Introducing Billy Hanshaw, a Leeds based creative and life-long Doctor Who fan whose creative dream came true when some of his artwork was chosen to be used in the opening title sequence of the eagerly anticipated eighth series!
As one of Yorkshire’s most loved specialist recruiters, we’ve always got an eye on the top local creatives and were thrilled to see Billy get involved in such an exciting project. In fact, The Book’s very own Ange Hough has know Billy for over a decade and had the chance to catch up with him and find out how this came about and what it means to him.
1. How did you hear the news and how did it make you feel, being a part of something so big which you’re also a fan of?
It was a cold February night and the wind was howling all around the house... Well that’s how I like to picture it, call it artistic license. I got a LinkedIn request from Brian Minchin (Executive Producer for Doctor Who). At first I thought that it had to be a wind up. So I checked him out and asked what I could do for him – he messaged back saying "want to help us out on the series 8 titles, Both Steven (Moffat) and I are huge fans of your YouTube video." I still have to pinch myself now and the press response to the story is incredible. I’ve just finished an interview with the Financial Times – which seems a crazy publication to run the story; who am I to argue with publicity though!
2. Were you expecting such a big hit when you posted it?
The creation of the original piece on YouTube was a suggestion by my writer/producer partner – he’s the font of all Doctor Who knowledge. I was looking to create something that flexed the creative muscle more than the type of work I was delivering for clients. Something that had a bigger budget feel to it. It’s still rough round the edges, after all it was something I had attended to while I had downtime or a spare evening. It reached 60,000 hits on YouTube in the first weekend – which honestly amazed me. Then the media started picking it up – first the Radio Times and then Huffington Post.
3. What influences your creativity?
I’m such a creative magpie. I think I must be slightly ADHD – I have loads of ideas when I start a project. Sites like Pinterest are great for brain-dumping. I often use the boards that I create on there to share with clients, it really helps with the collaborative process. Influences... this isn’t a cop out but there are always influences around you everyday – it’s how you translate that in to something different, something new.
4. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Need you ask lol! It’s been a crazy ride but I’d have to say that being involved with such an important part of a hugely iconic show is the pinnacle, so far that is. I wanted to steer the business away from retail / corporate work to more broadcast and film. It was one of the reasons for doing the YouTube piece in the first place. I never thought I’d start so near the top of the TV entertainment tree.
5. What’s the next step? Will you continue to work closely with the BBC?
I’m on really good terms with the BBC Wales team, so who knows (see what I did there?) I’m on their list of preferred suppliers, which I believe is an achievement in itself. We are pitching a few ideas - titles projects for shows that have just gone in to production and launching a new website at midnight on the 23rd August. So keeping busy. I just expect that the Doctor Who titles pitch will probably be the easiest one of my whole career!
Billy is just one of many talented creatives we know and have kept in touch with after too many years! But he is a great indication to what we’re about. Working with the best in all aspects of the creative industry. CONGRATULATIONS BILLY! (and we’re sure you’ll be watching the show more than usual now!)
You can see more of Billy’s work on his website at billyhanshaw