The production team behind BBC drama series Ralph & Katie have been recognised with a special award from the Royal Television Society for its efforts to establish a gold standard for representation, inclusivity and access.
Tiger Aspect, ITV Studios and Keshet’s spin-off from Peter Bowker's The A Word, which foregrounds a relationship between two disabled characters and was written by a predominantly disabled team, was “one of the most inclusive pieces of content that we've seen on screen for a long, long time”, said the RTS Craft & Design Awards judges.
Producer Jules Hussey and director Jordan Hogg were singled out for leading a workplace that “celebrated diversity and supported a range of different accessibility needs”.
The production invited every member of cast and crew to share any ‘reasonable adjustments’, required everyone to wear name badges, used large-print picture-led call sheets with maps highlighting the two on-set accessible toilets, offered use of the Call It! app, and ran workshops on working with learning-disabled adults.
With TripleC DANC (Disabled Artists Networking Community), the show also offered 30 deaf, disabled and neurodivergent trainees remote shadowing of the entire production.
The citation added: “Through their work this team has removed barriers, increased access and changed perceptions of what is possible. They have set the standard for disability inclusion not just for the wider industry, but for society as a whole.”
Meanwhile, the RTS handed its outstanding contribution award to BBC Natural History Unit director of photography Justine Evans, who has worked on all three series of Planet Earth.
Judges described Evans as a “trailblazer” in a male-dominated profession, who approaches filming in challenging environments with “immense resilience, courage and humour”.
BBC2 drama series The English, Sky’s comedy-drama Funny Woman and the BBC’s coverage of the Queen’s funeral each scored two wins at the awards, while the production management team that delivered BBC1’s Eurovision coverage from Liverpool were recognised for their “phenomenal” efforts in ensuring “the contest’s integrity was preserved amidst the spectacle and complexity” of the event.
Marcel Mettelsiefen and Jordan Bryon won in both the director (non-scripted) and photography (non-scripted) categories for the “unfiltered feel” of their Channel 4 documentary Children of the Taliban.
In scripted, Junior Okoli won for his TV directing debut on Prime Video drama Jungle, in which “complexity and simplicity sat side-by-side effortlessly, allowing the viewer to be seduced by the bold aesthetic, without being distanced from the characters.”
RTS Craft & Design Awards: winners in full
Catherine Willis, Somewhere Boy (Clerkenwell Films for Channel 4)
“The lead is a special young performer aided by an entire cast of adept and brilliant actors. A well-woven cast."
Costume Design – Non-scripted
Plunge Creations/Bandicoot Scotland, The Masked Singer – series 4 (Bandicoot Scotland for ITV)
“Excellent work. So much fun, done so creatively. You simply cannot do this show if the costumes don’t do so much more than their job! It’s all done brilliantly – the jury say they were amazed nobody has toppled over!”
Costume Design - Scripted
Phoebe de Gaye, The English (Drama Republic / Eight Rooks for BBC)
“Wonderful colours and palette. Our winner created the world so beautifully and authentically. The jury said they were seduced by how exquisite this was.”
Design - Programme Content Sequences
Made in Colour, Ukraine: The Children’s Story (BBC Newsround for BBC)
“Elegantly uncomplicated animations that honour the complexity of these challenging narratives.”
Design – Titles
Chris Billig, Stephen Fuller, Colin Hess & Danny Kamhaji, The English (Drama Republic / Eight Rooks for BBC)
“A stunning colour scheme, meticulously designed, compelling all judges to desire artworks inspired by it!”
Director - Multicamera
Directing team, The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II (BBC Studios for BBC)
“Taking on a project knowing that what you produce will enter the national archives forever, something that will be replayed again and again for the next 100 years would daunt many live directors – but not this team. Instead, they delivered a note perfect performance that effortlessly captured the sense of loss that the nation was feeling, balanced with celebrating the life of a global icon. Quite simply masters of their craft.”
Director - Non-scripted
Marcel Mettelsiefen & Jordan Bryon, Children of the Taliban (Moon Dogs Films for Channel 4)
“The jury were particularly impressed by the unfiltered feel to this film. The viewer almost felt they were eavesdropping on the children, that their conversations were seemingly uninterrupted by the presence of cameras which is no mean feat. The film unfolds in beautifully shot scenes and all this was achieved in what must have been the most demanding of filming conditions.”
Director - Scripted
Junior Okoli, Jungle (Nothing Lost for Prime Video)
“It was an incredibly difficult decision in what has been a brilliant year for scripted content. The competition was phenomenal but in the end the winner of this category goes to a director who the jury felt displayed such confidence in shot making that complexity and simplicity sat side by side effortlessly, allowing the viewer to be seduced by the bold aesthetic, without being distanced from the characters. This was made even more impressive as this was our winners television directing debut!”
Editing - Entertainment and Comedy
Gareth Heal, There She Goes special: 414 (Merman Television for BBC)
“An astonishing piece of work. Frantically paced, but the editor really understood the need for air, to allow for the reaction and not afraid of that silence giving the viewer the time to think. The way they kept the intensity was really well done – flawless.”
Editing - Non-scripted
Chloe Lambourne, Lyra (Erica Starling Productions for Channel 4)
“A beautifully put together piece – sensitive, evocative and yet also dramatic. It was brilliantly edited – both holding the viewers on the edge of their seats at its most dramatic moments, whilst also gently and playfully allowing them to get to know the main character, a relatively unknown and yet incredibly heroic young journalist.”
Editing - Scripted
David Charap, I Am Ruth (Me+You Productions in association with Juggle Productions for Channel 4)
“The edit created a slow build of the tension and the editing choices felt so instrumental in creating each scene, as the takes were improvised. It was creative, and instrumental to enhancing some desperately sad scenes. Extraordinary, brilliant and authentic.”
Editing – Sport
Sam Bergson, Hatton (Noah Media Group in association with Sky Studios for Sky)
“Superbly conveyed the raw emotion on show with skilful changes in pace and excellent use of music, creating a wonderfully theatrical feel to the film. Words used included “beautiful” and “impactful” whilst superb storytelling made this a documentary film that everyone wanted to watch.”
Effects - SFX
Stefano Corridori, SAS Rogue Heroes (Kudos / Nebulastar for BBC)
“Overall, the SFX team worked towards a wonderful achievement. The authenticity contributed to the overall look and feel of some incredibly exciting sequences and the more subtle and nuanced invisible work.”
Effects - VFX
Effects team, His Dark Materials (Bad Wolf for BBC)
“The winner showed a rich variety of VFX of an extremely high calibre. The attention to detail on the scale of costumes was integral to ensuring the believability of the mythical characters. The animation of the creatures was particularly noted by the jury, and the interaction with the actors and seamless integration into the scenes was beautifully done. The jury felt that it was a visual feast of complex and very well executed work.”
Lighting for Multicamera
Tim Routledge, James Scott & Morgan Evans (Eurovision Song Contest 2023 BBC Studios for BBC)
“The creativity employed and technology used in all the nominees were beautifully matched, in an array of venues, scenarios and occasions that all provided their own unique set of challenges. In a stand-out year of spectacular events, what the team accomplish in terms of variety, scale and creativity is truly mindboggling. Add to that truncated prep period, cultural language barriers and the sheer number of acts, it really was a very special body of work.”
Make Up Design - Non-scripted
Nicola Coleman, Fantasy Football League (Avalon Television for Sky Max)
“The concise and clear supporting materials supporting this entry really helped the jurors to understand how much work this takes. The characters are all immediately recognisable albeit, with a rough and ready charm, feel and look!”
Make Up Design - Scripted
Sue Michael, Funny Woman (Potboiler Productions and Rebel Park Productions in association with Sky Studios for Sky Max)
“A great understanding of the period – the authenticity came across and it was really beautiful to look at.”
Camera team, The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II (BBC Studios for BBC)
“The jury felt honoured to be able to discuss and celebrate an incredible list of nominees in a stand-out year of event television! What an impressive feat – 212 cameras, 14 OBs and an event that truly showed the world that we are without equal in our standards of live television.”
Music Original Score - Non-scripted
Simon Russell, Once Upon A Time In Northern Ireland (Keo Films and Walk on Air Films for BBC)
“A stunning composition which didn’t distract or overwhelm the stories. The stirring, nostalgic music added to the sensitivity of the narrative. A well thought-out, brilliantly modern score which also respectfully harked back to Gaelic Irish rootsy melodies. So much flair and finesse.”
Music Original Score – Scripted
Johnny Lloyd, I Hate Suzie Too (Bad Wolf for Sky Atlantic)
“Brilliant, striking and original – very impressive. This show wouldn’t work without the musical score, which was well thought out and integral to the whole piece. The music drives the story but never feels intrusive. It met the challenge of reflecting numerous moods – anxiety, panic, mania, and frustration were all heightened via the score.”
Photography - Non-scripted
Marcel Mettelsiefen & Jordan Bryon, Children of the Taliban (Moon Dogs Films for Channel 4)
“The film portrayed the energy of Afghanistan through children’s eyes with an intimacy that was charming and innocent against a challenging and dangerous backdrop. It had a cinematic look with composition that always thought-through even in difficult situations. The photography gave a real sense of place and told a world story through an extraordinary lens..”
Photography - Scripted
Annika Summerson, Then You Run (Kudos / MadeFor for Sky)
“This was strong work with real variety and a clear visual grammar. The jury praised the economic storytelling and found the overall effect incredibly striking.”
Paul Harrison & Owen Hulme, The Gallows Pole (Element Pictures in association with Big Arty Productions for BBC in association with A24)
“The look was effective and consistent and the seamless and subtle style supported the story, taking the viewer along with the narrative. A gorgeous and rich treatment that pushes at the creative and technical aspects of grading.”
Production Design - Non-scripted
Mathieu Weekes / Bizibot Productions, The Traitors (Studio Lambert for BBC)
“Incredible attention to detail, in each section of the multifaceted show; whether within the castle, in the spectacular tasks, or the final debate chamber. A very accomplished, immersive piece of work, that invoked the look and feel of a murder mystery.”
Production Design - Scripted
Jacqueline Smith, Funny Woman (Potboiler Productions and Rebel Park Productions in association with Sky Studios for Sky Max)
“A distinctive, highly researched and accomplished show-within-a show, with brilliant period details that fully immerse the viewer in Barbara’s world and the swinging 60’s. The level of consistency across each scene and each episode indicates a team at the very height of their powers.”
Production management team, Eurovision Song Contest 2023 (BBC Studios for BBC)
“Phenomenal production management was at the forefront of this monumental undertaking. This team successfully delivered on a scale not seen in the UK since 1998. They ensured the contest’s integrity was preserved amidst the spectacle and complexity.”
Sound - Non-scripted
Claire Ellis, Will Chapman & Greg Gettens, Aftershock: Everest and the Nepal Earthquake (Raw TV for Netflix)
“The jury felt the sound design and mix was immersive, gritty and authentic. It gave the viewer the feeling of being there while still maintaining clear, crisp dialogue which kept you engaged with the story.”
Sound - Scripted
Sound team, Great Expectations (FX Productions / Hardy, Son & Baker / Scott Free Productions for BBC)
“The balance of the mix was beautifully done and meant the music was delicate and never over-powered a scene. Sound design elements, even small details, felt rich and beautifully done.”
RTS Special Award
Ralph & Katie
"The spin-off to The A Word follows newlyweds Ralph and Katie in the Lakes, played by Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy. The Guardian described it as real comfort TV, powered by kindness, tolerance and perfect comic timing. But it is not just for its considerable onscreen achievements that the RTS would like to recognise Ralph & Katie.
"As a collective, everyone involved with the show together created one of the most inclusive pieces of content that we've seen on screen for a long, long time. Not only did they assemble an incredible cast, but they also pulled together a production team and crew with hugely important representation of disabled people. Led by Producer, Jules Hussey and Director, Jordan Hogg, they created a workspace that celebrated diversity and supported a range of different accessibility needs.
"Through their work this team has removed barriers, increased access and changed perceptions of what is possible. They have set the standard for disability inclusion not just for the wider industry, but for society as a whole.”
RTS Outstanding Contribution Award
“A director of photography who just happens to be a woman – in itself a rarity. As well as being superb at her craft she is also a trailblazer. She is always willing and happy to tackle the toughest places – high up in the rainforest canopy, deep inside a cave, out in the frozen tundra, or in the baking African bush surrounded by lions at night.
"Justine has worked on countless expeditions, films and series – including being one of the few people to have shot on Planet Earth 1, Planet Earth 2 and the recently released Planet Earth 3.
"Her boss Jonny Keeling, says whatever the situation, however tough, she manages to produce beautiful images and a brilliantly crafted sequence.
"Her colleagues add that Justine is a great team player and a fantastic collaborator. She mentors others and has an infectious can-do attitude…always approaching situations with immense resilience, courage, and humour - and never a complaint.
"Jonny Keeling sums up why Justine is such a deserving recipient of this award: ‘She is an inspiration to me and to all who have worked with her. She works so hard and with such skill and expertise. A massive thank you to Justine. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with her over the years – and I am delighted for her.’”