RTS awards new fellowships

RTS awards new fellowships

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Tuesday, 15th November 2016
Kay Mellor receiving her RTS fellowship (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)
Kay Mellor receiving her RTS fellowship (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

Eight new RTS Fellowships were presented at a London patron dinner hosted by RTS Chief Executive Theresa Wise.

The new fellows represented a broad range of television industry talent.

Included were two of the most influential women in British TV – writer Kay Mellor, best known for Band of Gold and In the Club, and the BBC’s Director of Content, Charlotte Moore.

Also receiving a fellowship was one of the doyens of natural history film making, Alastair Fothergill,

His credits include Sir David Attenborough’s The Trials of Life and Life In The Freezer.

Another new fellow was the much-feted independent producer Stephen Lambert.

Lambert is the man behind Channel 4’s Gogglebox, the latest in a long line of reality TV juggernauts he’s nurtured. His other hits include Wife Swap and Undercover Boss.

The world of sport was represented by John Watts, host director of the football World Cup for 12 years from 2002-14.

Watts was also responsible for covering 20 years of the Champions League, seven FA Cup Finals and was host director of four Rugby World Cups.

Sport also featured high on the CV of Roger Mosey, another of the new RTS Fellows. Mosey famously masterminded the BBC’s acclaimed coverage of the 2012 London Olympics.

Previously he was controller of Radio 5 Live and headed both BBC Sport and BBC News.

One of the other new fellows was once a rising star at the BBC – Stuart Murphy, who launched BBC Three and helped to establish the network as an innovative youth channel.   

At BBC Three Murphy’s flair for comedy was much in evidence.

There he greenlit two of the 21st century’s most successful TV comedies, Little Britain and Gavin and Stacey.

Subsequently Murphy was head hunted by Sky, where he ran Sky 1 and the satellite broadcaster’s commissioning teams in comedy, drama, factual and entertainment.

Murphy, who chaired the RTS Student Awards for three years, now runs a production company specialising in comedy.

The final new RTS Fellow was John McVay, chief executive of PACT, the lobby group for independent producers.

He revealed he’d once been a member of punk band, The Deleted.   

McVay, who is a governor of the National Film and Television School, told the RTS that an album by the group was recently released on vinyl by an obscure Canadian record label.

At the dinner it was announced that the Society’s new Chair is Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media. Mockridge succeeds ITN CEO John Hardie.

Tom Mockridge speaking at the Patron Dinner (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

“Tom comes to us with the most amazing international business experience – in pay TV, broadband and news.

“He has worked for two of the most formidable media moguls of our day,” said Wise.

A new RTS Vice Chair was also revealed – Simon Pitts, ITV’s Managing Director of Online, Pay TV, Interactive & Technology, and Chair of the Society’s Technology Bursary Scheme.

The dinner was attended by a large number of RTS bursary students. The under-graduates represented three years of the Society’s bursary initiative.    

“You are not just talented, but you are from all over the country, studying at 22 different universities,” said Wise. “You are all from homes of lower income and often the first generation to go to university.

“We know that it is harder for this group to enter our industry so we are here to support you doing that.”

Several of the new RTS Fellows had some advice for the wannabes.

Both Watts and Mosey urged the students to remember that sport offered great opportunities for tomorrow’s TV talent base.

Watts said: “I looked at the list of Fellows last night and there weren’t too many of us from the world of sport. Hopefully that will change in the future.”

He added: “Sports television is about team work and I want to thank all the great teams that I’ve worked with.”  

Murphy told the students it was important to “celebrate difference” and “realise that the loudest voice isn’t necessarily the best voice.”

He continued: “You really need to cherish and listen to the quietest voice in the room…You don’t need to be loud to be brilliant.

“I’ve worked with brilliant people who are loud like Roger Mosey, Stephen Lambert and Gary Davey (Sky’s Managing Director, Content) but they also have quiet moments.

“They listen more than they speak and that’s a good thing.”   

Moore provided an insight into her own early career and what motivated her.  

She said: “I started in TV because I was passionate about understanding the world from different perspectives and trying to satisfy my own curiosity about what makes the world tick…

“I find it extraordinary that I have this amazing job where I get to work with inspirational people like Sir David Attenborough.

“People like him inspire us all to follow our passions.”

Mockridge said the bursary students had made “a great choice” by wanting to work in TV and related content businesses.

“This is an industry that is unambiguously growing,” said the Virgin CEO. “And whatever piece of it you’re in, there is positive change.”
The RTS Patron Dinner was held at the Institute of Engineering and Technology in central London on November 14.

  • Charlotte Moore with Tom Mockridge
  • John McVay
  • John Watts
  • John Watts with Simon Pitts
  • Alastair Fothergill with Simon Pitts
  • Tom Mockridge addresses guests
  • Roger Mosey and Tom Mockridge
  • Kay Mellor with Simon Pitts

All photos by Paul Hampartsoumian

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Eight new RTS Fellowships were presented at a London patron dinner hosted by RTS Chief Executive Theresa Wise.