Edinburgh TV Festival supported by Screen Scotland

jodie ashdown

Story Editor, Casualty

The Network 2016

Jodie Ashdown

I spent most of my 20s travelling the world evading responsibility but I always thought there was something lacking. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time, but there was almost the niggling thought in the back of my mind that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

I wanted to do something creative, something collaborative which could be a career for me, rather than just another job. So at 26, I went to university to study English and Creative Writing and then a Masters in Creative Writing. This was more what I wanted but I wasn’t there yet. And then at the ripe old age of 30 it struck me, I wanted to work in TV.

So now I had the end goal but I had no idea how to take the first step. The Film and TV industry is notoriously hard to get into and I felt at a disadvantage because of my age and lack of experience – I needed a way to show people what I was capable of and a get my foot in the door. That’s when I went online and had a look what was out there. I had never heard of The Network before and certainly didn’t know anyone who had attended (this has all changed now, so many of my colleagues have taken part in the scheme). Nevertheless, I knew it was the perfect scheme for me and began work on my application while at the same time working with BBC Wales on a short film script I was writing.

After I got the email that I was through to the first assessment day. Each assessment brought me tantalisingly closer to the prize. I met many people during the process, some I saw again and again, others I saw just once; they hadn’t made it through the round. Eventually I received confirmation that I had made it through to the final 50.

At the scheme, alongside all the other amazing workshops, I attended the drama workshop with the cast and crew of Holby City. And here I met Oliver Kent (Head of Continuing Drama, BBC) who suggested that we meet for a coffee when he was next in Cardiff. We did so, along with others from the Editorial Department of Casualty, and he gave me some advice about getting into the industry. And then, 11 months later, I did just that. I started on Casualty as a Researcher on a full time contract.

In 2018, I actually went back to the festival to speak on the panel ‘The Truth About Working in TV’ for the new cohort of Networkers and ended up helping out with the Casualty Drama Workshop. It felt good to come back on the other side of the table and was a great opportunity to pass on my experience since my time on The Network.

And then just over a year after that, and alongside my first Script Editing role, I am pleased to say I have been promoted to Story Editor.

2016 – The Network
2018 – Researcher on Casualty
2019 – Story Editor on Casualty