Olivia Howie

BA Music and Drama, 2010

Development Researcher, Reef Television

Olivia Howie

My role is to generate, research and pitch new ideas across the specialist and popular factual genres to television channels, focusing on music and arts programmes. I write programme proposals to send to commissioners; organise and attend meetings with on-screen talent, authors and experts; and help shoot and edit taster tapes. I update and inform my executives of relevant industry news, television schedules and ratings.

My job allows me to find out about people’s lives whether it be in the past or present, whether they be famous or unknown but with an incredible story to tell. I love seeing the finished product on television and I particularly enjoy working with talent, helping to make their passions into a programme that might inspire others. I enjoy getting paid to learn!

Having a music and drama degree from the University of Manchester played a huge part in helping me to land my first researcher job; thanks to my specialist knowledge I gained a position in television on BBC2’s Proms Extra, which was followed by my current job at Reef. I recently played a major role in developing our BBC2 programme La Traviata: Love, Death and Divas. This was thanks to the knowledge I acquired about opera whilst studying with Susan Rutherford, who helped me with a bulk of the research and ended up appearing as a key expert in the film! The drama course enabled me to make two short films, planning, shooting and editing the ideas from scratch. This helped me to develop my editorial, practical and team-working skills which were directly transferrable to my roles in television.