University and its students star in Eternal Law

Posted on 3 January 2012

A University of York student will be watching ITV’s new high-profile drama series Eternal Law with keen interest after landing himself a role as a camera trainee on the production.

Film and Television student Ollie Richards. Photo by Matt Brannan.

Ollie Richards, an undergraduate in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television, was involved in filming at locations around York including the Purey Cust Nuffield Hospital, the Blue Bicycle Restaurant and York Crown Court.

The six-part series by the award-winning creators and writers of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, Ashley Pharoah and Matthew Graham, will broadcast on ITV from this week and revolves around two central characters, Zak and Tom, who are angels sent to Earth.

The series was made by Kudos Film & Television and Monastic Productions, who used the University’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television’s superb facilities for auditioning and rehearsals.

Locations across campus feature in the drama series, including the York Law School’s Moot Court room. Ollie was also one of 30 students on the BSc Film and Television course who acted as extras in a nightclub scene filmed at The Gallery.

Although I’d done commercial work during my gap year before University and holidays, I’d never been involved in a TV drama and everything was on a much bigger scale

Ollie Richards

Ollie, from Stansted, Essex, originally secured two weeks work experience with Kudos and started as an assistant to a camera trainee. However, the second week he was made a camera trainee, a paid position.

Ollie, 21, said: “I had the opportunity to work with a camera team for two weeks. They were long days, but a lot of fun and the time certainly didn’t drag. The crew were using revolutionary, high end cameras - Arri Alexa - which are able to record really high definition video, so you could see you were helping to make a really quality product.

“My role was to assist a small camera team of five, making sure monitors were plugged in and set up, changing lenses and getting filters. The crew were great to get on with and kept commenting on how hospitable everyone in York was. Most of them were in the city for three months, staying in flats or hotels and working long days. It gave me a real insight into the commitment you need to work on this kind of large-scale production.”

The Department of Theatre, Film and Television at York offers some of the best professional production facilities of any UK university. The £30 million building, which opened in September 2010, boasts a media complex of two theatres, two television studios, a large sound stage, production labs, extensive post-production facilities and a digital cinema, as well as rehearsal and changing rooms.

As well as Kudos Film & Television, the facilities have also been used by other external users, including the Press Association and Al Jazeera. With the official launch of its new commercial arm Heslington Studios next month, the University is anticipating a high demand for its facilities and equipment from the production industry.

Professor Andrew Higson, Head of the University’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television, said: “Having a major television drama filmed in York was a great boost for all our students, but also a wonderful opportunity to show off our facilities to one of the UK’s leading production companies. Kudos were certainly impressed with what they saw. Developing links with such companies is vital for us, in terms of both networking and experience for our students and highlighting our own production and post-production facilities which are available for commercial work.”

Ollie believes his experience on Eternal Law will be invaluable in helping him further his ambition of becoming a Director of Photography. “Although I’d done commercial work during my gap year before University and holidays, I’d never been involved in a TV drama and everything was on a much bigger scale, closer to film production,” he said. “I’m hoping to find similar work through the contacts I’ve made.

“Being an extra was also really useful for everyone on my course as it was a good opportunity for us to speak to the production crew. They knew we were on a film and television course and were very willing to answer any questions we had.”

The first episode of Eternal Law will be screened on ITV1 on 5 January at 9pm.

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