Warrington students in limelight at top TV awards

Posted on 11th February 2010
Three Television Production students from the University of Chester's Warrington Campus are celebrating their placings in awards from the Royal Television Society (RTS) and BBC.
Hayley Evans, from Runcorn, and Denise Clarke, from Heswall, found themselves in the top three of the RTS North West Student Television Award (Factual category) for their innovative, 24-minute documentary The Bridge.

The programme gives a range of personal perspectives on the history of Runcorn Bridge. The award judges said it was an innovative and enjoyable programme to watch. They particularly liked the artistic shots and good use of archive footage.

Producer and Director Hayley Evans, aged 24, said: "At first, I was shocked to discover we had reached the final of the RTS North West awards. Now, having heard the comments of the judges and others in the industry, I'm really proud of our work.

"I came up with the idea for the documentary because I have lived in the shadow of Runcorn Bridge all my life. I wanted to discover and tell the stories of others who have an affinity for it.

"We advertised for people with stories and even got to speak to the construction worker who was the first to cross the bridge when it was finished."

Denise Clarke was the researcher and interviewer on the team. Denise, a mature student (aged 50), said: "I was thrilled about the award. The competition was quite fierce. I don't think I realised quite how good our entry was until they showed clips of all finalists' during the awards ceremony."

Hayley and Denise received their finalists' certificates at a ceremony in Manchester on January 12 from BBC North West Tonight newsreader Ranvir Singh.

They made the programme during the final year of their degree course. Hayley has stayed on at the University to study for a masters degree in TV production, while Denise is looking for a job in public relations.

Hayley is also one of two University of Chester students to have reached the final of the BBC Partnership Awards, which are to be presented at a ceremony in Teesside on February 11. She submitted an edited version of The Bridge for the Awards' Factual category.

Fellow student Lianne McKeown, aged 21 of Lymm, is also a shortlisted finalist in the Factual category, for her film Woman's Best Friend. Lianne directed and produced the film which features a woman and her dog, both of whom are ill and provide companionship for each other.

Lianne said: "It's amazing to be shortlisted for a BBC award. It can help you get your foot in the door in this industry. I'm really proud to have got this far and I'm looking forward to the award ceremony."

Wayne O'Brien, the University's Head of TV Production, entered the students for the awards. He said: "The standard of our students' work last year was extremely high and I was keen to put a number of them forward for these awards. They have done themselves - and the University - proud in reaching the finals.

"I congratulate them on their achievements in these prestigious awards and we are looking forward excitedly to hearing the results of the BBC Partnership Awards on February 11."