Channel 4 offers ten people ‘life changing’ chance to work on new Leeds-based drama - no TV experience necessary

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Channel 4 and the National Film and Television School (NFTS) are offering ten Leeds-based people the chance to work on new eight-part drama Dance School and launch their careers in the broadcast industry.

Ten trainees will undertake a “life-changing” 22-week programme that will culminate with ten weeks working on a major drama commissioned by Channel 4 and created by Leeds-based Duck Soup Films.

The paid opportunities are open to people who have never worked in the industry before, whether they have transferable skills or are unemployed and looking to launch their careers.

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Participants will be trained across a range of roles which could include locations, wardrobe, production, sound and location sound, production accounting, camera assistant and assistant director.

The Majestic, home to Channel 4 in Leeds city centre. Picture: Steve Riding.The Majestic, home to Channel 4 in Leeds city centre. Picture: Steve Riding.
The Majestic, home to Channel 4 in Leeds city centre. Picture: Steve Riding.

“They should be based in Leeds, ideally the Chapeltown area, and priority will be given to those from a lower socio-economic background,” a Channel 4 spokesperson said.

The trainees will be given bespoke training to prepare them for working on the drama, as well as mentoring, one-to-one and group sessions, online masterclasses, and a career development plan.

Dance School - which is a working title - is a coming-of-age drama created by Theresa Ikoko, who has worked on Rocks and Girls, and Lisa Holdsworth, who has worked on Discovery of Witches and Call The Midwife.

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“The eight-part series follows an eclectic group of dance students as they navigate the intense highs and lows of coming of age in today’s complex world – captured through stories which are as joyful and funny as they are raw and truthful, brought viscerally to life via irresistible dance choreography,” according to Channel 4.

It aims to champion characters inspired by true stories from the backstreets of inner-city Leeds, and to celebrate “resilience, determination, and spirit”.

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The production will shoot in autumn, in and around Leeds, while street casting and recruitment is set to kick off this summer.

The scheme will run from August 2022 to January 2023.

People who are interested in these opportunities are advised to follow @NFTSLeeds on Instagram and Twitter and look out for when more details are announced.

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The first step will comprise a series of workshops in Chapeltown on July 3 and 4, where applicants can speak to people who work in broadcasting now, and find out more about working on set.

Meabh O’Donovan, Head of NFTS Leeds, said: “If you’ve never imagined film and television as a possible career, come along to a workshop in July, it could change your life and become a gateway to fantastic new opportunities within Yorkshire’s screen industry.”

Caroline Hollick, Channel 4 Head of Drama, said: “I’m delighted that by partnering with Duck Soup and the NFTS, 4Skills we can open doors to the next generation of emerging talent, ensuring the creative sector remains accessible to all.”

Rebekah Wray-Rogers, Co-Founder of Duck Soup Films says: “We are beyond delighted that Duck Soup’s first drama commission is born and bred in our own city and commissioned by Channel 4 since its crucial move out of London up to Leeds.

“Our vision for the series has had routes into the industry for Leeds folk baked into its DNA and we were overjoyed to partner with such clever people at 4Skills and the NFTS”.

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