AS the new Downton Abbey film makes millions in the cinema, a University of Sunderland graduate who helped make the hit TV series has revealed the secret of her success.

Rebecca Heathcote, 26, graduated from the university in 2014 and has since worked on major TV series and films which saw her nominated for an Emmy as part of the team that worked on Watership Down.

Her career first took off as a student when ITV’s Downton Abbey series was filmed at Alnwick Castle.

Rebecca, who studied media production, said: “The course gave me a good grounding in general production and helped me to focus my area of study to find out which part of the film industry I was most interested in.

“The best part about studying were the opportunities to work on local films and TV shows. I worked on Bypass (2014), Electricity (2014), Vera, Harriets Army, Hyena (2014) and Downton Abbey, all whilst studying, and that all came about by doing lots of work experience and volunteering my time on as many professional projects as I could.My advice to students hoping to get into the industry would be to turn up, try your best. Keep talking to people at the university who can get you those work experience placements and runner jobs, and once you get on set be the best, most enthusiastic runner they've ever had.”