Case study

Media researcher — Danielle Harrison

After studying BA Media and Performance at Salford University, Danielle secured a placement as a trainee researcher at the BBC through the Creative Access scheme, helping her progress to a researcher/casting researcher role

How did you get your job as a trainee researcher?

I graduated from the University of Salford while working as a runner and researcher for ITV and the BBC, where I developed a range of skills in studio-based programme making and live TV shows such as The Jeremy Kyle Show.

While looking for work, I sent in an application to join the Creative Access programme, run by an organisation that looks to find roles in the creative industries for people from under-represented groups in terms of ethnicity, socio-economic background and disability.

I was put forward for a job with the BBC's children's TV channels CBeebies and CBBC to work as a trainee researcher within their unscripted development team, and I managed to land the role.

Since then, I've worked as a correspondent assistant for the Blue Peter badge team, as well as for Raise the Roof Productions as a casting researcher for Channel 4's property series Love It or List it.

What's a typical day like?

The casting researcher role usually involves engaging in Zoom meetings with my team, casting potential guests for the shows, setting up Zoom meetings with potential guests, and editing the interviews using Adobe Premiere Pro.

I also spend time liaising with agents, plus writing up and planning/delivering on proposals.

Doing a researcher role has given me a better understanding of how a production comes together in an office rather than just in the studio.

Outside of the job, I'm part of a creative collective, which was formed from a group of us who work together at the BBC. We produced a documentary while in lockdown and we've also created a podcast.

What do you enjoy about your job?

As a casting researcher I love developing fresh ideas for new up and coming TV shows and enjoy being part of the intense casting process looking for new talent. Being able to match the right people with the right role is a great feeling.

I really enjoy working in children's television as I feel like an entertainer every day at home with my two daughters. Working on the Blue Peter badge team was rewarding - being tasked with keeping kids happy while in lockdown and unable to go to school. I relished reading and replying to their letters and sending out their badges.

Working as a researcher in development highlighted the amount of hard work that goes into these productions, but it's all worthwhile. It was when working with Mr Tumble on Something Special I saw how important it is to be making content for kids with disabilities and how kids respond to the character.

This industry has given me so much passion and drive to want to work right across all departments and share my knowledge and creativity.

What are the challenges?

I knew that working in TV requires long hours, but I haven't let that deter me from doing I what I really want to do. I have kids, so being in the studio all week is tough - trying to juggle work with being a single parent of two young children.

The past year especially has been a challenging time, having to work from home due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Still being part of a collective, getting to create short documentaries, home-schooling my children and doing my job has really strengthened my multitasking skills and I've gained so much from it.

In what way is your degree relevant?

I've been able to utilise the technical production and video editing skills I acquired while at university and it shaped me for what was to come when I started at the BBC and in my professional career so far.

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

I've moved from being a trainee researcher to researcher and my goal is to be a producer, so I'm heading in the right direction towards assistant producer.

What workplace issues are you most passionate about?

I want to be able to see more diverse talent on TV and have an input into the creation and casting of new shows.

I feel it's really important for my daughters and others from under-represented groups to see themselves on TV and being a part of the casting team enables me to contribute to that.

How did Creative Access support you?

We had a mentor who would check in regularly and organise monthly meetings. They are the main reason I got to network with some amazing people. We had monthly masterclasses held in London, and we visited the workplaces of leading organisations such as LinkedIn, Facebook, News UK, Twitter and Warner Bros.

How do I get into television production?

  • Apply for everything that comes up.
  • Get help and advice on getting your CV right for each job you apply for.
  • Never ever give up - despite rejection.

Find out more

How would you rate this page?

On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like

success feedback

Thank you for rating the page