BBC One’s hard-hitting police drama Happy Valley took three prizes – including Best Performances in a Single Drama or Drama Series for Kevin Doyle and Sarah Lancashire – at the RTS North West Awards 2016.
The series, which was produced by Manchester-based Red Production Company, also picked up the Best Production (Craft) Award.
More than 450 industry professionals and guests attended the ceremony at the Hilton Deansgate in November, which was hosted by actor and comedian Les Dennis.
“TV production is one of the North West’s big employers and global export industries. Once again there were some brilliant winners, some witty speeches and some people who got a bit carried away on stage. We would not want it any other way,” said RTS North West Chair and Shine North MD Alex Connock.
BBC One’s Reg, produced by Liverpool-based LA Productions, took home two awards: Best Single Drama or Drama Series and Best Script Writer for Jimmy McGovern and Robert Pugh. The film told the story of Reg Keys’ campaign against the Government following the death of his son in the Iraq war.
Both McGovern and Lancashire won awards at the first RTS North West Awards two decades earlier.
Coronation Street’s Tina O’Brien picked up the award for Best Performance in a Continuing Drama, holding off competition from soap co-stars Alex Bain, Jane Danson and Jack P Shepherd.
In the comedy categories, Alison Steadman received the Best Actor Award for her role in BBC One’s Broken Biscuits (Jellylegs Productions), while BBC Two’s Boy Meets Girl (Tiger Aspect) was named Best Comedy Programme.
The children’s awards went to CBeebies’ Twirlywoos: Twirling (Mackinnon and Saunders/Ragdoll Productions) in the Pre-school category and the CBBC Production Hiroshima: A Newsround Special (School Age).
Danger Mouse (CBBC Production/ FremantleMedia) scooped the Best Animation/Puppetry Award. Kids shows also won the Best Factual Entertainment category, the CBBC Production The Dengineers for CBBC, and that for Entertainment, the CBeebies Production Swashbuckle.
In the news and current affairs categories, Andy Bonner was named Best Regional News Journalist, one of three awards taken by ITV News’ Granada Reports. It also won Best Regional News Programme for The Hillsborough Inquests and Best Regional Story for Hillsborough Compilation.
Tonight: Meeting My Enemy (ITV Studios for ITV) took the Current Affairs Award.
Other winners included 1966: A Nation Remembers (Best Sports Programme, Blakeway North for ITV); Kid’s Hospital: Your Child in Their Hands (Best Factual Series, Films of Record/Group M Entertainment for Channel 5); and Life Begins Now (Best Single Documentary, Platform Productions for BBC Three).
The RTS North West Awards were first held 20 years ago – the first ceremony was on 9 November 1996 in the banqueting hall of Manchester Town Hall.
“Mersey Television, the BBC and Granada Television were strongly represented in many of the awards categories,” reported Television in February 1997.
The judges award went to writer Jimmy McGovern who had penned the script for the ITV docu-drama Hillsborough and, a few years earlier, had created ITV crime drama Cracker, starring Robbie Coltrane as a criminal psychologist.
Other winners included: Channel 4 soap Brookside; the BBC’s mock chat show The Mrs Merton Show; Kay Mellor’s ITV drama about prostitutes in Bradford, Band of Gold; and Coltrane and Sarah Lancashire, who was appearing in Coronation Street at the time.
Andrea Wonfor, who died in 2004, gave the keynote speech. Wonfor was the chair of the RTS – the first woman to hold that role in the society’s history – and joint Managing Director of Granada. BBC Radio 4’s Jenni Murray presented the awards.
The ceremony was recorded by Mersey Television (now Lime Pictures) – the indie formed by producer and writer Phil Redmond that made Brookside – and highlights broadcast in the Granada region.