Two of television’s best-loved shows, Vera and The Dumping Ground, were among those picking up prizes at the Royal Television Society North East and the Border Awards, which took place at the Newcastle Gateshead Hilton on 27 February.
ITV’s long-running detective series Vera starring Brenda Blethyn won the big-budget drama award. While CBBC’s The Dumping Ground – which focuses on the lives of young people in care – picked up best drama in the lower budget category.
The prestigious Centre Award went to producer and NFM Board member Will Nicholson, whose credits include Wire in the Blood, Vera and the epic fantasy drama Beowulf – all produced in the North East. The judges commended him for his commitment to using local crews and suppliers and his mentoring and encouragement of young people aspiring to break in to TV drama.
The Award for Best Factual, Entertainment, Features (Non Broadcast) went to Magali Pettier and Janice Cawood of Provenance Films, director and producer of Addicted to Sheep. Backed by NFM with substantial early-stage development funding, as well as subsequent support for audience development and work on the film’s sound, Addicted to Sheep was a festival smash on its world premiere at the prestigious Sheffield Doc/Fest and has recently been screened on BBC4 in a 60 minute edit.
More than 400 guests and celebrities attended the event, hosted by BBC Breakfast’s Steph McGovern, which showcases the best of television and digital media production from Cumbria and the Scottish Borders in the North to Teesside and North Yorkshire in the South.
One of the most familiar faces on British television for 900,000 deaf viewers was also honoured. Alex Duguid has been signing television shows on commercial television for almost two decades. He translates everything from Coronation Street to live sporting events into British Sign Language and is based at ITV Signpost on Tyneside. At 72 he is ITV’s second-oldest employee. He received the Outstanding Contribution award from the editor of ITV’s Good Morning Britain Neil Thompson.
Other winners at the ceremony included Chris Jackson from the BBC’s Inside Out who was named Best Presenter and ITV Border reporter Katie Hunter who won the prize for Outstanding Journalism for a portfolio which included coverage of the devastating Cumbrian floods.
BBC Look North won Best News Programme and True North picked up Best Factual for the Channel 5 series Gift of Life – set in the transplant unit of Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital. The Rising Star Award for the region’s most promising newcomer to television went to Elliott Kerrigan, the writer of the BBC’s Newcastle-set sit-com Boy Meets Girl.
Graeme Thompson, chair of the RTS in the North East and the Border said: “This part of the UK has a thriving creative industries sector. Our hope is that by showcasing the range and quality of work, we can attract more production and create more jobs.”
The ceremony included tributes to television professionals who have died during the past year. Among them, veteran ITV Tyne Tees presenter Kathy Secker who died in December. Her daughter Jayne Secker of Sky News was one of the guest presenters during the ceremony. There were also tributes to BBC radio presenter, football commentator and former ITV sports reporter Alistair Brownlee, as well as to actor, writer, comedian Brendan Healy.
The Cumbria-based director and cameraman Simon Crouch and BBC graphics/set designer Tony Bannister were also honoured.
Student winners were Teesside University for Eat, then wait for the night (Factual) and Dresslocked (Animation), University of Sunderland for The Family Food Fight (Entertainment), and University of Cumbria for Funkenflug – Chronicles of a Catastrophe (Drama).
For a full list of winners and more information about the awards click here.
For more information about the event contact: Graeme Thompson.
The image above shows the winners and supporters of the Best Factual, Entertainment, Features (Non Broadcast) Award: Dr Jill Morgan, Dean of School of Arts & Media, Teesside University (Award Sponsor), Matt Dennis (editor), Magali Pettier (director), Cheryl Taylor, Controller of Children’s BBC, and Jan Cawood (producer). Copyright in image: RTS North East and the Borders Centre.