A new BBC wildlife documentary series narrated by Ewan McGregor has offered fantastic career opportunities for two talented University of the West of Scotland (UWS) alumni.
Stormborn, which launches on BBC One Scotland on Monday 30 November at 9pm, is a three-part wildlife series set in the wild lands of Norway, Scotland and Iceland, capturing some of the world’s most hardy animals.
The series was produced by Glasgow-based production company Maramedia and funded by Screen Scotland – and gave two UWS Broadcast Production: TV and Radio graduates the chance to advance their careers.
UWS graduate Manal Al Barghouti got started on the series as a data assistant straight from completing her degree with UWS in 2019. On the production, Manal worked alongside fellow UWS alumna Fiona Donaldson, who graduated from the same degree programme in 2016, and worked as an assistant producer.
Manal said: “Stormborn was an amazing project to work on as a data assistant. It's beautifully shot and made, on a scale that for me was staggering when I first started, right after graduating from University of the West of Scotland. I learned something new every day, and afforded me a lot of opportunities to grow in my field.”
Fiona added: “Working on the wildlife drama series Stormborn allowed me to progress from a researcher to an assistant producer. It saw me travel all over Scotland, including my first ever trip to Shetland and then on to Norway, to an island so far north it’s just inside the arctic circle.
“This series has been one of the most breathtakingly beautiful pieces we’ve ever worked on and I’ve been incredibly lucky to be a part of it all and to have been given the responsibility of helping bring Maramedia's visions of Stormborn to life.”
UWS’s Broadcast Production degree is taught at the University’s Ayr campus. The hands-on programme is developed to prepare students for success in the broadcast industry, working in the University’s radio and television studios, using the latest broadcasting facilities and digital sound and editing suites.
Paul Tucker, a senior lecturer on the degree programme who worked with both Manal and Fiona, said: “Fiona and Manny were fantastic students, and it gives the Broadcast Production team great pleasure to see them making such good use of their degree. Credit must go to Maramedia for giving them the opportunity and for supporting them to develop in the job and help produce such a beautiful programme.”
Jackie Savery, director and founder at Maramedia, said: “Stormborn has been a fantastic project to really grow the abilities of our team and push the boundaries of technical expertise in Glasgow.
“We took on new graduate Manal Al Barghouti directly from a media degree at University of the West of Scotland – she has become a full-time data wrangler managing the transcodes for this UHD HDR delivery.
“The project has also given Maramedia team member Fiona Donaldson – also an alumni from University of the West of Scotland – valuable directing and producing experience and the chance step up to a fully-fledged AP, giving her the experience of setting up a foreign shoot. It’s fantastic to have been able to grow the team in this specialist field.”