Programme Awards Winners 2008

Benedict Cumberbatch

The RTS Programme Awards were presented on Wednesday 19 March 2008 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London W1.

The evening was hosted by Eamonn Holmes and Jane Lighting,
RTS Chair, presented the Awards.



The Mighty Boosh Baby Cow for BBC Three
“…beautifully constructed and layered… and oozes originality on so many levels. It is a fresh and invigorating piece of high-concept comedy that has captured the imagination of its target [audience].”


Peep Show An Objective Production for Channel 4
The Thick Of It - The Rise Of The Nutters BBC Comedy for BBC Four


QI A Quite Interesting talkbackTHAMES Production for BBC Two
“The jury described the winning show as a phenomenon – a Great British programme, incredibly old-fashioned but absolutely part of the zeitgeist. It’s the panel show that’s beyond a panel show.”


Strictly Come Dancing BBC Entertainment for BBC One
The Armstrong & Miller Show A Hat Trick Production for BBC One


The Bill A talkbackTHAMES Production for ITV
“The jury felt that this series reflected the best of powerful contemporary drama - strong storylines, consistent scripts and good characters.”


Coronation Street ITV Productions for ITV
Holby City BBC Drama Production for BBC One


My Life As A Popat - Evil Granny Feelgood Fiction for CITV
“Sometimes bizarre, certainly unique but never dull – the winning programme is a children’s comedy that is genuinely funny.”


Desperados BBC Children’s for CBBC
Sarah Jane Adventures BBC Wales for CBBC/BBC One


Serious Andes BBC Children’s for BBC One
“An empowering, moving, compelling and beautifully executed documentary that was truly engaging.”


Pocoyo Granada International and Zinkia for CITV
Shaun The Sheep Aardman Animation for BBC One


Meet The Natives Keo Films for Channel 4
“It’s rare… to find programmes that combine humour, warmth and a real sense of purpose so successfully. The characters were unforgettable and the insights into modern British life really stay with you.”


Secret Millionaire An RDF Media Production for Channel 4
Filthy Rich And Homeless Love Productions for BBC Three


Andrew Marr's History Of Modern Britain BBC Current Affairs for BBC Two
“A combination of wit, insight and scholarship were deployed to provide a fresh take on our recent past.”


A Very British Sex Scandal A Blast! Film for Channel 4
The Relief Of Belsen A Hardy & Sons Production for Channel 4


Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives BBC Scotland for BBC Four
“Weaving together an emotional odyssey with an exploration of some of the most challenging front-line science was an audacious idea, but this film pulled it off magnificently.”


Horizon: Everest - Doctors In The Death Zone Discovery Channel for BBC Two
The Human Footprint A Touch Production for Channel 4


You're Not Splitting Up My Family Windfall Films for Channel 4
“Extraordinary and absolutely outstanding, a prime example of what documentary could – and should – do. Immensely compelling and very moving, the film gave viewers a profound insight into a process rarely, if ever, observed at such close quarters.”


Beautiful Young Minds Blast! Films for BBC Two
Panorama: Taking On The Taliban - The Soldiers' Story BBC Current Affairs for BBC One


Top Gear BBC Entertainment for BBC Two
“This series has continually reinvented itself, and the three presenters really are Three Men in a Boat for the 21st Century.”


Gordon Ramsay's F Word Optomen Television for Channel 4
How To Look Good Naked A Maverick Production for Channel 4


Come Dine With Me A Granada Factual London Production for Channel 4
“A pioneering show for daytime, with refreshing, articulate characters, and great energy and pace.”


Loose Women ITV Productions for ITV
Wanted Down Under BBC Bristol for BBC One


Boys Behind Bars Friel Kean Films for BBC One Scotland
“Deserving of a prime network slot…, the winning programme combined amazing access with riveting stories and great characters.”


Bullseye Belles Tern Television for BBC Northern Ireland
Routemaster: Goodbye London, Hello World ITV London


Andrew Marr - Andrew Marr's History Of Modern Britain BBC Current Affairs for BBC Two
“… combined wit, humour and intellectual rigour without a trace of stuffiness. A wonderful story teller, he bravely dispensed with interviews and in so doing invented a new kind of television essay.”


Kevin McCloud - Grand Designs A talkbackTHAMES Production for Channel 4
Stephen Nolan - Nolan Live BBC Northern Ireland for BBC One Northern Ireland


Fonejacker A Hat Trick Production for E4
“The winning show exemplifies what digital TV should be about; where talent can explode on to the scene from nowhere and rewrite what television can do.”


Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe Zeppotron for BBC Four
The Trial Of Tony Blair A Daybreak Pictures Production for More4


Genius Of Photography Wall to Wall for BBC Four
“The jury praised the imaginative direction of the winning programme, which they said was intelligent, inspiring and a thoroughly enjoyable watch.”


How We Built Britain BBC London Arts for BBC One
This Is Civilisation A Seneca Production for Channel 4


Flight Of The Conchords Acquired from HBO for BBC Four
“…warm, fabulous, and one of the most surprising, fresh and original TV comedies to arrive in a long time.”


Heroes Acquired from NBC Universal for SCI FI
Ugly Betty Acquired from ABC Studios for Channel 4


Britz A Daybreak Pictures Production for Channel 4
“The jury found the boldness of this contemporary drama compelling. Riveting and brilliant, it held a mirror up to a life not often shown on screen.”


Five Days BBC Drama Production/HBO for BBC One
Torn TXTV for ITV


Stuart: A Life Backwards Neal Street Productions for BBC/HBO for BBC Two
“This was a refreshing, exciting, inventive and unexpected film. With a great lightness of touch, a potentially bleak subject was treated with enormous affection, complexity and wit.”


Boy A Cuba Pictures for Channel 4
Mark of Cain Red Production Company for Channel 4


The Street A Granada Production for BBC One
“Fabulous writing that tackles big stories in an incredibly accessible way and delivers a compelling emotional hit every time.”


Doctor Who BBC Wales in association with CBC for BBC One
Skins A Company Pictures Production for E4


Matthew Macfadyen - Secret Life A Kudos Production for Channel 4
“The jury was struck not only by the bravery but also by the complexity of this performance which left them torn between sympathy and loathing. … an utterly compelling performance.”


Andrew Garfield - Boy A Cuba Pictures for Channel 4
David Tennant - Recovery/Doctor Who Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC One/BBC Wales in association with CBC for BBC One


Sally Hawkins - Persuasion Clerkenwell Films for ITV
“The jury felt that the winning actor brought an extraordinary depth and subtlety to a deceptively complex role, and re-told a familiar story in a brilliantly fresh performance.”


Janet McTeer - Five Days BBC Drama Production/HBO for BBC One
Penelope Wilton - Five Days BBC Drama Production/HBO for BBC One


Heidi Thomas - Cranford BBC Drama Production/WGBH Boston in association with Chestermead for BBC One
“The writing literally shone through - dancing effortlessly between rich comic subtext and almost unbearable emotion. Idiosyncratic and tender, and yet hugely confident and bold.”


Gwyneth Hughes - Five Days BBC Drama Production/HBO for BBC One
Mark O'Rowe - Boy A Cuba Pictures for Channel 4


Graham Linehan - The I.T. Crowd A talkbackTHAMES Production for Channel 4
“Skilful writing with dextrous word-play and great characterisation makes this a quick witted and superb show with universal appeal.”


Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong - Peep Show An Objective Production for Channel 4
Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell, Jesse Armstrong, Tony Roche and Ian Martin - The Thick Of It - The Rise Of The Nutters BBC Comedy for BBC Four


Harry Hill - Harry Hill's TV Burp Series 6Avalon Television Production for ITV
“The winning performer has masterfully moved his show from the edge to the heart of the schedule. His inventiveness and wit shine through a simple format in a unique way.”


Stephen Fry - QI A Quite Interesting talkbackTHAMES Production for BBC Two
Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly - I'm A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here/Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway ITV Productions for ITV/ITV Productions & Gallowgate Productions for ITV


David Mitchell and Robert Webb - Peep Show An Objective Production for Channel 4
“… the winners have grown into television’s most consummate comedy performers. Their characters are beautifully drawn and the two performers play brilliantly off each other.”


Peter Capaldi - The Thick Of It - The Rise Of The Nutters BBC Comedy for BBC Four
Jack Dee - Lead Balloon Open Mike for BBC Two


Sir David Attenborough CH CVO CBE FRS

“The winner of our Lifetime Achievement Award, nearly did not make it into broadcasting at all. His application to join BBC Radio was rejected – he wasn’t considered suitable! However, someone in the fledgling television service spotted his application form and asked if he would mind joining TV instead, in those days considered a very inferior medium.

He had a passion for natural history since childhood, collecting fossils from the age of 7 near his home in Leicester. And that passion was quickly expressed in his new job, producing such programmes as Animal Vegetable Mineral and first presenting on a show called The Pattern Of Animals. But his big break came when given the opportunity to lead expeditions collecting animals for London Zoo for the series Zoo Quest. He travelled all over the world at a time when air travel was in its infancy, producing, sound recording and staring in many thrilling Zoo Quest series.

But his knowledge and interests were broad and his ability as a producer strong in the relatively new medium of TV and he swiftly rose up through the ranks at the BBC to become Controller of BBC2 and later Director of Programmes. Those wide interests were reflected in his commissioning decisions, building BBC2 into a broad mixed genre channel. Our winner’s talents were such that he was even tipped for the top job at the BBC, of Director General. But baulking at a lifetime behind a desk he eventually took the risky decision to resign to pursue his own twin passions of television and natural history, to develop and present that landmark series on evolution which, of course, became Life On Earth.

But his career as a landmark presenter could have been swiftly cut short. In that famous scene with the gorillas, one of them took his head in her hands and began to tug. The cameraman was heard to exclaim, “she’s going to pull his head off” to which the producer replied “She can’t do that – we haven’t finished the series yet”! Life On Earth was seen by an estimated 500 million people globally and transformed the popular view of the natural world.

Living Planet, Trials of Life, The Life Of Mammals and many others followed – each a great television event in themselves - together the greatest and most coherent natural history television thesis ever. And who but our winner could achieve audience appreciation scores of 93 with animals as unlikely as frogs, lizards and turtles, as he did in his most recent project, Life in Cold Blood. His view has always been that the natural world in ALL its detail, not just the obvious tigers, elephants and sharks, can be fascinating to mass audiences. And he has proved that time and again – with successful series even on insects and plants.

In over 50 years of travelling he has seen many changes to the natural world and been a generous supporter of a whole range of wildlife conservation organisations. More recently he has brought his concerns to public attention, through series such as State Of The Planet and the BBC Climate Chaos Season. He’s often been called the most trusted broadcaster in Britain and it was perhaps no accident that when his programmes about the threat of climate change were transmitted a couple of years ago it seemed as though almost the whole nation sat up and suddenly took this issue seriously. Inspiring millions with the wonders of nature, no one has contributed more to both broadcasting and the conservation of nature than Sir David Attenborough.

Judges’ Award

Glenwyn Benson

Glenwyn Benson has been one of the most influential figures in factual broadcasting over the last twenty five years. During her long and distinguished career at the BBC, Glenwyn has worked tirelessly and selflessly to support outstanding, world-class programmes. She's backed award winners such as Auschwitz, Who Do You Think You Are?, Motherland, The Life of Mammals, Supervolcano, George Orwell: a Life in Pictures and Planet Earth.

Glenwyn's won enormous loyalty, admiration and affection from programme makers across the industry. Her knowledge, high standards, integrity and commitment have made her a role model for many - and she has inspired and developed a generation of talent in specialist factual, the arts, features, documentaries and current affairs.

Glenwyn's dedication to public service broadcasting is exceptional. It is at the root of everything she has done - and continues to achieve for the BBC. She's a visionary, an outstanding creative leader, who combines a formidable intellect with a passion for communicating sometimes challenging subjects to broad audiences.

Throughout her career, her talents have been quickly spotted and acknowledged. She was first recognised as an outstanding current affairs programme maker for ITV at London Weekend Television when she became deputy editor of Weekend World.
Since then, she's built a powerful reputation as a creative leader at the BBC.

The first woman Editor ofPanorama, Glenwyn revived the programme as a result of her willingness to cover subjects that people felt were relevant to their lives.

As a pioneer of multimedia approaches in education, Glenwyn understood the power of the web both for broadcasters and audiences alike. She was quick to spot the huge educational potential of factual programmes, commissioning some of the earliest and boldest BBC websites - a great knowledge building site based on Simon Schama's History of Britain series, and learning sites which continue to influence millions - from BBC Languages, Health and Fitness, to Teletubbies online.

After a successful spell as Head of BBC Science, where she oversaw some outstanding content on series like Horizon, Tomorrow's World and commissions such as Child of our Time and Walking with Beasts, Glenwyn was appointed Controller of Specialist Factual; highlights there range from Pyramid to Battle of the Atlantic.

She became the first Controller of BBC Television's factual commissioning team and was subsequently appointed Controller, Knowledge, embracing multimedia commissioning at the BBC.

Under Glenwyn, commissions have included outstanding natural history content, award winning documentaries such as The Secret Policeman investigation, the Arts landmark The Power of Art, The Private Life of a Masterpiece, the most ambitious History series on Ancient Egypt and Rome and state events including the Queen Mother's Funeral and the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

And Glenwyn's championed factual programming for audiences across the BBC's digital channels. She and her team have commissioned standout programmes for BBC4, including The Genius of Photography and The Science You Can't See series, and great factual content like Last Man Standing, Baby Borrowers and Kill It, Cook It, Eat It for BBC3.

Glenwyn's an enthusiast, a visionary - she's a fantastic ambassador for the BBC. People don’t like working with Glenwyn - they love working with her. She's an original. In a fast changing industry, Glenwyn is true to her convictions and remains steadfastly loyal to the audience. Glenwyn is rare indeed - driven purely by the need to serve the public.