Every year, BAFTA chooses 20 talented newcomers from the worlds of television, film and gaming to compile their roster of Breakthrough Brits. Through the initiative, the rising stars receive a year’s support from BAFTA and are mentored by some of the industry’s most established professionals.
It’s helped launch the careers of some of the UK’s best actors, including Spider-Man hero Tom Holland and Letitia Wright, the star of Marvel’s forthcoming Black Panther movie.
This year’s line-up includes the producer of Fleabag, the creators of This Country and the stars of Chewing Gum and Three Girls, to name a few.
Meet them all below and find out what’s in store for the young talent over the next year…
Lydia Hampson, producer
Hampson produces Phoebe Waller Bridge’s BAFTA-winning comedy Fleabag and is also an in-house producer at Harry and Jack Williams’ production company, Two Brothers.
The next series of Fleabag is due out in 2019, have you started working on it yet?
We haven’t actually started yet, Phoebe’s not written a letter down. But we’re shooting next summer into next autumn and we’ll get it onto the BBC for 2019. I wish I could hurry it up!
What exciting projects have you got coming up in the next year?
I’m working on Cheat which is a new four-parter for ITV. It’s a psychological thriller-drama written by Gaby Hull about two women: one is a professor at Cambridge university and the other is her student, and they sort of become obsessed with each other. It’s comparable to the dynamic in Notes on a Scandal between Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett. It’s shooting next spring.
What would you change about the TV industry if you could?
I think that in the UK it can sometimes be a little bit safe, because there are literally five channels and only recently are we starting to collaborate with Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and all those things, which is starting to open up avenues of different characters, messages and discussions.
But I think for so long, particularly with female characters, everyone says, ‘I don’t know if they’re that likeable?’ And you’re like, ‘Why is that important?’ You have to tick so many boxes because there are literally five 9pm slots and if you’re going to get one of them, you have to appeal to so many people.
If you try and make everyone’s favourite show, you end up making no one’s favourite show. But I do think that’s changing, Fleabag is not likeable at all times, she’s horrible sometimes and that was great to be allowed to explore that.
Daisy and Charlie Cooper, writer-actors
The Cooper siblings are the creators and stars of BBC3 comedy This Country, a mockumentary which explores the modern lives of young people in the Cotswolds.
You used to write This Country in a damp garage at the end of your garden. Have you upgraded since your new-found success?
Daisy: We have an office now. But we’ve also got a mouldy old lemon and a cardboard tube and we’ve just been playing baseball with them, because it’s so difficult when you’ve got writers block.
Charlie: We had only five or six months to write the second series and we had basically five years to write the first, so it took us a while to get into it this time around.
Who is your industry idol?
CC: We just got asked to write an article in The Big Issue by Armando Iannucci, who was guest editing for a week. We found out he’s a big fan of the show, that was amazing. Alan Partridge is my favourite show anyway so that was really cool.
What do you make of the state of comedy in the UK?
DC: What’s great is that with YouTube and stuff like that, people have got an outlet and we’re discovering so much more new talent through that.
CC: When you look at BBC3 with something like Fleabag as well, it’s such a good show.
DC: Michaela Coel, too. It’s an amazing time to be doing comedy.
CC: As a country, we’ve always done great comedy, why is that? Is it because life’s so s***? Music and comedy is what we’re good at.
DC: Especially for women at the moment, there’s a lot of female-led comedy. We should collaborate with some of these people!
Visit page 2 for our interviews with Chewing Gum’s Susan Wokoma, Three Girls’ Molly Windsor and Taboo’s Jessie Buckley