UCLan students reap benefits of media partnership

31 March 2015

Rachel Atkinson

Director of ITV in the North among visitors to University for two-day workshop  

Pic: The ITV team who spent two days working with UCLan students from l-r Patrick Talbot, Vicky Thomas, Lee Mann, John Whiston, Mike Hall and AJ Read.  

Students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are reaping the creative benefits of a new educational partnership with television powerhouse ITV.

The University has been hand-picked by the national broadcast company to be one of the first to experience the nurturing link-up between students and industry executives.

As part of the partnership, a selection of second and third year screenwriting, creative writing, film and media studies, animation and television production students recently took part in a two-day workshop delivered by some of the leading figures at ITV. They included John Whiston, Creative Director of Serial Dramas and Director of ITV in the North, and Mark Bickerton, Head of Editorial Engagement for ITV Continuing Drama.

“I was extremely impressed with all the students’ commitment, energy, enthusiasm, work ethic and good humour. It was a joy to work with all the students and staff at UCLan.”

The two-day event saw students taking part in a storyline workshop and a pitching bootcamp. Coronation Street, the world’s longest running soap, was the focus of the workshop. The students had to watch an episode and make themselves familiar with the storylines. Then during the workshop they had come up with ideas of how they would progress the storylines for different characters. To help them with this task they were given a presentation on how to storyline, how to explore structure and how to add emotion yet include detail.

On the second day the students attended a pitching bootcamp and were asked to bring along their own idea for a programme of any genre. They were then given tips on how to go about properly honing and testing the idea and told the dos and don’ts of format development. They also had to turn an idea, given to them by one of ITV’s creative staff, into an all-singing, all-dancing, sellable hit format and pitch this to the panel of industry judges.

"Having this first-hand experience from such big names from the television industry is fantastic. It’s such a great success that UCLan is one of the first to get this partnership with ITV.”

Twenty-year-old TV production student Chelsea Martin was one of the students who learned a lot from the event. She said: “I really enjoyed everything about the event. I loved learning how to develop my ideas and being given real industry experience on how that could work in a production. It’s given me valuable experience which I can take into my studies.”

Fellow TV production student Peter Harper, 26, added: “It was such an interesting session because we learned so much inside knowledge about how Coronation Street is produced and that’s going to help me develop my writing. Having this first-hand experience from such big names from the television industry is fantastic. It’s such a great success that UCLan is one of the first to get this partnership with ITV.”


Emma Speed, Partnership Development Manager in UCLan’s Research and Innovation Office, is driving the initiative and pitched to be involved in the ITV North scheme from UCLan's Media City base at The Landing.


Alan Keegan, Programme Leader for Media Practice, said: “We’re delighted to be involved with ITV because it offers such a wide range of possibilities for our students and staff. To have Media City on our doorstep in fantastic and this shows how valuable the creative industries are to this area. At UCLan we’re creating the next generation of television producers, directors and writers and this partnership means they can learn from the very best in the business.”