Stars sparkle at the Royal Television Society Awards in Gateshead


The 2019 Royal Television Society Awards for the North East and Border region have recognised some of the best talent from the region’s television and media industry at a star-studded red-carpet ceremony at the weekend.

North East comedian and writer Jason Cook from South Shields hosted the event at the Hilton Newcastle-Gateshead which attracted more than 400 guests and famous faces – including actors Brenda Blethyn, Kenny Doughty and Bill Ward along with TV presenters Pam Royle, Jeff Brown, Ian Payne and Simon McCoy.

The popular ITV detective series ‘Vera’ which is filmed in Northumberland and features Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope with Kenny Doughty as her sidekick DS Aiden Healy won the RTS Judges Award. Brenda and Kenny were joined on stage by award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves whose ‘Vera’ series of books inspired the ITV series now celebrating 10 years of production in the region.

The CBBC series ‘The Dumping Ground’ was presented with the award for ‘Best Drama’. The series set on Tyneside focuses on the lives and experiences of young people in care and their care workers has been broadcast on CBBC since 2013. The series broadcast its 100th episode in March 2018 and is consistently the channel’s most popular drama.

Kia Pegg who plays Jody Jackson in ‘The Dumping Ground’ was awarded ‘Best Drama Performance’ for her role in the CBBC show. North East actor Bill Ward who has played Charlie Stubbs in Coronation Street and James Barton in Emmerdale, presented Kia with her trophy.

It was a successful night for Teesside as ‘The Mighty Redcar’ produced by 72 Films for BBC Two picked-up the award for ‘Best Broadcast Factual Production’. Dylan Cartlidge from the programme and voice of the series Madi Cooper received the award on stage.

Teesside University won the RTS award for ‘Best Animation’ and ‘Best Short Feature’ as part of the regional student awards. Sunderland, Northumbria and Newcastle universities also celebrated success; each taking away at least two awards. The University of Cumbria won the award for ‘Best Camera Work’ for the ‘It’s like Snowboarding but with Wheels’ production.

ITV Tyne Tees enjoyed an especially successful evening. The team were awarded with ‘Best News Programme’ for North East Tonight. ITV Tyne Tees Weather Presenter Ross Hutchinson was awarded ‘Presenter of the Year’ and Tom Sheldrick received the award for ‘Outstanding Journalism’. Giles Bowman from ITV SignPost picked-up the award for ‘Rising Star’. ITV SignPost – which produces signed programmes for a range of broadcasters from studios in Gateshead – received the prestigious RTS Centre Award from the society’s chief executive Theresa Wise.

‘Geordie Jazz Man’ won the award for ‘Best Non-Broadcast Factual Production’. The ambitious film was produced by Film Agogo on a modest budget and told the story of well known ‘Geordie Jazz Man’, Keith Crombie. Keith was a mystery to many of his Jazz Cafe patrons in Newcastle. The film reflected the Jazz movement of the 1950s to now with the never say die contrary spirit of Keith Crombie.

Graeme Thompson, Chair of the regional Royal Television Society Awards Committee, said: “As television production in the region continues to thrive, the Royal Television Society awards play an important part in celebrating the best and brightest professional excellence but also encouraging and supporting future talent from across the region.”

BBC Look North and ITV Tyne Tees were presented with special recognition awards as both the regional broadcasters celebrated 60 years of production. The news programme was launched from the BBC’s New Bridge Street studio in January 1959 – the same month as Tyne Tees began broadcasting from City Road in Newcastle.  Simon McCoy from the BBC News Channel presented guests from both BBC Look North and ITV Tyne Tees with specially commissioned plates – made by James Maskrey from the National Glass Centre in Sunderland.

The ceremony included a performance of Shipyards by Sunderland’s The Lake Poets – the theme for the successful Netflix documentary series Sunderland Til I Die.

More than 50 media professionals were tasked with judging the awards which secured more than 100 entries this year. The awards, now in their 32nd year were tweeted live from the @RTSNETB Twitter account. Images from the night will be posted on the RTS North East & Border Centre Facebook page from Sunday 24 February 2019.