This year, it featured fellow Mancunian Jason Manford – comedian, actor, TV presenter and quiz show panellist – in conversation with former Coronation Street regular Catherine Tyldesley.
Manford’s start in show business could not have been more different to Wilson, who joined ITN as a trainee reporter after graduating from Cambridge University. Manford was 16 and working in a Manchester pub with a weekly comedy night, where he was lucky enough to watch the likes of Caroline Aherne and Peter Kay.
The actor, who has won two RTS North West awards for her performances in ITV soap Coronation Street and BBC Two factual drama Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster, was giving this year’s Anthony H Wilson Memorial Lecture.
During the course of a conversation with actor and director Noreen Kershaw, Hesmondhalgh proved to be the embodiment of the words of the late Granada Reports anchor and music impresario, Wilson, who memorably summed up his city: “This is Manchester: we do things differently here.”
The drama about the murder of 11 year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool in 2007 was named the region’s Best Drama, Jeff Pope was awarded the Best Script Writer award and Sinead Keenan won the prize for Best Performance in a drama.
More than 450 industry professionals and guests attended the awards ceremony, which was held at the Hilton Deansgate in Manchester and hosted by Robert Rinder from ITV court show, Judge Rinder.
Broken, which stars Sean Bean as a troubled priest working in an impoverished community, also features Adrian Dunbar and Anna Friel in a strong cast.
Like McGovern’s previous work – including the RTS award-winning Cracker and The Street – the Liverpool-set drama features memorable characters.
Interviewed by journalist Mark Lawson, Pope discussed his career, which, as a writer and producer, has seen him win BAFTAs for See No Evil: The Moors Murderers and the film, Philomena. His credits also include Appropriate Adult about serial killers Fred and Rose West.
Pope’s latest project is the heart-rending Little Boy Blue, which tells the story of the murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones, an innocent victim of gang conflict in Liverpool.
The popular comedy is written by and stars Sian Gibson and Peter Kay as supermarket employees John and Kayleigh who found themselves thrown together as part of the company car share scheme.
Originally launching on BBC iPlayer in 2015, the series was a huge success, becoming the most watched new sitcom since 2011. It also won Best Scripted Comedy at the BAFTA Television Awards, while Peter Kay took home an award for Best Male Performance in a Comedy.
Each year the RTS awards excellence in student television production in the North West. The winners will be announced on Tuesday 9 February by Good Morning Britain's Ranvir Singh.
The nominees for 2016 are as follows:
Resort - Manchester School of Art/Manchester Metropolitan University