Ellie Darvill Kicks off her Induction Week today as winner of The Norman Beaton Fellowship for BBC Radio Drama
Absolutely thrilled and delighted to be the winner of this award.. It’s been an exciting and challenging process and I’m really looking forward to be working at Broadcasting House – London W1A 1AA!!
People have asked me about the process, what did I have to do, how did I get on to it etc.. so reflecting back – I realised for me actually the process started many, many years ago.
I was born and brought up in Toxteth in South Liverpool – Copperfield Street – all the local streets were named after Dicken’s characters – And being from Liverpool I naturally had a Liverpool accent. It was very cool to have a Liverpool accent as a teenager in the Sixties because of the Beatles! I also had one Grandma, Bertha Joyce Roberts from Wales who had married a man from Liverpool and my other Nan was Maggie Finegan from Dundalk in Southern Ireland who, likewise, married into a Liverpool family. So I was brought up surrounded by a range of strong accents and I found myself naturally speaking with an Irish accent when talking with one Nan and Welsh with the other… and it went on from there… really curious and fascinated by the way people speak, ‘collecting’ voices and accents all my life and I’ve have had many paid gigs as a Voice Over and I used to do ‘presenting’ on Radio when Schools on 5 first started, as well as working in children’s TV for 15 years, voicing many characters.
I have attended a number of voice workshops and classes – at LAMDA and RADA and with the likes of Cecily Berry which were invaluable and I’ve taught and coached students for LAMDA exams, on Drama Courses, private clients for public speaking for interviews and corporate delivery and voice workshops for teachers…
So although I didn’t attend a 3 year Drama school course, I now realise I have gained so much experience and knowledge over the years by self education, and just doing it!
When I got the call from the Rep to attend a workshop – I really didn’t know too much about what I was going for – I filled in the appropriate forms, prepared a couple of pieces… There were about a dozen people there on that particular day but I don’t know how many other days were run. We did normal warm up type exercises and we were given various scripts to read out loud in a group, duologues to work on etc. In the afternoon we were invited in one by one to record our prepared pieces and a sight reading with a sound recordist and a producer, Kim Greengrass, from the BBC in Birmingham.
A few days later I was informed that I was being put forward to the next round in London – prepare more pieces etc – and it went on from there until the finals.
After that first workshop at the Rep we all received really detailed and constructive written feedback from Kim and that in its self was really useful and greatly appreciated.
Where now? Well – the ‘prize’ is a 5 month contract as part of the BBC Radio Rep company based in London. So it will mean spending up to 6 days a week there as you need to be London based for the duration. We will be doing plays, narration, reading stories, links – all sorts – for both Radio 4 and the World Service.
However, I do have one particular goal I want to achieve while I am there and that is to do the Shipping Forecast – just the once even… The 10 to 1 in the morning one – with not only the sea areas but all the coastal stations and the forecast for the inshore waters!
So fingers crossed – Machrihanish Automatic here I come!