Youngsters have been making their own professional chat show production in a pilot project to get more school leavers from all backgrounds into broadcasting — with Dagenham fast becoming a “hotbed of the media industry”.

The project is backed by London’s largest film and TV production complex - which is nearing completion at Eastbrook Studios - and by the new Wharf Studios in Barking.

The local authority’s Film Barking & Dagenham office is running a ‘Make It Here’ programme to attract the film and TV industry to east London and to get “more diversity” into professional broadcasting.

“This programme lets youth shine in the broadcasting industry,” Cllr Elizabeth Kangethe said. “It is hands-on experience with top-notch equipment and guidance from professionals, providing equal opportunities for all students.”

The pilot had 50 pupils aged 14 to 17 create their own chat show using a 40ft outside broadcast truck, working with engineers from NEP specialist operators to set up a fully working ‘chat show’.

They took turns working in directing and sound engineering, operating the cameras and taking part in the studio team responsible for managing the show, using the same equipment with volunteer professional crews that work on TV shows like ITV’s This Morning.

The project has mentoring volunteers from the Crew Room Academy, whose founder James Ash revealed: “This will be the first of many roadshows up and down the country to give young people the chance to delve into what it takes to make a TV production.”

The chat show the pupils created has been edited into a showreel which they can each use in their portfolios and CVs when they leave school.

Jon Harris, from NEP outside broadcast specialists, said: “Events like these inspire the next generation of upcoming talent, giving them the chance to learn and ask questions. This fosters new and diverse talent in the industry investing in future generations.”

Three secondary schools in Dagenham and Chadwell Heath were involved in the roadshow pilot, Jo Richardson Community at Castle Green, Sydney Russell in Parsloes Avenue and The Warren in Whalebone Lane, all within walking distance of the huge Eastbrook Studio complex.

The youngsters are now set for a tour of BBC Television Centre in White City to see production techniques in a real-world professional studio.