The new wave of production talent was out in force at the event, which was held at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Hotel on 25 February 2017. There were breakthrough awards for BBC reporter Philippa Goymer, animator Michael Gandham from Arcus Animation Studios and broadcast news graduate Alice Whinney. Young people from the Northern Stars Academy based at Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema won the Best Commercial category for Sportivate – a promotional film about boxing on Teesside.
Also nominated for awards were the young cast and production team from The Dumping Ground, made by CBBC in the North East. The recently established local TV channel, Made in Tyne and Wear picked up the Centre Award for its work in supporting new programme makers and production innovation such as the weekly Made with Pride strand – transmitted across radio and the Made TV network.
Among the student category winners were Teesside University (Drama and Animation), University of Sunderland (News and Entertainment), University of Cumbria (Factual) and Carlisle College (Short Feature).
Chair of the awards, Graeme Thompson, who is also a Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, said: “This year’s ceremony showcased the next generation of TV and digital talent. And the great thing about these winning entries is the confidence and new ideas exhibited across the categories. We are delighted to be able to recognise these new players who are the future leaders of the sector.”
Other big winners on the night were the ITV drama Vera which picked up Best Drama and Best Performance for its star Brenda Blethyn. ITV Tyne Tees and Border newscaster Pam Royle won Best Presenter and the BBC’s Dan Farthing was named Best Journalist. ITV Tyne Tees won Best News Programme and the award for Best Factual went to the BBC for its documentary The Gift of Hearing. ITN and Border presenter Fiona Armstrong was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution award in recognition of her long and distinguished career in television. And there was a special award for veteran BBC outside broadcast director Alan Farrington – who has also directed all 30 of the RTS North East awards.
More than 400 guests attended the sell-out event hosted by Jayne Secker of Sky News. It was the thirtieth anniversary of the awards ceremony which was first held at the Tyneside Cinema in 1987. Among the guests in the audience at Gateshead were Steve Cram and Allison Curbishley from BBC Sport, Oscar-winning film producer David Parfitt, TV historian Michael Wood, RTS chief executive Theresa Wise and Emmerdale actors Laura Norton and Isabel Hodgins.
A full list of winners can be found on the RTS North East and the Border Centre website.
(Image: Brenda Blethyn, winner of the Best Performance and Best Drama awards for Vera.)