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Royal Television Society Programme Awards 2011

The 2011 awards were announced last night and the press release follows below.

Some highlights: The Killing Series 1 (BBC4) lost out to Modern Family (Sky 1 HD) in the International Award; Appropriate Adult (ITV1) scooped two with Dominic West beating John Simm (Exile, BBC1) for Actor (Male) and Emily Watson picking up the Actor (Female), although Neil McKay lost the Writer – Drama to Peter Bowker for Eric & Ernie (BBC2); Luther 2 (BBC1) beat Scott and Bailey (ITV1) for Drama Series.



The Royal Television Society (RTS), Britain’s leading forum for television and related media, today announced the winners for the RTS Programme Awards 2011. The ceremony, held at Grosvenor House on Tuesday 20 March, was hosted by actor, comedian and radio presenter Rob Brydon.

Chaired by David Liddiment, the Awards honour excellence in key genres of television programming, from children’s fiction to comedy performance, history to soaps, covering both national and regional output. Held annually, the RTS Programme Awards aim to recognise the work of exceptional actors, presenters, writers and production teams, as well as celebrating the programmes themselves.

The Winners:


Derren Brown The Experiments – Objective Productions for Channel 4

“The jury said this was quite simply water cooler television. Innovative, original, intelligent with a startling level of profundity.” 


Million Pound Drop – Endemol Productions for Channel 4

The Graham Norton Show – SO Television for BBC One


Gareth Malone The Choir: Military Wives – Twenty Twenty for BBC Two

“His enthusiasm and expertise infects everyone around him and the on-screen result is thoroughly positive and life enhancing. This year he took his students and his performance to a new level and together they captured the nation’s imagination.” 


Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Hugh’s Big Fish Fight – Keo Films for Channel 4

Karl Pilkington An Idiot Abroad 2 – Risk Productions for Sky 1 HD


Graffiti Wars – TwoFour for Channel 4

“Praised by the Jury for an extraordinary portrayal of the ruthless world of the graffiti artists and the dramatic battle of one to protect his territory and his trademark.” 


Arena: Produced By George Martin – BBC/Grounded Productions for BBC Two

The Impressionists – ZCZ Films for BBC Two

Single Documentary

Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die – Keo north for BBC Two

“In a very strong year, [this] is an outstanding example of the single documentary:  groundbreaking, revelatory and profoundly moving.”


The Life And Loss Of Karen Woo – Century Films for ITV1

True Stories: Hell And Back Again – Roast Beef Productions for More4

Documentary Series

24 Hours In A&E – The Garden Productions for Channel 4

“With great story telling, a brilliant narrative and, despite so much of it being harrowing, television that was uplifting and heart-warming: love, life and death up-close and raw.”


Educating Essex – Twofour for Channel 4

Fighting On The Frontline – Minnow Films for Channel 4

Nations And Regions Programme

The Scheme Friel Kean Films for BBC One

“Fantastic access and brilliant casting with a real lightness of touch and incredibly moving.” 


Frankenstein’s Wedding…Live in Leeds – BBC Cymru Wales/BBC North for BBC Three

Wil a Cêt – Cwmni Da for S4C


Dambusters: Building The Bouncing Bomb Windfall Films for Channel 4

“Filmic and beautifully realised, [this] was gripping, innovative and provided real insight.” 


The Life Of Muhammad – Crescent Films for BBC Two

If Walls Could Talk The History Of The Home – Silver River Productions for BBC Four

Science & Natural History

Mummifying Alan: Eygpt’s Last Secret – Blink Film & Television for Channel 4

“The jury said [this] was ambitious, engaging, entertaining and told a fascinating story.”


Frozen Planet – A BBC/Discovery Channel/Antena 3 Television S.A./ZDF/Skai/Open

University Co-Production in association with Discovery Canada for BBC One

Stargazing Live – BBC Productions for BBC Two

Soap and Continuing Drama

Coronation Street – ITV Studios for ITV1

“The jury felt that this was perfect soap storytelling.  Bold, contemporary and well-structured with strong continuing stories skilfully woven alongside the main strand.   The well-crafted direction led to moving performances from all the key cast members.”


EastEnders – BBC Productions for BBC One

Emmerdale – ITV Studios for ITV1

Children’s Drama

Tracy Beaker – BBC Productions for CBBC

“In such a long-running programme, it is a real achievement that this story still comes across as fresh and relevant. The diverse cast act with a skill beyond their years and give the impression that they enjoy their work! This sense of warmth pervades a pacey and well structured drama that is inclusive and heartfelt.” 


Sarah Jane Adventures (Series 5) – BBC Wales for CBBC

Children’s Programme

Newsround My Autism & Me – BBC Productions for CBBC

“The programme tackled a difficult subject from the child’s point-of-view and made it comprehensible in a way that challenges attitudes towards autism. An intelligent, articulate and honest programme with a young reporter who was utterly believable, emotionally engaging and humorous to boot!”


Horrible Histories (Series 3) – Lion Television for CBBC

The Amazing World Of Gumball The Quest – Dandelion Studios, Boulder Media & Studio Soi for Cartoon Network Europe

International Award

Modern Family – Twentieth Century Fox Television/Levitan-Lloyd Productions acquired by Sky 1 HD

“A smart, superbly constructed and unpretentiously conceived comedy which is simply very funny.” 


The Killing – Series 1 – DR/ZDF Enterprises for BBC Four

The Slap – Matchbox Pictures for BBC Four

Daytime Programme

Deal Or No Deal Live – Remarkable Television, an Endemol company for Channel 4

“A fantastic format that was given a new twist, allowing for a master class of live television presenting.”


Antiques Road Trip – STV Productions for BBC Two

Operation Hospital Food with James Martin – Splash Media for BBC One

Popular Factual and Features

Hugh’s Big Fish Fight – Keo Films for Channel 4

“An interesting, watchable and accessible series of clever and effortless campaigning. The presenter is an amazing advocate, demonstrates admirable tenacity and gains unbelievable access. The series is also distinctive in terms of online innovation and activity.” 


An Idiot Abroad 2 – Risk Productions for Sky 1 HD

The Great British Bake Off – Love Productions for BBC Two

Actor (Male)

Dominic West Appropriate Adult – ITV Studios for ITV1

“The winner shockingly, wittily and superbly captured the most horrific characteristic of a serial killer: his terrifying charm.” 


Daniel Rigby Eric & Ernie – Blue Door Adventures/BBC Wales for BBC Two

John Simm Exile – Abbott Vision/Red Production Company for BBC One

Actor (Female)

Emily Watson Appropriate Adult – ITV Studios for ITV1

“Subtle, nuanced and utterly compelling, an incredibly skilled and extraordinary portrayal of an ordinary woman by an actor at the height of her powers.” 


Vicky McClure This Is England ’88 – Warp Films for Channel 4

Ruth Negga Shirley – Prospect Cymru (a DCD Media Company) for BBC Two

Single Drama

Eric & Ernie – Blue Door Adventures/BBC Wales for BBC Two

“With strong performances and a real insight into a particular period, this poignant drama captured the spirit of what made these household names so special.” 


Random – Hillbilly Films for Channel 4

United – World Productions for BBC Two

Drama Serial

Top Boy – A Cowboy Films/Easter Partisan Production for Channel 4

“The winning drama had a wonderful mix of tenderness and toughness, and a sense of authenticity which created an alluring world.” 


The Crimson Petal & The White – Origin Pictures/Cité Amérique for BBC Two

The Promise – Daybreak Pictures for Channel 4

Drama Series

Luther 2 – BBC Productions/BBC America for BBC One

“A smart, stylish and often brutal drama that keeps you gripped from beginning to end with an extraordinary central performance from Idris Elba.” 


Scott And Bailey – Red Production Company for ITV1

The Fades – BBC Productions/BBC America for BBC Three

Writer – Drama

Peter Bowker Eric & Ernie – Blue Door Adventures/BBC Wales for BBC Two

“Warm, funny, poignant and life-enhancing – a perfect piece of writing.” 


Neil McKay Appropriate Adult – ITV Studios for ITV1

Steven Moffat Doctor Who (Series 6) – BBC Wales for BBC One

Writer – Comedy

Sam Bain & Jesse Armstrong Fresh Meat – Objective Productions/Lime Pictures for Channel 4

“The winning writers have created refreshingly well-rounded characters and a world that’s unpredictable, believable… and very funny.” 


Robert Popper Friday Night Dinner – Popper Pictures/Big Talk Productions for Channel 4

James Wood Rev. – Big Talk Productions for BBC Two

Entertainment Performance

Anthony McPartlin & Declan Donnelly I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here; Red Or Black; Push The Button; Britain’s Got Talent

ITV Studios/Syco TV/Thames/Gallowgate Studios for ITV1

“Still the stand-out entertainment act across many different series.” 


James Corden A League Of Their Own – CPL Productions for Sky 1 HD

Keith Lemon Celebrity Juice – Talkback for ITV2

Comedy Performance

Russell Tovey & Sarah Solemani Him & Her – Big Talk Productions for BBC Three

“A perfect partnership, understated but wickedly funny.” 


Darren Boyd Spy – Hat Trick Productions for Sky 1 HD

Tom Hollander Rev. – Big Talk Productions for BBC Two

Scripted Comedy

Fresh Meat – Objective Productions/Lime Pictures for Channel 4

“The jury felt that for a first series the winning comedy was really well observed, cleverly done and full of complex and absorbing characters.” 


Phoneshop – Retort for E4

Rev. – Big Talk Productions for BBC Two

Judges’ Award

Laura Mackie

“Tonight’s recipient has built, with her team, a portfolio of work which has been pivotal in the revitalisation of ITV.  From Primeval to Whitechapel, from Appropriate Adult to Scott and Bailey; culminating in the triumphant success of Downton Abbey – the defining drama hit of our time. 

The Judges’ Award this year goes to one of British television’s most talented commissioners; a woman whose calm and modest demeanour belies a steely competitive edge, and whose good judgement and generosity of spirit commands respect from colleagues,  competitors and suppliers alike.” 

Lifetime Achievement Award

Beryl Vertue OBE

“The recipient of tonight’s Royal Television Society Lifetime Achievement Award runs a small family business. Members of the close family include Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, some Daleks, two girls and two boys whose behaviour is never as good as it might be, a couple of rag and bone men, some goons, the late Queen Mother and the odd Chelsea Pensioner.  Our recipient is as tireless now as she was when she started typing for two comedy script writers called Galton and Simpson back in the early 1950s.  She shows no signs of retiring; in fact her daughters can’t even persuade her to do a four day week.  She has produced feature films and TV series here and in America, including an award winning silent film long before that was fashionable, and a re-versioning of Upstairs Downstairs. She made the very first format sale of a British show to a US network.  She moved her shows from one channel to another if she felt they would thrive better somewhere else. She helped write the first PACT agreement when she was its chair, and received an OBE for services to the indie sector. She helped shape the television industry that we know today though she has never worked for a network broadcaster. She says that she just makes television that “she would like to watch”, huge numbers of viewers over the decades, and all over the world, have liked to watch it too. She is Beryl Vertue.

Born in Mitcham, Beryl went to school with comedy writer Alan Simpson. Then, in the early 50’s, when he and his writing partner Ray Galton were looking for a typist, they asked Beryl to apply. This led to her joining what soon became Associated London Scripts where she quickly found that, quite by accident, she had become an agent. Not just to her employers but to lots of other comedy writers as well. People like Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes and Johnny Speight, and performers like Frankie Howerd and Tony Hancock. Hancock was never the easiest of men and he fired and re-hired Beryl on numerous occasions. She also negotiated Terry Nations’ partial rights deal for his creation the Daleks, a type of deal that had never been done before, but has subsequently given both the BBC and her son-in-law, Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat, endless hours of fun and the occasional nightmare. At ALS she also got her first taste of producing because “people thought there was no reason why she wouldn’t be good at it”. She was the executive producer on the award winning silent comedy The Plank, and discovering that the BBC did not have any way of exploiting the film rights of their writers hits, she helped produce the big screen versions of Till Death Us Do Part, Up Pompeii and Steptoe and Son.

In the late 60’s, impressario Robert Stigwood absorbed Associated London Scripts and Beryl became Deputy Chairman of the Robert Stigwood organisation. Now she came up with the novel idea of selling UK formats to Europe and America. Steptoe and Son became Sanford and Son and Till Death became All in the Family. Beryl then went on to produce Beacon Hill, the US version of Upstairs Downstairs set in up scale Boston and an American version of It’s a Knockout.  Back in the UK she produced The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for TV and then one of her proudest achievements; she was one of the executive producers of Tommy starring Eric Clapton, Elton John and Tina Turner.

When Beryl started her own independent, Hartswood, in the 1980s, she widened her range considerably. She made comedies like Fear, Stress and Anger, Coupling and Carrie and Barry for the BBC and sold them to the US. Three series of the wonderful Is It Legal? for ITV and then for Channel 4. A channel moving trick she had pulled off earlier with the hugely successful Men Behaving Badly. Beryl had read Simon Nye’s book of the same name and had asked Simon, who had never written for TV before, to adapt it. Simon became one of the most sought after writers and the show became a huge success after a shaky start on ITV. It was Beryl’s talent and tenacity that charmed the BBC into taking what had essentially been a bit of a flop and that similarly turned it into a hit. She made documentaries on subjects that she thought would be interesting, like In Love with Elizabeth about the early life of the Queen Mother, along with The War behind the Wire and The Welsh Great Escape, both extraordinary wartime stories.  She made Going to Chelsea about florist Stephen Woodhams preparing for the Flower show and the wonderful Officers and Gentlemen, the first documentary that had ever been given access to the Chelsea Pensioners hospital.  Beryl’s palpable honesty and interest had made another conquest.  Channel Controllers began to speak of being “Beryl’d”. Hartswood made dramas like Jekyll and Wonderful You, The English Wife and mini-series like Codename Kyril and Border Café. Most recently; of course, it has made one of the biggest drama hits in years, Sherlock, part-written by her son in law and exec produced by both Beryl and her daughter, Sue.  Sue says of her mother “Beryl has always tried to work with like-minded people and quite often she has been related to them.”

Beryl Vertue is an extraordinary woman who has had and is still having, an extraordinary career.  She has done it by breaking the rules, she has said “Why can’t you do that?”, and if no one has come up with a really good reason why not, she has done it. To meet her, if only briefly, is to get a sense of the tenacity, talent and downright charm of a woman who makes it impossible for people to say “no” to her.  Why would you? She has changed television.”


2 comments on “Royal Television Society Programme Awards 2011

  1. Norman Price
    March 21, 2012

    Gareth Malone, Military Wives was marvelous.

    Top Boy…”created an alluring world”!
    These RTS people don’t live in the same universe as ordinary people.

    I agree Idris Elba is a brilliant actor, but that alone could not raise Luther 2 to anywhere the standard of the superb Scott and Bailey. The second series of S&B has started with a gritty two parter that really did have a sense of authenticity.

    Perhaps I prefer my heroes/heroines to be attractive cops, and not brutal drug dealers or psychopaths.

    • crimeficreader
      March 21, 2012

      Agree with you on S&B, Norm. A fab opening two parter.

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This entry was posted on March 21, 2012 by in Awards, Television and tagged , .
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