In conversation with Reggie Yates

3 November, 2021

Screen and Film School Brighton were delighted to welcome the incredibly multi-talented film, TV and radio personality, Reggie Yates for a recent eye-opening virtual Masterclass.

Having started out as a child actor before branching out into broadcasting, Reggie’s impressive career spans nearly three decades and now sees him adding ‘Director’ to his resume, with the recent nationwide cinema release of his debut feature length film ‘Pirates’.

This coming-of-age comedy is also a love letter to London’s 90s garage music scene and saw Yates being longlisted at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) as well as receiving positive reviews from some of the film industry’s biggest online tastemakers and press outlets such as The Face, NME and Empire Magazine.


Students at The Film School were able to ask their own questions to Reggie during the Masterclass, which took place via Zoom and touched on all aspects of his prolific career.

Reggie began his broadcasting life as a children’s TV presenter on CITV during his mid-late teens, before becoming a regular face on mainstream UK television presenting shows such as Top of The Pops and hosting his own show on BBC Radio 1 Extra.

Throughout the 2000s, Reggie’s broadcasting style matured, and he started presenting more hard-hitting documentary films for the BBC, such as Reggie Yates: Teen Gangs,Reggie Yates’ Extreme Russia,Extreme South Africa and Extreme UK, which received recognition from the Royal Television society, Edinburgh TV Festival and the Broadcast Awards.

He answered questions from students about interviewing people with fundamentally different views to your own, the key consideration of ethics when making documentaries and even what it was like to live as an inmate among hardened criminals as part of his immersive documentary Reggie Yates in a Texan Jail.

When quizzed about which film format he prefers between documentary and drama, Reggie was clear and concise with his answer: 

“With documentaries, you’re essentially navigating what you find. You have a subject, and you’re crafting a story out of what has happened or what is happening in front of you. Whereas, with drama, it’s all coming from your head. There’s something really beautiful about sitting at your laptop to write a script and knowing that, at the heart of the story, you want to tackle a particular issue.”

“As a screenwriter, I find drama and comedy to be just that bit more fulfilling. Because, it’s storytelling in that most holistic sense. You have a kernel of an idea off the back of a conversation with a group of friends and then three years later you’re on set making that thing real and collaborating with a group of people.”

Yates went on to answer lots more questions from the students before the Masterclass concluded. But, before bidding us his final farewell, he offered one simple piece of advice to all the aspiring filmmakers present:

“Be tenacious, don’t give up and trust your gut”.

Thank you, Reggie for a wonderful Masterclass and to our Industry Engagement Manager, Fiona Adams for orchestrating the event.

Screen and Film School Brighton have plenty more exciting Masterclass guests to come in the not-too-distant future. Watch this space for more updates.

Discover more of Screen and Film School’s previous Masterclass guests, here.


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