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NEWS > Alumnae News > Revealing What Goes on Behind the Cameras

Revealing What Goes on Behind the Cameras

Executive producer Ellie Wood, Class of 1993, took a break from filming her new TV drama to beam in live while on location to talk to L6 students last month.

The three-part series for ITV is called Stonehouse and tells the story of disgraced Labour minister John Stonehouse and stars Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes. It’s currently filming in the Midlands.

She told pupils that the most important attributes for working in film and TV are to be creative, positive and full of energy. Displaying all those qualities in abundance herself, Ellie recounted how she started her career as a casting assistant, before moving on to script editing and then getting into production and setting up her own film company four years ago.

“Even now when you watch something you really enjoy, start to really analyse it,” she told students. “Ask yourself ‘why do I like this?’, ‘who is it written by?’. If you begin to interrogate your tastes and interests, you can build up knowledge of the business and develop your own style. That’s important if you want to work in this industry.”

Over the years she has worked on many of TV’s biggest shows, including Casualty, The Line of Beauty, Bleak House and Peaky Blinders. Her biggest film to date is the smash-hit Netflix movie The Dig, starring Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes and Lily James.

It tells the real-life story of the astonishing discovery of an Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, and has been watched by millions of people.  But it took Ellie 15 long years to bring it to the screen.  “You don’t come across such good stories that often and I always believed that audiences would be drawn to it, so I just kept going. I’m so glad I did, it’s ended up being much bigger than I ever could have imagined.”

Students were particularly keen to find out the inside track about Peaky Blinders, which Ellie helped develop as well as working on the first two series. She hopes to visit the school in person next term to talk to pupils with a special interest in working in the film and TV industry.

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