Students at Stratford-upon-Avon College were treated recently to a broadcasting masterclass led by the makers of new BBC One television comedy drama Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators.
The masterclass was organised by BBC Midlands and The Royal Television Society – an educational charity promoting all aspects of work in the television industry – as part of their commitment to inspiring the next generation of artists. Held in the College’s Willows Theatre, it was hosted by BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Breakfast presenter Trish Adudu with a panel comprising the series producer Ella Kelly, director Ian Barber and star Patrick Walshe McBride who plays Sebastian in the show, while an audience of students from across the creative arts posed questions to discover industry tips and working practices.
Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators is a 10-part BBC One detective drama series starring Mark Benton and Jo Joyner, set in Stratford and surrounding Warwickshire. Starting on Monday 26 February at 2.15pm, it sees private investigator Hathaway (Benton) and his sidekick Shakespeare (Joyner, herself a former student of Stratford-upon-Avon College) probe the secrets of the hotbed of mystery and intrigue that is rural Warwickshire!
Describing the series, which has individual episodes referencing different Shakespeare characters and themes, Ella explained: “We wanted to celebrate his stories without being slaves to them. Its unique selling point is it’s really fun. It’s a buddy show which is quite unique at the moment.”
She firmly believes in the value of masterclasses such as this in providing an opportunity to discuss with students all the different roles that go into making television. “People often aspire to be a star or a producer or a director – they don’t really appreciate that there are so many other roles that are fantastic within the industry.”
Referring to the programme’s local connections – Shakespeare and Hathaway was filmed in Warwickshire and produced at the BBC’s Drama Village in Birmingham – Ella added: “I think it’s great the students can feel connected to something made in the Midlands. There is loads of stuff going on here. You don’t need to be in London or Manchester. And it’s really important that they feel part of that.”
She also sees the masterclass as a means of helping students understand that their dreams of becoming the next generation of television industry talent can be realised. “I feel really excited when I hear students talking about the creative process and how programmes are made. I want them to believe it’s really possible and to understand that working in the industry is absolutely achievable.”
Find out more about the College’s range of Digital Media Production courses.