Julie is a delight. Hard working, passionate, principled, someone who can work with people to get things done, but also isn't afraid to stick her hand in the fire to make sure things are done right. Her work as a true pioneer of the access coordinator position, and as an educator for those that come next, has been remarkable. This is a time of great change, and great change-markers, and Julie Fernandez is a great change-maker.
What is an access coordinator?
The role of access coordinator was born out of a MacTaggart Lecture given by writer Jack Thorne at Edinburgh TV Festival in 2021. In the lecture Jack spoke of the need for a specific person to support access requirements on Film and TV sets. Jack’s powerful and thought-provoking speech became the catalyst for many changes in the industry. Since the lecture Julie Fernandez has been working with Jack’s new collective, Underlying Health Conditions (UHC), and Sara Johnson, founder of Bridge06 to deliver the UK’s first training for new Access Coordinators.
Julie brings three decades of production experience to her role as an access coordinator. Having appeared as an actress in award winning shows including The Office, Eldorado, Holby City and Casualty. Julie has also presented and appeared in factual entertainment shows including Wish You Were Here, Heaven and Earth, and the Politics Show. As a vocal advocate for disability rights Julie has written, produced, and hosted, a number of award-winning documentaries for BBC Radio 4.
Becoming an Access Coordinator is an evolutionary step for Julie as she has worked for many years as a consultant on access, her clients include Buckingham Palace and Citi Bank. She has worked closely with many organisations to improve access and offer disability awareness training to staff members.
As an access coordinator it is Julie’s role is to assist anyone who is physically disabled, deaf and/or neurodivergent by finding out what the persons access requirements are, she then liaises with productions and organisations to meet those needs.
The first meeting is usually conducted on zoom where both parties can get to know each other, they come up with a plan of discrete and helpful adjustments to allow the individual to focus fully on being their creatively brilliant self.
As a person with a disability herself, Julie understands how scary it is talking about health conditions, especially for the first time, but information provided will not be shared with everyone on the production team, it will only be shared with people on a need-to-know basis, and always with the person’s prior consent.
Julie provides a bespoke and discrete service and is dedicated to removing all barriers to inclusion in Film and TV production.
“Improving access begins with having the right attitude, anything is possible if everyone is committed to true inclusion for all.”
Welcome to the website of access coordinator Julie Fernandez. Julie has worked as an access coordinator for BAFTA, Apple TV, Disney+, Netflix, Sky, Dave, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
Access Coordinator Clients
Working with Julie has been an eye-opening joy. Julie offered a discreet point of contact for all cast and crew and worked closely with Production to implement the required measures to create improvements. Going forward, we don't intend to do a production without an Accessibility Co-ordinator and Julie will always be our first call!
Karl Liegis - Head of Production for 60FortyFilms
In fifteen years of writing television my show Blindspot was the first time I had worked with an Access Co-ordinator, and what a difference it made. This was one of the few productions where I've not been the only disabled person involved, and Julie's work helped foster a friendly, understanding environment among the cast and crew. We had a disabled writer, director and lead actress on this production, and for once all of us were able to concentrate on doing our jobs rather than spending our time fighting to deal with basic things like finding accessible toilets. Julie knows and understands the different issues that can make this industry hard to navigate for disabled people, and she found smooth, efficient solutions to whatever we threw at her. I look forward to the day when having someone like her on a production is seen as the norm rather than a luxury.
Rob Kinsman – Writer
Our project could not have been made without an access coordinator, and furthermore it couldn’t have been made without Julie. Her input and advice from script stage, to casting, thru to production has been invaluable. As we were filming abroad, Julie even accompanied our lead artist on a flight in order they felt comfortable and safe before joining us. Julie’s dedication to this role, and ability to educate others on its importance has been revelatory and has definitely changed our approach to programme making.
Andy Morgan – Executive Producer at Clapperboard Productions
We contacted Julie for our project “Live at the Moth Club”. We were very keen to make sure the project was a welcoming, inclusive and a safe environment for our crew and onscreen talent. Though we didn't have much time or resources, Julie was able to offer excellent advice and give us and our cast & crew confidence and peace of mind that we were all in safe hands. It's so important to be utilising the skill and experience of specialists like Julie in TV and Film Production, and I’d highly recommend reaching out and starting those conversations to any production, to see what we can all do to improve accessibility and inclusion.
Cecily Barber - Line Producer, Live at the Moth Club, Baby Cow Productions
I have worked with Julie Fernandez for over a decade on various projects within the media industry. Julie’s attention to detail and editorial judgement is an asset to every team she works with. Julie will be joining my production company on an upcoming BFI funded Feature Film development project. It features a historical portrayal of disability and Julie’s extensive knowledge of the historical context of the time will be vital.
David Proud - Actor and Writer
If anyone reading this fears that bringing an access coordinator on to a production will create more work or be in any way a hardship or an obstacle to a production, then THEY NEED TO URGENTLY MEET JULIE. Julie was the utterly invaluable access coordinator on our production of SHARDLAKE (based on the CJ Sansom novel) which has just shot in Hungary, Austria, and Romania. Her process is so sleek and streamlined, so people friendly, and everything she assesses, negotiates, and puts in place just makes the path of the machine of production so much easier (and speedier). My advice is to get Julie on your production as early as possible. As soon as you have a green light. The longer she has, the better oiled your show will be. And the happier your show will be. She brings wit and warmth as well as all the smarts. Jack Thorne is so right, she’s a trailblazer.
Stevie Lee - Executive Producer, Shardlake
I worked with Julie on Shardlake and found her incredibly helpful both as the producer on the project and part way through as a user of her help when after an accident had my own accessibility needs. As the producer it was so useful to be able to read her report on an individual as see so clearly what their needs were. It avoided a number of people across the production team having to ask repeat, sometimes probing question to other members of the team as to how and where we needed to meet their needs. As a user of her service and doing my own assessment with her, it was simply invaluable. The way she guided me through my situation and thought ahead to everything I would encounter was both reassuring and incredibly empowering. The instinctive need to apologise for my temporary lack of mobility was completely eradicated for which I remain so grateful. She is both sensitive and careful and has a great sense of humour making her a valued member of a production team.
John Griffin - Producer, Shardlake
On Series 27 I have had the pleasure of working with Julie as our Access coordinator in order to encourage the production to be inclusive and have the necessary tools to book deaf, disabled or neuro diverse crew. Julie is a straight-talking individual who has aided me personally to overcome my nervousness on saying the “wrong thing” and not being able to talk openly to an individual about their varying needs to carry out their best work for a production. Being candid, as a Line Producer it is a little daunting when we are asked by our commissioners to be all inclusive. Julie takes the mystery and concerns away. She is able to chat to each individual, completing a questionnaire on their needs, provided to me. I am then better able to understand what can be put into place to aid the individual to be able to work to their very best and for us be an inclusive production. Julie then keeps in touch with the individual and acts as a go between, able to come to production and explain what is working well, and what can be improved. Julie is a mine of information regarding crew talent and has assisted me in interviews for people. Again, in interviews she is open and honest and is able to assist with open questions. I hope to be able book Julie again on the next season and to continue to have a working relationship with her. I have no hesitation in recommending her in the role of Access Coordinator.
Sue Mather - Line Producer for Silent Witness
|Production Title||Production Company||Channel||Year|
|Murder They Hope (Season 3)||Tiger Aspect Productions||Gold, UKTV||2023|
|Shardlake||The Forge||Disney +||2022/2023|
|Silent Witness Season 27||BBC Grafton House Productions||BBC||2022/2023|
|Sex Education Series 4||Eleven Film||Netflix||2022|
|The Full Monty||Little Island Productions||Disney+||2022|
|Hijack||60Forty Films||Apple TV+||2022|
|Sex Rated||Mighty Productions||Channel 4||2022|
|Slow Horses||60Forty Films||Apple TV+||2022|
|Perfect||Happy Tramp North||Dave, UKTV||2022|
|Shorts||104 Films||Channel 4||2022|
|The Unique Boutique||BBC||BBC||2022|
|Live At The Moth||Baby Cow Productions||Dave, UKTV||2022|
|Daisy & Ollie||Hoopla Animation||Channel 4||2022|
|Charities, Business & NGOs||Year|
|BAFTA Elevate Programme||2022/2023|
|Bridge06 Access Coordinator Training in collaboration with Screen Skills||2022|