The Society’s royal patron praises the ingenuity and commitment of production workers, reports Steve Clarke
HRH The Prince of Wales, patron of the Royal Television Society, has paid tribute to the cultural and economic contribution made by TV production teams in the UK.
In an inspirational message, delivered at the RTS Craft & Design Awards 2020, Prince Charles said that lockdown had given him “renewed admiration” for the skills of all types of programme-makers.
This was based on personal experience. To keep in touch during the early days of the pandemic, he said that he had been forced to shoot and edit short films in order to maintain contact with the outside world.
He congratulated all the winners and nominees, for whom he expressed “my warmest appreciation and admiration. Your devotion to your craft has made British television production a truly outstanding success story.”
The RTS Craft & Design Awards, which were streamed on 23 November, were “a testament to the quality of the technical skills and expertise we see in British television production in all its many genres”.
The spring lockdown had reminded us all of TV’s vital role: “For many of our most vulnerable people shielding at home, television was a valuable source of company – in many cases, their only source of company.
“Whether through documentaries, drama, news and current affairs, entertainment or natural history programmes, the nation was kept informed, engaged and entertained throughout those trying months by television in all its rich variety.”
Noting that the UK TV production industry was worth more than £3bn, with almost a third coming from international revenues, “the sector is a hugely significant part of the nation’s economic life. That figure alone is a wonderful tribute to the people who work behind the camera – the highly skilled technicians and crews whose creativity and professionalism have made British programmes so admired around the world.”
Recalling how he had met some of the recipients of RTS Television Production and Broadcast Journalism bursaries three years ago at a celebration to the mark the Society’s 90th birthday, HRH stressed the importance of nurturing the next generation of production personnel.
“Developing new talent, valuing and strengthening these essential crafts and creating new opportunities
is more important now than ever,” he said. “I know that the coronavirus pandemic has brought incredibly difficult times to people working in TV production and to freelancers in particular.
“When production closed down, many were left without work yet still with families to provide for and bills to pay.
“As with so many of our industries, it was a devastating period.
“But, now that production is beginning to re-establish itself, I do hope you’ll be encouraged by the knowledge that the contribution that you make to our national cultural and economic life is truly valued.
“The ingenuity and resourcefulness of crafts people in British television production is revered around the world and it is my belief that you will rebound from these challenging days stronger than ever.”