The On-Screen Talent Market is a Sheffield Doc/Fest initiative to connect potential on-screen talent with producers, commissioners, and decision makers looking for fresh faces for their programmes. 

Launching as a scheme for UK-based talent in 2016, it included pitch training for academics and experts to hone their skills in presenting themselves to the media, ahead of one-to-one meetings with television executives.  

It was open to new on-screen talent from a diverse range of fields, whether it be science and engineering or arts and humanities, or anything in between. The participants were selected through an open call. 

If you have any queries about the On-Screen Talent Market, please email jenni.tuovinen@sidf.co.uk.

More information about the 2017 edition of the event can be found here


Meet our diverse group of selected talent 2016

From engineers to archaeologists, artists to anthropologists and journalists to hypnotherapists – the group of participants selected represented a wide range of fields and knowledge. The market provided a forum for these individuals keen on sharing their expert knowledge on screen to meet with producers, commissioners and decision makers looking for new talent. The shortlisted participants received pitch training leading up to the event, and met one-on-one with TV professionals.




Ami is an Oxford-trained Consultant Cardiologist, passionate about research, cardiology, global health and public understanding of science. After earning a Masters in Public Health at Harvard and working at the World Health Organization, he trained as a junior doctor around the UK. Ami is Senior Lecturer in Clinical Data Science at University College London.

Watch Ami's video here.



Emma is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with experience in manufacturing, research and teaching. Her research interests include vehicle and pedestrian safety, micro-engineering, computer modelling and IED mitigation technologies. She makes her own films to promote engineering to children (Engenius Films) and is currently a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University.

Watch Emma's video here.



Michael is a civil engineer living and working in south-east London. Following a Masters degree from University College London, including an international year in Hong Kong, Michael now works as a design engineer for an engineering contractor designing solutions for +£100m projects. Michael is also tetraplegic, a demographic underrepresented in mainstream media.

Watch Michael's video here.



Lisa is a molecular virologist with 18 years’ clinical/environmental microbiology experience. Previously, she focused on identifying genetic markers for ‘bad bugs’. Currently she is a Norovirus expert with Whole Genome Sequencing skills. She was also a 2014 Semi Finalist at the Funny Women Awards and 2015 Quarter Finalist for New Comedian of the Year.

Watch Lisa's video here.



Rosalind recently finished her PhD researching materials for storing hydrogen and has taken every opportunity to tell people about it. During her PhD she completed placements in parliament and a science radio show and competed in, judged and mentored science communication competitions.

Watch Rosalind's video here.



Efe honed her craft in television at MTV before entering the advertising industry. She is the founder of Ushine Ishine, a mentoring company. She has over 10 years’ experience in youth mentoring. She aims to inspire young people internationally with teachings of self-development and positivity.

Watch Efe's video here.



Kalpana is a financial journalist who regularly appears on television as a money expert. She is a columnist for Daily Mail’s Femail, writing about money. She is founder of MummyMoneyMatters.com. She is also ambassador for Global Money Week, which promotes financial education for children. Kalpana started her career at the Financial Times.

Watch Kalpana's video here.



Malminder is a widely-acclaimed Harley Street Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Master Coach and speaker, supporting clients with a large range of issues from confidence, self-esteem and relationship breakdowns, to nervousness, anxiety, weight loss and stress management. She is the most popular therapist on Twitter’s live stream app Periscope, accumulating over 60,000 followers. Malminder is author of Unleash your Inner Goddess and Stop Worryingand forthcoming How to Get Over your Ex.

Watch Malminder's video here.



Paul is an archaeologist, Egyptologist, writer and performer. His popular museum lectures have appeared in such media as BBC History Magazine’s Top Ten Things to Do. He is the current presenter for SEGA's Total War history documentaries and has worked with Sky, SyFy and numerous independent production companies.

Watch Paul's video here.



Craig holds an MA in Classical Art, Archaeology and History from Edinburgh University. He is an accomplished marksman, skier & athlete and has competed at an international level in military pentathlon. He has made ten appearances on the BBC 1 Inside Out show as their guest history presenter. Craig is also well versed in environmental and wildlife issues and art.

Watch Craig's video here.



Gayle is a large-scale public artist. She works outside of galleries with an aim to bring the art closer to the public eye. Her work includes landscapes made from rotting food and a concrete underpass transformed into a cave using 20,000 milk bottles. She is currently a Royal College of Art PhD Researcher.

Watch Gayle's video here.



James is the technical manager at Sheffield Robotics and a board member of the UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems network. His research blends engineering and psychology, modelling infant development and exploring trust in human-robot relationships. He is a TEDx speaker and ex-manager of the UK robot football team.

Watch James' video here.



Marcus is a journalist who has appeared in publications including The Guardian and The Independent. His biography of Robert Wyatt was a book of the week on Radio 4 and was shortlisted for the Penderyn Music Book Prize. He is a regular studio guest on BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 3 and he has released three acclaimed albums with Grasscut.

Watch Marcus' video here.



Named one of Britain’s 100 most entrepreneurial women, Kavita boasts a multi-million-pound portfolio. She earned a degree in Applied Chemistry before joining Bayer as a medical representative. She founded Oberoi Consulting, a provider of healthcare support services. Kavita owns multiple businesses and is a motivational speaker and brand ambassador for Rolls Royce. TV appearances include The Secret MillionaireThe Apprentice You’re Fired and Newsnight.

Watch Kavita's video here.



Kit is an evolutionary anthropologist at University College London. He focusses on tracing human social behaviour back to its primate roots, looking at why humans live in very large groups and why we are monogamous. His passions lie in communicating such complex evolutionary ideas to the public in new and engaging ways.

Watch Kit's video here.



Phil is a glacier scientist who undertakes scientific expeditions to some of the Earth’s last wilderness areas with locations ranging from the frozen wastes of the High-Arctic to the peaks of the Himalaya. He researches the response of glaciers to climate and believes passionately in public engagement with science.

Watch Phil's video here.



Adam is a cultural engagement fellow and teaching associate at the University of Sheffield and a part-time lecturer at York St John University. His work focusses on expressions of partisan identity in eighteenth-century periodical print. He is currently anthologising poems of protest published in Sheffield’s late eighteenth-century radical press.

Watch Adam's video here.



Jo is a current archaeology student at University of Southampton with research interests in maritime archaeology, feminist theory, prehistory, osteology and anthropology. Her projects have spanned England, the Iberian Peninsula and the Black Sea. Her intention is to question the past and present to offer prompts for public discussion.

Watch Jo's video here.


Television professionals who attended the 2016 event


Training programme speakers

Richard Bowron

Richard joined Love Productions as Head of Development in 2009. Previously at Shine, he was Head of Entertainment Development. Richard is an experienced programme maker, having worked at the BBC as a series producer and Head of Development, as well as for several production companies including RDF and Darlow Smithson. During this session, he will speak about how he develops ideas with on-screen talent attached to them and what a good pitch is from his experience, while also touching on the general dos and don’ts in the industry.

Saleyha Ahsan

Saleyha Ahsan is an emergency medicine doctor and a freelance filmmaker with a passion for current and foreign affairs. Currently she presents for BBC Science in the returning series Trust Me I'm A Doctor and for the BBC's One Show. In this session, Saleyha will talk about finding your own voice within the TV industry, touch upon both the practical and editorial issues involved with being an on-screen presenter and give her views on how it is combining television with other work.

Lucy Vernall

Lucy Vernall runs The Academic Ideas Lab, which has 7 years of experience working at the interface of broadcast media and research in British universities. It began at the University of Birmingham and its inception was thanks to the support of HEFCE’s Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). In 2015 Ideas Lab broadened to become available to all universities in the UK. It is the only service that works with academics to stimulate new research reaching wide audiences through radio and television documentary and factual series. Lucy will meet with the talent to discuss key presentation skills.


Talent agents who took meetings during training programme

Sophie Laurimore

Sophie Laurimore is an agent with 20 years' experience. She worked at two of the world’s largest and most respected agencies. After ten years at Peters Fraser & Dunlop, she took her client list with her to William Morris and there gained additional experience representing production companies and formats in America. Sophie launched Factual Management in 2009 enabling her to focus on the representation of exceptionally talented factual television Presenters. 2016 sees the launch of Factual Digital, a division which will dedicate itself to nurturing online talent who produce superb content. Lucy will meet with the talent to discuss key presentation skills.

Sue Rider

Sue Rider spent the early 80’s promoting Manchester bands before moving to Saudi Arabia to work in the Personnel Department of a Military Hospital. She returned to her home town of Manchester to study company law before joining indie TV company ACTION TIME as their Business Affairs Manager, where she worked on a number of light entertainment programmes and was Music Consultant on ‘The Michael Ball Show’ where she contracted major artists including Cher, The Bee Gees, Dusty Springfield and James Brown, and also a new local band called Take That. She moved to London to join talent agency JGPM where she worked with some of the biggest names in radio, helped put Street Magic on television, and introduced a number of ‘experts’ to the world of media. In 2005 she set up SRM and is responsible for developing the media career of names such as Dr Christian Jessen, Dr Kevin Fong, Dr Hannah Fry, Dr Michael Scott & Professor Brian Cox.

Debbie Catchpole

Fresh Partners is run by Debbie Catchpole who has been an agent for over 15 years. She works with talent across all areas including TV, licensing, radio, PR campaigns, online and publishing. She specialises in working with experts and her list includes Jimmy Doherty, Katie Piper, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Tim Lovejoy. She has done deals as diverse as launching Laurence’s lingerie range in China to Tim Lovejoy fronting a commercial for Aunt Bessies Yorkshire puddings. For more info please have a look at www.fresh-partners.com.


Producers, commissioners and organisations who took meetings in The On-Screen Talent Market:

Jago Lee, Managing Director, NERD

Patrick McMahon, Head of Development, 7Wonder

Leili Farzaneh, Senior Development Producer, Minnow Films

Dan Glew, Head of Development, Fullfat TV

Rob Butterfield, Head of Factual, Ricochet

Kate Vines, Development Executive, Sundog Pictures

Deborah Dudgeon, Producer, Whistledown

Eliana Capitani, Development Producer,TwentyTwenty

Helena Braun, Development Producer, Wingspan

Jinal Patel, Executive Producer, Woodcut Media

Zoe Heron, Executive Producer, BBC Horizon

Oliver Wilson, Executive Producer, Production & Development Factual, Discovery

Emma Cahusac, Commissioning Executive Producer - Arts, Music and Events, BBC Arts Commissioning

Larry WalfordDevelopment Executive Producer, Tiger Aspect

Amy RuffellSenior Development Producer, Tiger Aspect

Liz Hartford, Managing Director, Matchlight

Jessica McGinn, Past Preservers


Intersted in taking part in 2017?

We have now launched the application round for the 2017 edition of this initiative - read more here. The layout of the day will be similar to 2016, with a training focused morning session and afternoon one-to-one pitches. If you're an academic or an expert interested in sharing your expertise on screen, or a development producer interested in finding talented new collaborators, please feel free to get in touch with Marketplace Sessions Coordinator Jenni Tuovinen (jenni.tuovinen@sidf.co.uk) for any questions you may have.