Case study

Audience researcher — Anya Ryan

Anya secured a 12-month internship at the BBC through Creative Access' social enterprise programme. She's progressed from a trainee role, working on Blue Peter, to a job as an audience researcher for The One Show

How did you get your job?

I graduated with a drama degree from the University of Manchester before finding out about Creative Access, an organisation that looks to find creative roles for people from under-represented groups, including for those from lower-socio economic backgrounds and from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

They arranged for me to join the BBC as a trainee researcher for its long-running children's programme Blue Peter. As the year's training was coming to an end, I applied for a position to work on The One Show, and got the job.

I had to upload my CV to the BBC website and answer some questions before getting an interview. One of these was to 'describe in detail an idea that you have for The One Show'.

On the day of the interview I was given a task to work on - I had to come up with ideas for audience members that fit in with different guests. I was able to take my notes into the room, so I didn't forget anything.

What's a typical day like?

I spend a lot of time researching who to invite to be part of the audience for each show. Our audience is invite only and we like to select people with some connection to the guests on the sofa each night. There's also the opportunity to pitch stories for films at a weekly meeting, and I work as an audience compere in the live studio twice a week.

What do you enjoy about your job?

It's so fun working on such a big TV show, and the guests are very cool. However, it's fast paced, so you've always got to be thinking on your feet and be ready to respond when things change. I love being part of a team and getting to watch a show that you've been involved with is the best feeling.

What are the challenges?

The pressure that no matter what happens, you'll always be going on air. That never-changing deadline can be overwhelming at times.

In what way is your degree relevant?

I wouldn't say that my drama degree was directly related to this career, but it prepared me for the workplace. While I'd never worked in a studio before, I had worked in a theatre and many of the skills translate well. I'd written and worked on scripts, which is a good skill to have, and had briefly used a camera. Also, working to tight deadlines is something I have to do every day now I'm working in television.

How has your role developed, and what are your career ambitions?

I've got a lot more responsibility compared to when I first started my internship, and I feel a lot more confident. I'd like to move into a journalistic role, as I write a lot in my spare time, so I am eager to do more of this at work.

How did Creative Access support you?

Creative Access is the biggest support network and I wouldn't have felt able, or good enough to set foot into the world of television without them. From the induction day, right through to today, the staff make you feel as though you should be doing the job you're doing, offering support whenever you need it. They check in regularly, set you up with a mentor, and make sure you're being well looked after.

The support doesn't end with your placement either. The masterclasses they offer open your eyes to the vast world of the creative industries, showcasing the many different career paths you could follow.

More than this though, Creative Access teaches you that your diversity is your biggest strength and that you've something truly unique to bring to the workplace.

How do I get into television production?

  • Meet as many people as possible - Don't be afraid to ask someone for a chat, as you never know where it could take you.
  • Work on your own projects - It makes you stand out and people are impressed by a good work ethic.
  • Always be keen and approachable.

Find out more

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