12 Days of Freshers

12 Days of Freshers: The UoN Alumni Who Made It In The Media World

Emily Fletcher

Beginning university is certainly a daunting notion for some but it’s the chance to pursue endless opportunities to assist in making a name for yourself in a career you love. Some alumni have stepped into the limelight of film and television stardom, whether walking the red carpet, or staying behind the screen. Here we’ll take a look at some of the biggest names in film and television to come out of the University of Nottingham, and hopefully find some inspiration to follow in their footsteps!

Actress Ruth Wilson is perhaps the most recognisable face among the famous alumni, having starred in BBC’s Luther, His Dark Materials, The Affair, and Mrs Wilson as well as in the eponymous role of the BBC’s adaptation of Jane Eyre. She has also graced the big screen in the likes of Disney’s Saving Mr Banks (2013), The Lone Ranger, (2013) and Dark River. (2017). Alongside this impressive resume, she has also been nominated for BAFTAs, Tony’s, Golden Globes, and Olivier awards, having won the latter two. She graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2003 with a degree in History and acted and directed several productions at the student-run Nottingham New Theatre during her time here.

Also among the most notable actors are Theo James, who starred as the romantic interest Four in the tween hit Divergent trilogy, had a fleeting role as a Turkish diplomat in Downton Abbey, and more recently in the TV adaptation of Sanditon (2019), and British indie sci-fi Archive (2020). He has also been seen as the face of Hugo Boss and runs his own production company. He received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Nottingham in 2007 and was also a part of our Nottingham New Theatre before training in acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Graduate work might not be so scary after all!?

Other faces in front of the screen include BAFTA and Olivier nominated actress Haydn Gwynne who studied Sociology, BBC meteorologist Helen Willetts who earned a first in Physics in 1993, and former Sky News presenter and BBC business editor Jeff Randall who received his degree in Economics from the University of Nottingham.

Many highly influential figures behind the screens and sitting at some of the most important tables in the media world also had their start at our own UoN. Peter Rice is currently the Chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, overseeing many of your favourite Disney+, ABC, Fox, FX, and Hulu shows, which includes the likes of American Horror Story, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, This is Us, and Modern Family to name just a few. He had his start working in marketing at Fox after graduating from university (gives us hope that the graduate work might not be so scary after all!?).

Clive Hollick, now to be found in the halls of the House of Lords as Lord Hollick, was the former CEO of United News and Media until 2005 as one of the most influential bodies in global news distribution and ownership of subsidiaries in ITV and Channel 5. He studied Politics, Psychology, and Sociology at the University of Nottingham before embarking on these pursuits.

Finally, the late Sir Robert Phillis received a knighthood for his contributions to the media world as Chief Executive of the Guardian Media Group and Deputy Director-General of the BBC. He has been recognised by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for his contributions to the media world in a career that spanned three decades. He received a first-class degree in Industrial Economics from our University of Nottingham.

These alumni certainly wouldn’t have gotten where they are without making the most of their time at the University of Nottingham

If your ambitions lie within the media world, there is clearly hope yet for your dreams! But one thing is for sure, these alumni certainly wouldn’t have gotten where they are without making the most of their time at the University of Nottingham. Take some advice from a graduate and take every opportunity you can, Nottingham certainly has many of them. Try your hand at directing or acting in the only completely student-run theatre, the Nottingham New Theatre, take to the stage and sing your heart out with Musicality or our a cappella groups, or get writing for our very own Impact and explore and share your interests with your student community.

Good luck Freshers and enjoy every second of it!

Emily Fletcher

Featured Image courtesy of Baim Hanif via Unsplash. Image use license found here. No changes made to this image.

In article image 1 courtesy of darkmaterialsofficial via Instagram. No changes made to these images.

In article image 2 courtesy of thedivergentseries via Instagram. No changes made to these images.

In article image 3 courtesy of ahsfx via Instagram. No changes made to these images.

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12 Days of FreshersEntertainmentFilm & TV

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