Tammie Ash

Development Researcher, BBC Studios

The Network 2020

Tammie Ash

I wanted to work in TV, I just had no idea how to get into it. I’d been trying for a few years but had no luck and I knew that getting onto The Network would be a huge game changer for me. The scheme has a huge roster of successful alumni. I’d also had little training and exposure to the industry so I was really excited by the masterclasses and the chance to attend the Edinburgh TV Festival.

I loved the masterclasses – I remember Russell T. Davies spoke to us and that was really special for me as someone who’d grown up watching his era of Doctor Who. It felt like I had a chance in TV and it was incredibly inspiring.

I attended Edinburgh two years after I got onto the scheme as it was the first in-person festival since the lockdowns and I loved it. It was definitely worth the wait. It was amazing seeing everyone in real life and watching the talks in-person. I was still pinching myself that I was actually there and I’m very lucky that I got to go. The Festival is a who’s-who of TV from writers to directors to commissioners – it’s very cool.

I had a fantastic experience with my cohort. We were the first COVID cohort and so we never got to meet each other for a long time – in fact, I met most of them two years later at the Edinburgh TV Festival. I ended up working on the same productions as some of them. What I didn’t expect, was how generous people in my cohort were with their time and willingness to get to know you. A lot of people do these kind of schemes, they’re never to be seen again and they have no interest in keeping in touch with you. But I’m happy to say that the majority of my cohort were all willing to support each other.

The Network has been and still is a huge part of my career – it threw me into the industry in 2020 when barely anyone was hiring because of COVID, but I fortunately still got my first TV job then. The reputation of the scheme means that talent managers will take you much more seriously if you say you’re an alumna of The Network and that’s hugely beneficial. The support I’ve gotten from everyone behind the scenes running the scheme has been exceptional. I’ve been introduced to a cohort of super creative individuals who I can now call my friends. And most importantly, The Network gave me a lot of confidence in myself at a time when I needed it.

My mentor is Amber Haque and I’m exceptionally lucky to have been paired with someone so generous and talented. I love that we’re both South Asian women from up North and we have so many shared interests. She’s been so giving of her time and she’s always been there for me when I’ve needed advice. It was an amazing pairing on behalf of The Network; I never would have met her if I hadn’t been on the scheme and she feels like a big sister to me now. It’s been over two years since we were paired but we still love a good natter!