An Insider’s Story - Working in television

I’m the Head of Programming for Horse & Country TV (Sky 280), responsible for commissioning, acquiring and scheduling all programming for the channel. H&C’s programming focuses on horse riding and the British country lifestyle. I’ve been working in TV for over 15 years now. I first decided that I wanted to when, aged 11, I won a competition to appear on my favourite kids’ Saturday morning series, “No. 73″ on ITV. Being on the set of that show in Maidstone was such an exciting experience that I was determined to work in TV from that point.

People often ask me how to get into TV and I always say that you have to start by being passionate about television and wanting to work in this world and nowhere else, as it’s such a competitive industry. Personally, towards the end of my University years, I wrote to every TV company whose work I admired until, after plenty of standard rejection letters, someone from a production company gave me a chance for a meeting and then an offer to be a Runner/Junior Researcher. I do believe it’s important to work out which area of television you’d like to work in and, if that is production, then which genre of programme you’d like to work on and eventually make. Then I’d advise writing to TV professionals whose work you admire and ask if they’d take the time to meet you and give you some advice. If it works out, an enjoyable and exciting career could potentially await you – good luck!

Jonathan Rippon