Student blog: Business Society heads to Channel 4

Wednesday 15th May 2019

Last month, the Business Society headed off to Channel 4 for what we thought was just going to be a tour of the studios. It turned out to be much, much more… 

On arrival we were given two fantastic presentations from Barra Fitzgibbon, the Continuity Creative Manager for Channel 4, and David Monahan, the Commercial Content Senior Analyst for Channel 4. Barra and David were just amazing and gave us a really interesting glimpse into the world of television and the business processes that underpin the delivery of creative content. Some of us had met Barra before when he delivered our graduation address last year in Senate House. He was just as engaging, entertaining and insightful as he was back then.

The presentations were followed by a tour of the building where we saw first hand the busy work environment that keeps Channel 4 on air. I think I speak for all of us when I say how welcoming everyone was and how impressed we were with the fresh and energetic atmosphere that permeates the place.

Then the real surprise came. We were brought downstairs to the studios and told we had to write and record a continuity announcement for our favourite programme on TV. The initial surprise soon turned to excitement as we set about getting the task done. It’s fair to say Bloomsbury Institute has more than one budding continuity announcer in its midst!

Here’s what Barra had to say about how we did:

One of my own key roles at Channel 4 is to be continually on the look-out for new voices and new talent. Having a group of young, diverse and interesting people with a willingness to learn was too much of an opportunity to miss.

Wow. I got the group into a booth to record a voice over introduction to a Channel 4 programme of their choice. From Big Narstie to Made In Chelsea, Countdown to Come Dine With Me, this diverse group of young people not only rose to the challenge, but delivered.

I was genuinely bowled over. I’ve had people (many celebrities who’ll of course remain nameless!) unable to speak with nerves when they open the mic. No such nerves here. All showed potential and with some training I’d be confident that they could make it in the voice over world.

There were even some voices I would have been happy to have on air straight away!

Everybody brought a freshness in their energy and in their script writing. It made me think, I’ve got to up my game!

We not only had an amazing time at Channel 4, but we also came away from the trip having learnt a lot about the industry. Television, advertising and sales are much deeper and entangled than we would have assumed before our visit. David’s presentation was extremely detailed and gave a practical and specialised example of some of the topics we study: identifying opportunities and risks, market segmentation, project planning and implementation and finance. It opened our eyes to how everyday topics we study are regularly implemented in the business world.

A big thanks to the SEWS team for making this happen and to Barra and the gang at Channel 4 for making our day so enjoyable.

Emeka Okeke, Business Society Leader