top of page

WHO'S IN THE house?


International Women’s Day

08 March 2021 | 19:00 - 20:30

See our brilliant guest hosts and select three people you’d like to meet in The House and you can then sign up to your preferred rooms once we release places for all rooms. 

Once you’ve registered to reserve your place in The House, you will receive an email asking you to submit your choices in the coming days. 



Meera Syal 

Actor & Writer

Meera Syal is a writer and actress with a number of television, theatre and film credits. This includes Beautiful Thing, Doctor Strange, Paddington 2 and Yesterday.

She was the writer/performer in the multi award-winning comedy series Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars At Number 42. Syal also wrote the screenplays for the films Bhaji On The Beach, Anita And Me and My Sister Wife. 

Syal is the recipient of several national awards including two British Comedy Awards and two International. In 2015, she was awarded the CBE for Services to Drama and Literature. 



Lesley Sharp


Lesley Sharp is a stage, film and television actress whose credits include Clocking Off, Bob & Rose, Vera Drake and Afterlife. She was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the film The Full Monty

Between 2011 and 2016, she starred as DC Janet Scott in the ITV drama Scott & Bailey. Recent credits include Three Girls and Living the Dream


Cherylee Houston 2.JPG

Cherylee Houston

WFTV Board Member, Actor

Cherylee Houston is an actress who is best known for playing Izzy Armstrong in Coronation Street, and in 2019 completed her fifth season as the lead character in Tinsel Girl on BBC Radio 4. 

She set up the organisation Triple C to address the problems disabled people encounter accessing and participating in the arts. DANC (the Disabled Artists Networking Community) is another key Triple C initiative, which in less than two years has begun to have a real impact on the employment of disabled artists. The group now runs regular events at popular arts venues in Manchester and London and is a strategic partner with the BFI. 


Caroline Hollick - Headshot.JPG

Caroline Hollick

Head of Drama, Channel 4

Caroline is Head of Drama at Channel 4, and lives in Leeds. Her first commission for the channel was Deadwater Fell by Daisy Coulam; new dramas include Adult Material by Lucy Kirkwood and It’s a Sin by Russell T Davies, along with ongoing series Ackley Bridge and Hollyoaks

Previously, she was Creative Director at Studio-Canal owned RED Production Company. Before that she was Head of Development at RED for seven years and she began her career as a production trainee at Yorkshire Television. 


Emma Loach - Headshot.jpg

Emma Loach

Commissioning Editor, BBC Documentary

Emma Loach is a Commissioning Editor in the BBC Documentary department. Recent credits include Katie Price: Harvey and Me; Hospital, Subnormal, Black Power and Louis Theroux: Life on The Edge. 

She is responsible for a large range of output across all channels such as The Met and Nadiya: Anxiety and Me on BBC One; Louis Theroux, The Case of Sally Challen on BBCTwo; Hometown with Mobeen Azhar and Acid Attack: My Story on BBC3.  

Before joining the BBC, as an executive producer Emma was responsible for helping to originate and deliver the Ambulance brand for BBC1, The Trial for C4 and a diverse range of series and singles across all the channels. 


Lara Akeju - Headshot.JPG

Lara Akeju

Commissioning Editor, Entertainment

As Commissioning Editor, Entertainment Lara is responsible for ITV's daytime entertainment series including The Chase, Tenable, John and Lisa's Weekend Kitchen, James Martin's Islands to Highlands, Lingo, Winning Combination and All Around Britain.  

Lara has over 20 years’ experience in television production across multiple genres and spent many years as a freelance shooting producer/director working with UK broadcasters and international NGOs. Before joining ITV Lara was a commissioning executive at Channel 5 and worked at Channel 4 where she was the project lead for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.  


Laurie Nunn.jpg

Laurie Nunn


Laurie is a writer of film, television and theatre. She studied writing and directing at the VCA school of Film and TV in Melbourne, and then completed an MA in screenwriting at the National Film and Television School in the UK. Since graduating, she has developed original projects with Eleven Film/Channel 4, Kudos Film and Television, Wigwam Films and Revolution Films.  

Laurie’s first play King Brown was workshopped at the National Theatre Studio and went on to win a Judges award at the 2017 Bruntwood Prize. Laurie is the creator of the original dramedy series Sex Education which is currently streaming on Netflix and was the winner of the Women in Film and TV New Talent Award in 2019. 



Anna Hall

Creative Director, Candour Productions

Anna has been making films for over 20 years. She's the winner of 2013 Women in Film & TV BBC News & Factual Award, has been nominated for six BAFTAs and is the only woman ever to be nominated in two consecutive years for the BAFTA CRAFT Best Factual Director Award.  

Best known for her 17-year enquiry into gang grooming, she broke the child sexual exploitation story in 2004 with her first feature length doc Edge of the City for Channel 4 and continues to cover hard-hitting stories. Last year she made The Family Secret for Channel 4, which was nominated for Best Single Documentary at the BAFTAs. 

The director's den - FACTUAL

Brian Hill - Headshot.jpg

Brian Hill

Documentary & MD, Century Films

Brian Hill works in both documentary and drama, and sometimes in a hybrid space between the two; as in films such as Feltham Sings, Drinking For England and Songbirds.


His films have played at festivals all over the world, including Sundance, Rome, Tribeca, IDFA,  CPH:Dox, Sydney and Barcelona. He has won three BAFTAs and been nominated another seven times. In 2015 Bertha Dochouse showed a weeklong retrospective of Hill’s work. His most recent output includes Unprecedented, a series of 14 short dramas for the BBC about living in isolation during the pandemic.


Actors in that series included Gemma Arterton, Lennie James, Rory Kinnear, Paterson Joseph and Geraldine James. He is currently making a film for the BBC with the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, about the pandemic. 



Philippa Lowthorpe


Philippa Lowthorpe is an award-winning TV and film director. She started out in documentaries before moving into drama with Eight Hours from Paris and The Other Boleyn Girl, which she adapted and directed, for BBC Films.  

Her recent credits include Misbehaviour, Five Daughters and Series 2 of The Crown
Philippa was the first woman to be awarded a BAFTA for Best Director Fiction in 2013 and she gained her second BAFTA for directing in 2018 for the multi award-winning Three Girls. She was also the winner of the Women in Film and TV Director Award in 2017. 


Jess Fowle - Headshot.jpg

Jess Fowle

Creative Director and Founder, True North

Jess Fowle is one of the co-founders and Creative Directors of True North. With bases in Leeds and Manchester, True North makes factual formats and long-running series that are enjoyed across the world. 

In a 30-year career in factual television, Jess has made everything from long-running multi-episode series to immersive one-off docs. At True North, Jess specialises in Children’s, Daytime and Features content – delivering returning brands like The Pets Factor, A New Life in the Sun and Building the Dream.  She’s also behind some of the company’s pop-docs including My Mums Used to Be Men and My Fake Baby. 


Abigail Hughes - Headshot.jpg

Abigail Hughes

Vice President Growth, Premier Digital

For the past 25 years Abigail Hughes has traversed much of the TV landscape with a focus on technology. Abigail has an in-depth knowledge of content distribution, sales, rights management, and technical and business operations.  

Abigail previously worked at BBC Studios, where she led the digital supply chain transformation as SVP of Global Sales Operations. She also oversaw distribution for Sony Pictures Entertainment as VP, Sales Planning and Operations for EMEA and at Sony DADC New Media Solutions led the establishment of a partnership with Adstream to support theatrical marketing asset management and music promo delivery.   

A full-time working mum of three, Abigail is a great champion of women working in the world of technology.   


Amy Ball headshot.PNG

Amy Ball

Casting Director

Amy Ball is a Casting Director working across theatre, film and TV.  In January she completed casting on Ballywalter, an independent film produced by Empire Street Productions, Riverstone Pictures and Out of Orbit, with support from the BFI and Northern Ireland Film. Other recent credits include Uncle Vanya for Sonia Friedman Productions / Angelica Films, Albion for Almeida Productions / BBC, and Unprecedented for Headlong / BBC.  

Prior to setting up her own company Amy was Head of Casting at the Royal Court Theatre for ten years where she cast all productions for the Theatre Upstairs and Downstairs including Hangmen; Escaped Alone; Linda; Liberian Girl; The Twits; Violence and Son and How to Hold Your Breath


Shaheen Baig

Shaheen Baig

Casting Director

Shaheen Baig is a London based Casting Director known for working with emerging new filmmakers and established directors across Film and Television. Film credits include the debut features of Anton Corbijn, William Oldroyd, Francis Lee, Idris Elba and Sally El Hosaini and working with established directors such as Sean Durkin, Clio Barnard, Ben Wheatley, Carol Morley, Paolo Sorrentino, JA Bayona, Peter Strickland and David Mackenzie.


Recent film work includes Everybody's talking about Jamie, Supernova, Calm with horses, Mogul Mowgli and most recently Reggie Yates debut feature Pirates. Shaheen has also worked on several acclaimed television projects including all six series of Peaky Blinders as well as Three Girls, Black Mirror, National Treasure, Man Like Mobeen, The Virtues for C4, Giri/Haji for BBC2 and The Third Day for HBO/Sky Atlantic.
Shaheen is a member of BAFTA, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Casting Directors Guild of Great Britain & Ireland. In 2004 Shaheen was awarded the Best New Talent Award by Women In Film and Television.


Jaine Green headshot.jpg

Jaine Green

Head of Content,

Jaine has always had a passion for short films. In 2016 she co-founded the Discover Film Awards and has subsequently launched, the global platform for quality short form entertainment. Discover films is dedicated to taking short films mainstream and the app is now available on smart TV’s and over 40 million mobile and TV devices worldwide.  

Prior to setting up Jaine was an award-winning filmmaker and executive producer who was involved in the global launch of UK formats such as Wife Swap and Secret Millionaire.  



Film Store: Henry Coulam | Dani Fletcher | Corey Webb

Film Store is responsible for consulting and facilitating shoots across the production spectrum including Bear Grylls, Little Mix: The Search, Repair Shop, music videos and short-form commercial campaigns. Film store work with the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Netflix and routinely prepare and send Sony, Arri, Canon, RED and other specialist cameras around the world. 

Henry Coulam is Film Store’s Commercial Director and Dani Fletcher is Film Store’s Client Relationship Manager and has supported productions through coordinating kit hire and crew in factual, entertainment, documentary, commercial and film. 

Coaching and Wellness Atrium

Tracy Forsyth

Tracy Forsyth

Executive Coach & Media Consultant, Walter & Wootze Ltd 

As Creative Mentor to the Channel 4 Indie Growth Fund Advisory Board, Tracy advises several independent production companies on growth strategy, company USP and branding and how to maximise value of global IP. Tracy is also an executive coach and career coach who focuses on leadership, executive resilience and wellbeing. 

Tracy is also the Director of Mentoring for the WFTV four nations mid-career mentoring scheme and creator and host of the innovative and immersive Yoga in the Boardroom. 


Zeb Achonu - Headshot.jpg

Zeb Achonu


Zeb Achonu is a film and TV editor with over 20 years' experience in the industry. Her work has spanned various genres including Factual, Children’s and Entertainment, but now has a focus on Documentary and Drama.  

Zeb has edited BAFTA and Emmy award winning content and has a number of great British classics to her name, including EastEnders, Blue Peter and Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs. Zeb was selected as one of the Edinburgh TV Festival’s ‘Ones to Watch 2020’. She is on the Board of Directors for Women in Film & TV (UK), is an Associate Governor at the British Film Editors (BFE) guild, and an outspoken advocate for diversity and inclusion in post-production and throughout the film and TV industry.   


Denise Yarde - Headshot.jpg

Denise Yarde

Sound Mixer

Denise started working in the film and TV industry 25 years ago as an Ft2 Camera trainee. She switched to sound in 2001, learning her craft on Bad Girls and Footballers Wives before working with Ridley Scott and becoming a Tim Burton regular.  

In 2017 Denise started mixing on a variety of small projects and recently mixed an ADR free feature film for Kenneth Branagh and a Netflix comedy drama with Aziz Ansari.  

The Composer's Studio

Nainita Desai.jpg

Nainita Desai


Nainita Desai is an Ivor Novello Awards, BIFA nominee, BAFTA Breakthrough Brit, and the IFMCA Breakthrough Composer of 2020. 
Her recent projects include Oscar nominated and BAFTA and Cannes winning feature documentary For Sama and The Reason I Jump, the Sundance winning feature. Other recent credits include BBC drama series, Unprecedented; Netflix’s most-watched documentary, American Murder: The Family Next Door; the hit Netflix India series Bad Boy Billionaires and the acclaimed interactive video game Telling Lies, released by Annapurna Interactive. 

She is currently working on games for Half Mermaid and Silver Rain Games / Electronic Arts.    

bottom of page