Roanne Bardsley

Writer, Lime Pictures

How did you find out about Ones To Watch?

I was aware of The Network because a friend of mine got onto the scheme when we were both starting out in television. She absolutely raved about her experience, so I did some Googling and found that there was a scheme for people who’d been working in the industry for a while. I wasn’t experienced enough at that point, but it was always in the back of my mind, and when I got to a point in my career where I felt like I could do with some help taking the next step, I applied. I was lucky enough to get in first time.

What’s your best memory from being on the scheme?

I think the memory that sticks out for me is watching with my Ones To Watch peers as Armando Iannucci delivered the festival MacTaggart Speech. It was a rousing call to arms to save the BBC and our industry, and it felt like we were really part of a moment.

Tell us about the most memorable talks/sessions in your year

For me, the most memorable sessions were talks from Jay Hunt and Diederick Santer. Jay Hunt was refreshingly open with us about the industry and her experiences. It was great to watch such a strong and successful woman give such an uncompromising interview. Hearing Diederick Santer speak was particularly exciting for me because he has a background in Soap and has gone on to forge a hugely successful career in drama, which is the path I hope to take one day.

Did being on Ones To Watch change your career ambitions?

I have always had a very clear goal of wanting to write my own drama series, and that hasn’t really changed since being on Ones To Watch. Although, I do think that having the opportunity to watch talks from several successful drama showrunners at the festival has played a part in me starting to think that I would like to gain some producing experience so that I’d be equipped to be a showrunner if I ever do achieve my ultimate goal.

Did you meet anyone through the scheme, or at the Festival, who’s had a big impact on your life or career?

I’ve made several good friends amongst my Ones to Watch peer group, but there are two people in particular who I think have become friends for life. Fellow writer Hannah George has become one of my closest friends and a real support in what can be a very isolating job. We’re constantly sharing rejections, successes and asking each other for advice, I don’t know what I’d do without her now. Plus, she lets me stay with her in London when I have development meetings or interviews, which has saved me a whole load of cash! The other person who’s been a brilliant friend and support is Development Executive Nawfal Faizullah. Nawfal is my guru from the elusive and mysterious production side of drama and is always on the other end of Whatsapp if I need advice. He’s also read and given me feedback on scripts, introduced me to other people in the industry and invited me in for development meetings at the company he works at. I’m really grateful to Ones To Watch for bringing both these amazing people into my life.

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