Jessicah North

Holly Allen


Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a self-shooting Producer/Director, Development producer and Edit producer who is also a Ones to Watch delegate 2021. Across my career I have worked on shows such as “The Doctor who gave up Drugs”, “The Real Eastenders” and recently “Project Icon”. I also had a role in the early stages of Rap Game UK’s conception and went on to work on the first 2 seasons of the show. I’m from humble beginnings and graduated from Bournemouth University completing the well-known Television Production Course.

I am passionate about telling human stories and giving an insight to different worlds and communities. I founded a group called WWETHNICS, whose aim is to educate on unconscious bias and diversity on and off screen, as well as being a platform for People Of Colour in the industry to be able to network and find support. Through WWETHNICS, I have organised events to introduce companies to a diverse talent pool.

I am proudly Neurodivergent and a huge mental health advocate. I work with the charity RETHINK as a media volunteer, and use my personal experience to share how mental health and Neurodivergence plays out in real life. This is something that also helps me editorially being able to interact, and relate to contributors for a wide variety of backgrounds. As well as encourage trust and positive vulnerability. I believe that good television has the power to educate, create connections and bridge gaps of understanding in the modern world. I hope to continue to make films that not only entertain but also challenges our perceptions and biases


Did you always want to work in TV? How did you land your first role?  

My first role in TV was as an office runner at Raw TV. Despite studying at Bournemouth, I had no connections to the industry and was in fear of my CV getting lost amongst a sea of other graduates desperate to start a career in Television. I was determined to stand out of the crowd. I brainstormed a multitude of ways to make that happen, until landing on one – baked goods! I ordered 10 empty cookie boxes online, spent 12 hours baking and packaging until I was ready to make my mark. I created a list of production companies that had made my favourite documentaries and the next day I walked from production company to production company delivering cookies with my CV and cover letter attached to the top. The hard work paid off as quickly landed a job at the prestigious Raw TV.


What is your film about?   

My documentary delves into the exploration of a startling statistic: in the UK Black men are the most likely to experience serious mental health issues but the least likely to receive support. Presenter Alex Beresford, who tragically lost a close friend to suicide, embarks on a quest to understand the reasons behind this disparity and why his friend felt compelled to suffer in silence. Joining him on this journey of discovery is Shocka, a musician and mental health advocate who has faced his own battles, having been sectioned four times. As Shocka pursues a potential record deal, he seeks to unravel why his mental health as a black man has been so vulnerable to deterioration. Along the way, Alex will meet with experts, community leaders, and notable individuals, aiming to comprehend the dangerous challenges that black, male, British individuals face and explore potential measures to mitigate this alarming issue. By shedding light on the magnitude of this problem within British society, Alex hopes to initiate an essential conversation about men’s mental health.


What has been your biggest challenge during the filming making process?  

Something like men’s mental health is such a vast subject that has so many points you could delve into and explore. To fit it all in 46 minutes was a challenge


What was your favourite part about making it?   

Mental health is a subject extremely close to my heart. And it was a privilege to be able to shine a light on a topic that is so important but also that I have lived.


What would your advice be for someone stepping up into a PD role?  

No 2 PD’s are the same so be yourself and don’t try to be anyone else. Also remember that in this industry, editorial topics are often subjective and can be influenced by lived experiences, industry experience & education. So trust your instinct, but also listen and be open to advice.


And lastly, what are your favourite TV shows of all time and what are you watching at the moment?

My Favourite of all time is difficult, I have an eclectic taste. Some of my favourite shows include, QI, anything Attenborough or Louis theroux, Subnormal: A British Scandal as well as having a soft spot for Made in Chelsea, Come dine with me, Bake off and Celebrity, Master Chef. Recently I have watched the kidnap of Angel Lynn, I escaped my killer and TOWIE