovating to meet the challenge of reaching a younger audience who prefer to get their news online with things like 4NewsWall, C4 News’s GIF-based Tumblr site; but also said something as simple as hiring headline writers for online really improved their numbers. I was keen to meet Ben at Edinburgh but as he was called back to London by work Amy Walker is fixing up a meeting for us.

It was great to meet my Channel 4 sponsor, Deputy Chief Creative Officer and Head of Factual Ralph Lee, who gave a compelling defence of Channel 4 as a public service broadcaster in the ‘Edinburgh Does Question Time’ session. He was backed up by Jane Turton of All3media who sang Channel 4’s praises as one of the few risk-takers that, unlike US broadcasters, will still commission off paper.

Anne Henry meets Channel 4's Ralph Lee : ‘This guy will commission someone in a garret in Soho. I’m not sure Netflix would.’

At ‘How Not To Pitch’ Jonathan Stadlen of Knickerbockerglory (behind Pineapple Dance Studios) told us how he once went quite literally balls-out for a commission, after cycling in to the meeting and not realising he’d worn a hole through his shorts. Other tales of horror included being locked in a commissioner’s cupboard in Speedos and trying to fit a team of Brazilian salsa dancers into a tiny BBC meeting room for the Strictly pitch. This last went down so well that Strictly was pitched internationally with an interlude from a dance troupe. Takeaways from the session were: never take the talent to a pitch; gimmicks are good (except when they go wrong, see above); and, I guess, don’t wear cycling shorts to a business meeting.

Amazon Studios chief Roy Price was another stand-out. He talked about how so many people are now making TV, for Amazon it’s more like the record business than programming – he said they were ‘eventising’, ‘You’re just focused on creating a great album and not so focused on the other people and what they’re doing on Wednesday at nine.’ Their commissioning model is really interesting – you can submit scripts online and 6.25% of their produced pilots have been from new writers who came through this way. He said Amazon subscribers act as a kind of focus group, voting and giving their comments on pilots (you can also comment on trailers for yet-to-be-made movies and even storyboards on the Amazon site). I met some Amazon execs afterwards, and enthused by the session, gave them unbidden my notes on The Man In The High Castle pilot, which I am sure they appreciated.

Back to Work : Anna Curtin, Fiona Calvert, Mel Beer, Anne Henry & Caroline Deeds at Edinburgh Festival.

There are too many fun and interesting things to mention, and I urge you to apply next year. The only real problem is the comedown. Now I’m home, inexplicably the kids aren’t offering me canapés and their thoughts on the future of digital every five minutes. But as media parents, I suppose this is our cross to bear. Huge thanks to Media Parents and Channel 4 for sponsoring me.

Please join for great jobs, networking and events. The next Media Parents networking is at New Broadcasting House on September 30th, please email us at for details.

September 2, 2015 @ 2:53 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Introducing SKY’s Back to Work Winner scripted director Vito Rocco

by Amy Walker

We’re delighted to announce that Scripted Comedy and Children’s Director Vito Rocco is  our final Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme winner. Vito will be sponsored by Sky, and his mentor will be announced after the Edinburgh TV Festival, which Vito will attend with our 6 other Back to Work Scheme winners and Media Parents Director Amy Walker.

Comedy & Children's TV Director Vito Rocco.

Vito Rocco, Scripted Comedy & Children’s TV Director

Following my work as a BAFTA, Rose D’Or and British Comedy
Award winning director I became the primary carer in 2009 for my young son and newborn baby daughter.

I had previously directed Channel 5 hit comedy drama series SUBURBAN SHOOTOUT, Channel 4’s THE LAST CHANCERS starring Adam Buxton, Kevin Bishop and Kevin Eldon, and the world’s first user-generated feature (award-winning) film FAINTHEART for Film4 which was set in the world of Viking re-enactors, starring Eddie Marsan, Ewen Bremner and Jessica Hynes.

In between juggling childcare and writing a screenplay for Vertigo Films, I devised and led an innovative MA Filmmaking course at East 15 Acting School. Having enabled a 275% increase in income to the school, produced a series of award winning short films (New York Children’s Film Festival), and become Visiting Professor in Film and TV at NUA in China, I am looking to reconnect with the UK TV industry as a director of high quality, ground breaking children’s drama and comedy TV programmes.

I am passionate about the Film and TV industry and want to bring my experience as a primary carer of early years and as an educator of young adults into the TV industry to ensure there remains a strong connection between content provision and the end user. Children are demanding, nowhere more so than in their entertainment provision. It is our responsibility as broadcasters and parents to meet that challenge and provide award winning comedy drama to inspire a new generation.

I am currently developing a comedy drama series set in the cut-throat world of the P.T.A.; a feature about a group of ageing performance artists who move to rural Italy to set up a retirement commune (OLD IN THE SUN) and a UK road movie which takes place on a mobility scooter (GOODBYE).

Thank you to Celia Taylor, Head of Non-Scripted Commissioning for Sky Entertainment, and Amy Wyatt Head of Recruitment, Corporate and Content, Sky, for championing the scheme and to Sky for sponsoring Vito, whose mentor will be announced later in the year.

Applications for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme are now closed. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who entered. Please join for great jobs, networking and events.

August 20, 2015 @ 8:45 am Posted in News Comments Off

Introducing Endemol Shine’s Back to Work Winner

by Amy Walker

We’re delighted to announce that Development Producer Anna Curtin is the next of our Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme winners. Anna will be sponsored by Endemol Shine, and mentored by Remarkable Television MD Kitty Walshe.

Development Producer Anna Curtin will be mentored by Remarkable MD Kitty Walshe and sponsored by Endemol Shine.

anna curtin, development producer

I’m a Senior Development Producer and have been working in TV for nearly 20 years (yikes!). I started working for London Weekend Television as a Production Secretary and after a long stint as a Celeb Booker I rose up to AP level.  It was a really good grounding for me.  My first development job was for BBC entertainment where I devised BBC Three’s first Game Show ‘Come Fly With Me’.

This set me on my path as a jobbing Development Producer and I have worked with some great companies over the years working on a diverse range of programmes which range from an E4 show where couples settle their sexual debates in a court room, a documentary about a Funeral Director and transforming a harmless daytime quiz show into a filthy late night offering as well as some more ‘vanilla’ programmes.

I have had career breaks over the last 5 years to start my family and I returned to work twice within this time frame successfully although I am finding it harder returning to work now my youngest is 1-years old.  I’m hoping it’s not a shift in the wrong direction for TV parents.

My hopes for returning to work are that I can step back into my development role with renewed enthusiasm and energy.  I know I can manage my time effectively and can get the right balance for my career and family.  I think the skills I have learned from my children will help me in my career – I have learned patience, flexibility, to function on 3-hours sleep and I have experienced tantrums to rival the most narcissistic media professional.

Kitty Walshe, MD Remarkable Television

Remarkable Television MD Kitty Walshe.

Kitty Walshe, who previously worked as an executive producer for Remarkable Television from 2008 until 2014 – has rejoined the company from UK indie Twofour, where in January she became head of features and daytime.

Her credits include the recent Channel 4 commission of Dr Know (working title). Walshe’s prior exec producing credits at Remarkable include Secret Eaters, Gok’s Fashion Fix and Supersize vs Superskinny. Prior to that, she worked at ITV on shows such as I’m A CelebrityHell’s Kitchen and Tenants From Hell.

Thank you to Bella Lambourne, Global Head of HR Endemol Group and HR Director at Endemol UK and her team for championing the scheme and to Endemol Shine for sponsoring Anna.

Applications for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme are now closed. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who entered. Please join for great jobs, networking and events.

August 19, 2015 @ 1:07 pm Posted in News Comments Off

Introducing ITV Studios’ Back to Work Scheme Winner Emily Coleman PD

by Amy Walker

We’re delighted to announce that Development Producer and PD Emily Coleman from Leeds is the next of our Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme winners. Emily will be sponsored by ITV Studios, and mentored by Shiver Creative Director Mark Robinson, from Shiver’s Leeds office.

Development Producer Emily Coleman will be mentored in Leeds by ITV

emily coleman, development producer & PD

I’m a PD and Development Producer with fifteen years’ experience of making high-profile and critically acclaimed factuals and features. I’ve directed primetime programmes for the BBC, ITV and Channel 5. My credits include:

  • The Secret Tourist – primetime BBC1 undercover consumer series which I developed from proposal stage, then went on to produce and direct.
  • Jade – high-profile ob-doc series following Jade Goody’s cancer battle, which led to a 20% rise in smear tests, secured blanket media coverage and broke channel viewing figure records.
  • The Man Who Shared His Liver – RTS Award nominated documentary following life or death pioneering surgery with living donor transplant patients.
  • 100 Greatest Albums – RTS Award nominated feature with exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names in music.

My most important recent production however, has been my two beautiful children, who are now 4 and 2 ½ years old. After an extended break, and with some trepidation, I’m hoping to return to work in the autumn.

I hope that the Back to Work scheme might give me a confidence-boost and a positive reintroduction to the world of work. I’m hoping to meet some inspiring role-models, learn to set boundaries between work and home and manage my time more effectively – plus develop a strategy to steer my career in a more family-friendly direction.

Emily will be mentored by ITV Shiver’s Creative Director Mark Robinson.

Mark Robinson, Creative Director & Mentor, ITV Shiver, Leeds

ITV Shiver's Mark Robinson.

Mark has executive produced a wide range of projects for Shiver on behalf of ITV, Channel Four, Channel 5 and Sky.

As a leading light in shows celebrating our cultural and popular history he set up the 100 Greatest format for Channel Four and has since looked after The Nation’s Favourite…for ITV, a brand which has revealed the stories behind the songs of icons like Abba, the Bee Gees and Elvis Presley.

Mark pioneered the Monday night ITV travelogue slot with series like The Lakes, The Dales, Little England and Tales From Northumberland With Robson Green.

He also executive produced all six series of the Rose D’Or nominated daytime – and now international – hit series May The Best House Win and has recently looked after titles as diverse as Coronation Street – 50 Years, 50 Moments, The Talent Show Story, Super Tiny Animals, Newsflash – Stories That Stopped The World, Being Poirot and The Miners’ Strike & Me.

Thank you to ITV Studios, ITVShiver and Julian Bellamy for sponsoring the scheme, and to Sue Davidson, HR Director ITV Studios, and Miranda Wayland, ITV Diversity and Inclusion Manager, for championing the scheme.

Applications for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme are now closed. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who entered. Please join for great jobs, networking and events.

@ 8:56 am Posted in News Comments Off

Introducing the CDN’s Back to Work Winner Melanie Beer PD

by Amy Walker

We’re at Edinburgh TV Festival this week so if you’re there please make contact and meet the Back To Work team, headed by Media Parents Director Amy Walker. All profiles and photos are below – tweet @mediaparents to make contact or email through the Media Parents website See you in Edinburgh!

We’re delighted to announce that Edit Producer / PD Melanie Beer is one of our Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme winners. Melanie will be sponsored by the CDN, and mentored by CDN Chairman and PACT Chief Executive John McVay.

Edit Producer / PD Melanie Beer will be mentored by the CDN's John McVay.

melanie beer, PD Edit Producer

I am a versatile and experienced Producer/Director and Edit Producer that has worked on Observational Documentaries, Factual and Fact/Ent programmes for BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Discovery, Sky, MTV and Five.

I have self shot and cut programmes covering a variety of topics from health docs like Love on the Transplant List, The Sex Clinic and Kids on Camera: Diary of Children’s Hospital to presenter-led programmes such as Homeless in Detroit.   I have directed single and multi camera crews on long running series like Four in a Bed and Edit Produced programmes with original content, UGC and archive footage.  I particularly enjoy drawing out the quirkier aspects of human nature when on shoots, dealing with sensitive topics and shaping extraordinary stories in the edit that tell us more about human behaviour.

I am extremely lucky to be Mum to my 6 month old daughter Clara but I also feel very fortunate to have spent the last eleven years doing a job that I feel very passionate about and thoroughly enjoy.  I hope that by returning to work as a P/D or Edit Producer, I can continue to make programmes that inform, inspire and entertain people.  I’ve considered re-training as many of my friends who used to work in the industry have done after having children, but my heart and mind are telling me to return to TV and I can’t wait to get started.

Melanie will be mentored by CDN Chair and PACT Chief Executive John McVay.

John McVay, CDN Chair, PACT Chief Executive and Media Parents Mentor.

John McVay, CDN Chairman and PACT Chief Exec.

John McVay is the Chief Executive of Pact. He has been involved in programme making as a producer, consultant and trainer since 1986.  Prior to his appointment at Pact, he has held positions as the founding Director of the Research Centre for Television and Interactivity in Glasgow , where he developed the concept for Cross Creatives, now Content Lab, and was Director of Training and Education at Scottish Screen. John is a Board Member of Skillset, Chairman of the Skillset Investment Committee and a Governor of the National Film and TV School. At Pact he lead the successful campaign that resulted in changes in the 2003 Communications Act. resulted in the UK having the world’s most creative and commercially successful independent production sector. John was also President of CEPI the pan-European producers association for two years. He is a Director of ISAN UK and serves on the Film London task-force as well as chairing their industry committee.

Thank you to CDN for sponsoring, and to Amanda Ariss, Executive Director, and Tanya Mukherjee, Executive Manager, for championing the scheme.

Applications for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme are now closed. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who entered. Please join for great jobs, networking and events.

August 12, 2015 @ 10:01 am Posted in News Comments Off

Introducing BBC Wales’ Back to Work Winners Nia Morgan & Fiona Calvert

by Amy Walker

We’re delighted to announce that Drama Asst Production Coordinator Nia Morgan from Cardiff, and Factual PD Fiona Calvert from Bristol are the next of our Media Parents GEITF Back to Work Scheme winners. Both will be mentored by BBC Wales employees, to be announced, and Fiona Calvert will attend the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Drama Coordinator Nia Morgan

Nia Morgan, Drama Production Coordinator

Since 2010 I have worked for a fantastic company called Tidy Productions mainly on a show called Stella (Sky 1). I started as a Production Assistant and they slowly gave me more responsibility becoming a Secretary and then an Assistant Production Co-ordinator. In this role I was often given the chance to try new things. For example, helping with casting, assisting the script department and even Script Supervising on 2nd unit days. My main role was to assist the co-ordinator with every day tasks like booking accommodation, distributing scripts, script clearance and travel arrangements… to name a few.

In January of this year I had my little girl. Since then Tidy Productions have offered me odd days work which have been ideal but I haven’t been able to accept anything longer than a few days at a time. That’s my main concern when thinking of going back to work, that I won’t be able to do shoot hours for while or even work 5 days a week, which I know is essential when working on a busy production. I’m hoping to find an office based job in a production office where I can work part time. This way keeping a foot in the door for when I can eventually go back to work full time.

fiona calvert, factual PD

PD Fiona Calvert from Bristol will be mentored by BBC Wales

Starting out as an assistant in Channel 4 Documentaries was a great introduction to the commissioning process from the inside.  Working as a researcher/AP on the flagship strands Cutting Edge and Modern Times was an amazing opportunity to learn from some great directors and producers.  When I developed a series about a Health Farm beyond its initial conception, Stephen Lambert gave me a break to direct and I went on to PD popular documentaries taking all of my own material (and sometimes other director’s) into the edit.  Again, great experience.  These were mostly 30 minute series, but I also made When a Wife Loves a Woman, a 50 minute film for C4.

All in all, a solid grounding in making documentaries:  researching, casting, negotiating access, handling contributors in sensitive situations, directing on location and in the edit.   I also did a fair amount of Development,  converting funded developments into commissions and also originating ideas to commission including one for Modern Times.

So far so good.

I then had 3 wonderful girls (not all at once!)… and my TV career ground to a halt.

I found the perfect part-time work/life balance producing dozens of 30 minute educational programmes for Legal Network Television.  High quality and business as usual: directing a crew, filming in great locations from prisons to the High Court, turning legal experts into presenters, interviewing  campaigning lawyers to law lords, but non-broadcast.

The next chapter?  I still have lots to offer and I don’t want to disappear from the industry forever .  Realistic options are edit producing and /or developing ideas (I have plenty), but knowing how and where to pitch feels daunting on my own.  I need a kickstart – help to make  that first breakthrough.

The ending?  That mine is a story that proves it can be done!

Thank you to Judith Winnan, Head of Factual and Music for BBC Wales, and Catrin Whitmore, Head of Production Talent for championing the scheme.

Applications for the Media Parents Back to Work Scheme are now closed. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who entered. Please join for great jobs, networking and events.

August 11, 2015 @ 2:40 pm Posted in News Comments Off