Dewsbury media boss backs bid to find new TV talent

Members of the scheme pose for a photo.
Members of the scheme pose for a photo.

A Thornhill resident who works as a freelance producer and director for media giants such as the BBC has backed a scheme that searches for the best hidden talent in the country, no matter what their background.

Helen Richmond, who grew up in Dewsbury, applied for the Edinburgh TV Festival 'Ones To Watch' course four years ago and hasn't looked back.

Helen hard at work on her latest TV programme.

Helen hard at work on her latest TV programme.

She says the television industry needs people of all backgrounds to step in order to ensure the industry stays relevant, and recalls how patronised she felt when a BBC bos asked her how exciting it must be for "someone like her" to be working in a "place like this".

Having felt stuck in an assistant producer role at the BBC for a while, Helen was thrust into a whirlwind of networking opportunities and workshops with big-name media experts, an experience that set her on her way to what she describes as much more creative and fulfilling pastures.

She said: "It was incredible. The Festival already has such a big name in the industry, and when I saw this course there was only three days to go until the deadline. I had to go for it.

"The whole thing was just the most amazing experience. One minute you're talking to this big TV exec and he's telling you things they would never usually talk about, the next you're at a drinks reception rubbing shoulders with people that can get you ahead in the industry and into a job.

"You just get the most incredible insight. I really couldn't recommend it enough."

Helen was inducted onto the 'Ones To Watch' scheme owing to her "mid-level" experience in the industry, but the opportunities are there for those without media experience, too, on 'The Network' scheme.

"I'd say to anyone reading this that is in any way interested that they should apply.

"You've got nothing to lose by not applying and you've got absolutely everything to gain. At the end of the day, you've got to start somewhere and it might as well be at the start of that application form.

"The media is about putting yourself out there, being brave. You've got to get in touch with people, jump into things and apply yourself."

Helen's first commission came from an exercise in pitching at the Festival and she's now looking forward to the airing of her very own show, 'Art and The Sea', which will air on BBC One on April 30 at 7:30pm.

"Coming from Yorkshire and having the opportunity to put together a show about the Yorkshire coastline is just a dream come true," she said, "it all started, really, with the Ones to Watch scheme."

There are 30 places available on the Ones to Watch scheme and 60 on The Netwrok scheme. Applications for the Edinburgh TV Festival Talent Schemes can be submitted via the website and are open until 27th April at 11pm. All applicants must be over 18. Shortlisted applicants will be notified in May.