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Wednesday 24 February 2021

Dr Who actress shares industry insights with UCLan acting students

Final year students impress Mandip Gill with two securing individual mentoring sessions

Acting students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have been learning how to break into the business from Dr Who star and UCLan graduate Mandip Gill.

Mandip, who has played the Doctor’s companion Yasmin “Yaz” Khan since 2017, held a virtual workshop with the final year students where she shared her own career journey and gave advice on how to be successful in the competitive acting industry.

Mandip also looked through the cohort’s screen work via the course’s digital showcase platform and each student was given the opportunity to introduce themselves and ask a question. Two lucky students, Emma Fewings and Umer Sajj, caught Mandip’s eye and will now receive one-to-one mentoring from the actress.

Mandip, who graduated from UCLan in 2009, has enjoyed a successful career since leaving the University with roles in Doctors, Casualty and The Good Karma Hospital, to name a few.

She said: “I saw so much potential in the self-tapes, which made it a difficult decision for me to make. I chose Emma and Umer as I think they are the two who would benefit most from my personal experience.

“I had an amazing time studying at UCLan. The acting course was highly practical, and it really prepared me for going into the industry.”

"I saw so much potential in the self-tapes, which made it a difficult decision for me to make. I chose Emma and Umer as I think they are the two who would benefit most from my personal experience."

Dr Who actress and UCLan graduate Mandip Gill

Emma, 21, said: “It means so much that somebody who is successful and in the place I want to be thinks that I’m good enough to do that too. I’m also a massive Doctor Who fan.”

Fellow winning student 20-year-old Umer said: “I’m still trying to process it. Mandip was in the same situation as I am in now so to get mentoring support from her is a massive thing for me.”

The workshop is the latest of many industry-linked events organised by UCLan’s acting tutors to provide students with the skills and knowledge to work as an actor on screen, stage and in digital media. Former Coronation Street actor Graeme Hawley, who played John Stape for three years, works with students on a regular basis and thanks to a partnership established last year, several final year students are annually given agency representation by Janet Hampson Personal Management.

"I’m still trying to process it. Mandip was in the same situation as I am in now so to get mentoring support from her is a massive thing for me."

UCLan acting student Umer Sajj

Terence Chapman, BA (Hons) Acting course leader, said: “Mandip is a great advocate for the acting degree at UCLan and we’re delighted to welcome her back. A key element of the course is linking our students with professionals in the industry who can share their knowledge and may also prove to be great contacts as the students develop their careers.”

Mandip also officially launched UCLan’s cJAM event, an annual careers fair for final year students aiming to work in a variety of creative industries. The event puts students in direct contact with successful industry professionals who offer valuable work placement opportunities following one-to-one pitching sessions.

Terence added: “Having Mandip speak to our third years at the cJAM launch has really inspired them. It’s been a difficult year for them due to the Covid situation, but this has really lifted their spirits.”

Dr Who actress and UCLan graduate Mandip Gill01 / 01