Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies

Rich Davis, French with Film and Television Studies BA

Rich Davis - picture 1

Rich talks to us about his uni experience including clearing, housemates and an exciting year abroad.

He also talks about his role in broadcast journalism and how he would never have ended up there had it not been for a disappointing rejection in his early career.

How did you choose your course?

"Initially, I had hoped to study drama but didn't do so well in my A-Levels and ended up going through Clearing. On results day, I phoned several Clearing hotlines and Nottingham offered me a place to study French with Film and Television. I hadn't even visited Nottingham at that point, but thought the course sounded interesting and the prospect of a year abroad was very attractive. So I decided to give it a go and ended up loving my uni experience!  

I was really lucky with my year abroad, I split my time across two very different locations. I spent the first semester on Reunion in the Indian Ocean. There I had modules in scuba diving, surfing and hiking. Then my second semester was spent working for a ski company in the Alps.

Even though I don't have the opportunity to use my French skills very often, I would always recommend that prospective students study a language. It's a great skill that you'll always have and the year abroad is great for building your independence."

What did your parents think of your subject choice?

"My parents were always keen for me to study STEM subjects as they believed those subjects would be my way into a 'proper' job. They just wanted me to have the best opportunities. I compromised with my A-Levels taking French, physics, maths and drama but when I got to 17/18, I realised STEM just wasn't for me. I never fell out with my parents about it, but they didn't understand my desire to work in a creative industry when other, non-arts subjects offered clearer career destinations.

But in the end, when it came to going to uni, they wanted me to study something I had an interest in. If I was going to dedicate three years of my life to it, it had to be something that I really wanted to focus on." 

How did you meet people and make new friends?

"I wasn't able to live in halls like most first years do, but instead lived in a houseshare in Lenton, which had never been the plan. The uni organised a get-to-know-you session for all the first years in this situation during which we had to pick who we were going to live with, it was really daunting. Fortunately, I met some brilliant housemates and I'm still friends with them today.

I loved meeting loads of new people at uni and there were so many ways to do it, obviously there were my housemates and people on my course, but I also joined a few societies. I particularly enjoyed the drama society, so I got to find my drama outlet after all. 

In my final year a group of students decided to set up Nottingham Students' Television, which is still going strong. I really enjoyed running around campus with a camera, and I guess in some ways, it was a prelude to the career I have today. 

The social side of university really helped my confidence as I used to be quite a shy person.

As a teenager, I'd sign up to extrovert activities, like drama, but underneath it I didn't feel confident at all. So through socialising at university, joining societies and living abroad for a year, I gradually built up my confidence. So much so that I have found myself in a place where I now feel comfortable presenting on live television and interacting with members of public for work."

Tell us about your role at BBC East Midlands

"My role at BBC East Midlands is a mixture of being a broadcast journalist and weather presenter.

As a broadcast journalist, my role is essentially to report stories. But how that looks can change from day to day. Some days I might be writing copy and editing pictures in the newsroom and then other days, I may be chasing up information for stories from our office and when there is a major news story I could be out assisting a reporter or producer.

Then the weather presenter role covers presenting on radio, TV and occasionally online. Each morning, I speak to a team of forecasters who give me the scientific forecast, and it's my job to turn that complex information into more conversational content that an audience at home can understand.

So even though my roles are quite different, they both share the key skill of taking something complicated and translating it into engaging stories for an audience. Learning a langauge, and my year abroad, has definitely contributed towards me having the confidence to do this.

But I didn't go straight from uni to the BBC. After graduating, it was a really challenging time to get a job. Eventually, I managed to get a contract working with Deloitte in recruitment. Despite having studied film and TV, and wanting to work in those industries, I actually really enjoyed that job. I enjoyed meeting all these really smart people and learning about how big companies work. So I asked if I could transfer over to their grad scheme. When the answer came back as no, I was very disappointed. 

If I look at that rejection from where I am now, it was a good thing. It's got me here, it made me take stock and decide what I really wanted to do.
It was after this disappointment that I decided to pursue broadcast journalism and enrolled on a MA course at another university. I believe things happen for a reason, and that disappointment helped shape the future I have today."


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