TV star Stephen Tompkinson, Emmerdale actress Laura Norton and the young cast of Wolfblood were among the familiar faces sharing the limelight at The Royal Television Society Awards on Saturday night as a sparkling ceremony at Gateshead’s Hilton hotel celebrated local media achievement.
The Teesside-born star of Wild At Heart and recent North East-set film Harrigan was there to make a presentation at the annual event, the biggest media awards in the North East, which saw fellow actors, presenters, journalists and industry insiders turn out in force to celebrate 2013’s best in local media production from TV shows to online programmes and video games.
And despite tough times, the clear message was that it’s been a good year with winners including Vera, Robson Green’s Tales From Northumberland, and Gina McKee for Hebburn, who could not attend due to work commitments.
BBC Breakfast’s business presenter Steph McGovern returned to her roots to host the event in a packed banqueting hall at Hilton NewcastleGateshead, where Graeme Thompson, chairman of the RTS North East and The Border Centre, praised a year which had seen eight productions made in the region.
McGee won the performance of the year category for her role as mum Pauline in BBC’s Hebburn, beating fellow cast member Pat Dunn as well as Brenda Blethyn for Vera and Elaine Cassidy for The Paradise.
Vera, based on Ann Cleeve’s novels, was the winner of best drama; another success for the author whose other murder mystery drama Shetland returns for a new BBC series on March 11.
Among the nominees in the category was lavish period drama The Paradise, recently axed by the BBC after two series. But some good news is that a new children’s drama called Harriet’s Army is about to start shooting in the region.
ITV presenter Pam Royle, clocking up 30 years in journalism, proved a popular choice for presenter of the year, while a lifetime contribution award has been presented to Auf Wiedersehen, Pet creators Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais following on from last year’s 30th anniversary of the comedy hit.
The awards night recognises creativity, originality, entertainment value, use of resources and professionalism in the industry and rewards TV and digital innovation, and up-and-coming talents had a look-in in the student categories.
The University of Sunderland scored twice with best entertainment production and best animation; Northumbria University won best fiction and University of Cumbria best factual. They will go forward to the RTS National Student Awards being held in London later in the year.
A rising star award went to Richard Murton of IG Media animation studios.