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Chris Parker


Chris Parker – an actor and presenter known to millions from EastEnders and Strictly Come Dancing – is forging a new career in the Law thanks to a degree from Birkbeck, University of London. He decided to pursue his 'thirst for knowledge' and study Law following major acting and presenting roles.

Following his degree at Birkbeck, Chris went on to complete his Legal Practice Course and has since started his training contract in a media firm to complete his training as a solicitor. He is thoroughly enjoying his second career, and the opportunity to achieve his ambition in the legal world. His success proves how Birkbeck can transform prospects and enable students to change the direction of their working lives. His current legal work is a far cry from playing the character Spencer Moon in the popular soap EastEnders, working as an entertainment reporter for BBC News, and living in Los Angeles.

Chris was encouraged by his colleagues to think about studying while he was working at the BBC. He was initially apprehensive about returning to education as he had left school aged 15 with 'mediocre' GCSEs to pursue his acting career. He decided to pursue his passion for the Law following work with youth offenders, including in London, Bristol and Ipswich. Birkbeck was recommended to him, and he attended an Open Evening. He remembers having an 'amazing' legal debate during his interview and he enrolled on the four-year part-time Law LLB aged 26 in 2009.

Chris said: 'I thought I want to go and get an education, and open up the opportunities available to me in broadcasting. I wanted to satisfy my thirst for knowledge and get into factual projects as opposed to just  entertainment broadcasting. Having always been interested in the Law, I decided to go to a Birkbeck Open Evening and find out more. It was just meant to be – I love the Law and now I feel like I have found my calling.'

Chris was impressed by the dedication of the staff and students at Birkbeck. He worked in various presenting and voiceover roles throughout his studies, and found it challenging, but manageable, to combine work and study. His final year project involved working with classmates to interview politicians to create a documentary, called EU: friend or foe, about the arguments for and against the UK leaving the EU.

Chris said: 'Birkbeck is a research-intensive university. You are taught by the authors of legal books, and they are also practising solicitors and barristers. I have become engrossed by the Law, and my studies have changed me as a person. I have matured, acquired legal knowledge, and am better able to articulate my concerns. People can now have two or three careers during their lives, and Birkbeck has helped me build my second career. I have also made great friends from the course. If you are thinking about studying at Birkbeck go for it – you will not regret it.'

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'People can now have two or three careers during their lives, and Birkbeck has helped me build my second career.'