Press Office

Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

Press Release

Victoria Wood and Nick Park to speak at BBC North Developing Talent Conference in Preston

Students from a range of universities, colleges and other organisations from across the North of England will have a chance to hear from Victoria Wood and Nick Park at the 2011 BBC North Developing Talent Conference on 2 March 2011. The event will be held at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston.

The theme of this year's conference is "Talent and Technology" and, as well as hearing expert advice from Victoria and Nick, there will also be a range of workshops presented by industry specialists and a live student challenge in conjunction with the Preston Guild festival team.

Peter Salmon, Director, BBC North, commented: "Talent and technology are the foundations on which BBC North's ambitions are built. By harnessing the power of both, BBC North can help to make a real contribution to the regional economy of the North of England, create exciting opportunities for people and most importantly create some truly great content for audiences across the UK. My ambition for the day is that it will both inspire and inform students, and actively encourage them to be part of the promising future for the region."

Ranvir Singh, presenter for BBC North West Tonight, who studied for a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism at UCLan, will host the conference. Peter Salmon, will discuss the new opportunities for the creative sector that the BBC is bringing to the North of England and the opportunities for partnerships across the region with BBC North. He will additionally interview Nick Park and Victoria Wood during the day on their careers and what the future holds for them.

Victoria Wood commented: "As a northerner, I'm delighted that the BBC is investing in new productions and people from the North. We shot the recent BBC Two film Eric And Ernie in and around Manchester, using hugely talented people from the region, both in front of and behind the camera.

"This is a great business to work in, and however technological broadcasting becomes, we will always need great people! Nineteen-seventy-four was not a particularly auspicious year to launch a showbusiness career, so I understand some of the difficulties facing young ambitious people at the moment – if my story can help anyone, then I'm happy."

Nick Park said: "It's great to have an excuse to be in the North West again. I've always been influenced by the culture and people in and around Preston where I grew up. I'm so glad the BBC is going to be doing more in the region, making more programmes and backing more talent – and I hope I can be of some encouragement or inspiration to our aspiring animators and story-tellers."

Victoria Wood will speak about her wide-ranging career experiences both in front of the camera and on the production side of the industry, from appearing on New Faces to her most recent production of Eric And Ernie for BBC Two, which was a big ratings success over the Christmas period. In addition to situation comedies like Dinner Ladies and Acorn Antiques, Victoria Wood has also made a series of documentaries for the BBC.

Oscar-winning animation director Nick Park, who grew up in Preston, will take part in a question and answer session focusing on his work and career. Nick Park and Aardman Animations have had a long association with the BBC having made several Wallace And Gromit short films as well as spin-off shows like Shaun The Sheep for CBBC and Timmy Time for CBeebies.

The Conference will close with the 2011 BBC Partnership Awards for Innovation, Production, Achievement, Journalism and Scriptwriting. These are open to all the colleges and universities who are part of the BBC North Developing Talent network. This is the third year the BBC has run awards for student talent in the North of England, with previous events being held at Teesside University in Middlesbrough and John Moores University in Liverpool.

UCLan Vice-Chancellor Malcolm McVicar said: "I am delighted that this prestigious event is being hosted by the university which is home to the UK's oldest centre of journalism education and training. Our current students represent the next generation of media professionals and through our strong partnership with the BBC they now have the opportunity to take inspiration from those at the top of the industry."

BBC North Developing Talent has established partnerships with over 50 colleges and universities from across the North of England over the last three years, ahead of the BBC's move to a major new production hub in the North of England at Salford Quays in Greater Manchester, and is designed to nurture core skills and provide practical opportunities for a diverse mix of students, linked to the whole range of multiplatform output that the departments moving to the north produce.

Already a number of placements have been provided for students to develop their skills, for example with BBC Sport and Radio 5 Live in London and Manchester during last summer's World Cup and developing an idea/character as part of a live commissioning round for CBeebies. In total, over the last year BBC North Developing Talent have engaged over 1450 students, have run 26 challenges and projects and have secured over 136 work placements.


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