A wartime aircraft hangar at Leeds East Airport is an unlikely setting for the next generation of out-of-London TV talent to start their careers, but that’s exactly what’s happening at Air TV.
The company – run by ex-BBC execs Matt Richards, Andy Joynson and Ian Cundall – is passionate about attracting, training and retaining young talent to work on their fast-growing slate of factual shows.
Robson Green has done it. Professor Alice Roberts has also given it a go. Darcey Bussell tried it in Scotland recently. Kate Humble did it naked. Susannah Constantine took an axe with her when she did it. Barely a week goes by without someone from either Countryfile or The One Show doing it. And Port Talbot resident David Bryan credits it with helping to save his life.
An RTS Yorkshire event looks at Yorkshire's rich history of producing outstanding television content for regional, national and international audiences. The panel debates how important is it that both the legacy collections and new digital content are archived: that the material is protected and preserved, and made accessible for future generations, and whose responsibility is it and are the skills and training in place to make it happen.
The announcement that Channel 4 will be coming to Leeds literally lit up the city. Social media went mad. Leeds City Region’s #4Sparks campaign had prevailed, and Leeds University floodlit its iconic Parkinson Building in celebration.
Friends and neighbours with no connection to the media were talking about it as a good thing. A new wave of prosperity, jobs and creative pride was on the way.
Moreover, we had been the underdog and beaten off the challenge from the two Andies (mayors Andy Street, heading the Birmingham bid, and Andy Burnham, in Manchester).
The popular secondary school-set series, which is made by the Forge, scooped four top prizes, including the prestigious Drama award. Poppy Lee Friar, who plays feisty Missy Booth, was named Best Actor; Penny Woolcock took home the Director Fiction prize; and Tim Phillips won the Music award.
More than 350 guests attended the ceremony at the Queens Hotel in Leeds, which was hosted by Ellie and Izzi Warner, two of the stars of Channel 4 show Gogglebox.
On 7 September 1927, John Logie Baird demonstrated his “noctovision” to a room full of enthusiasts at Leeds University. Baird referred to the technology as “seeing by electricity”.
At the close of the meeting, the formation of the society was proposed. Then known as the British Association, many of the founder members were from Leeds and Yorkshire.
Roger began his career at the BBC in Leeds as a studio assistant on Look North and other regional shows. He soon moved on from floor management and graphics duties to directing, making stylish, creative films for the network with writers including Alan Ayckbourn and Peter Tinniswood.
Middleton, who has played Ashley Thomas in the ITV soap for the past two decades, was named Best Actor. The judges commended the actor for his “heart-breaking, powerful and dignified performance” in the wake of his character’s diagnosis with vascular dementia.
The actor received one of two RTS Yorkshire Outstanding Contribution Awards awarded on the night. Emmerdale also won a second award, with Maxine Alderton taking home the prize in the Best Writer category.
Edd Benson from Sheffield Hallam University scooped the Animation award with Out on a Limb, which the jury praised as a “timely and thought-provoking piece”.
Fellow Sheffield Hallam University students – Amy Parker, Kirean Boughan, Lauren Griggs, Beth Elston and Chris Kelly – picked up the award in the Comedy and Entertainment category for Tug of War, which the jury commended for its “clear set up, middle and pay off – all in the right order”.
Purple Thunder Productions from York St John University won the Drama award with Eden, “an ambitious film with a real human story”.