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Barking & Dagenham College Alumnus returns after 38 years

Barking & Dagenham College Alumnus returns after 38 years

An alumnus (@dickydrew) of Barking & Dagenham College (@BarkingCollege) who left in 1985, returned to have a look around and guest lecture for current students.

Richard Drew began his career at the BBC in 1988, working on TV classics such as Grange Hill and Top of the Pops.

He’s now a sought-after TV and film production designer, having worked on major TV shows for Netflix, the BBC and C4, films, commercials, and entertainment programmes. His most recent projects include The Kemps, All Gold which aired on BBC 2 on December 29th. He also just wrapped the BBC comedy Mandy Season 3 and worked on Netflix’s Afterlife starring Ricky Gervais.

Reflecting on his time at the College, where Richard studied performing arts, he says:

“Somehow in the nearly 40 years since I finished there, and I’ve managed to sustain a modestly successful career. Barking College of Technology (as it was called back then) holds a very special place in my heart, as it was without doubt the most important years education I ever had.”

Current students who are studying production arts (which includes the College’s drama programme), art & design, 3D design and creative media were delighted to attend his guest lecture on all things film and TV.

Richard talked about his career and explained how Barking & Dagenham College was where it all started for him. He went through some examples of his previous work, pulling apart the process of how his team created the look of a show. The students then got to ask him questions about his experiences.

He was also treated to a tour of the college, which although is still on the same campus, has changed enormously; not least, it now has its own film and TV studio, named after another of its highly successful alumnus, Idris Elba. Richard did manage to find a few parts of the campus that still looked familiar, however.

On why he decided to return to his old college, Richard explains:

“It’s almost a cliche to say but I feel like it’s time to reconnect and to try and give a little bit back if I can. Even after 36 years in TV, I’m still incredibly passionate about my craft and the promotion and diversity of it, that passion was ignited at Barking Tech, so I owe it everything.

“I’ve also in recent years been keen to try to encourage people of colour to work in the Art Department, It’s the one area where the industry as a whole needs to do more, in all aspects of film making certainly but particularly in my area of expertise, the Art Department.”

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