Woman who brought Harry Potter to region wins TV award

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SHE has brought prime-time television dramas and Harry Potter to the North East.

Now Gayle Woodruffe has been recognised for the decades of work she has put into bringing crews to the region, with a Royal Television Society Award.

The 44-year-old from Eden Vale, Sunderland, began working in the industry as a civil servant on secondment to the Northern Screen Commission from the Department of Employment, but remains in the job 20 years on after impressing bosses.

The production service manager for Northern Film and Media (NFM) she has had a hand in bringing in The Paradise, Climbed Every Mountain, CBBC shows Dumping Ground and Wolfblood, Hebburn and Geordie Shore to the region, while George Gently and Vera have both filmed in her home town of Seaham.

Her role also sees her make sure programme makers have a good experience during their visit and she has helped put together the Filming Friendly Charter with councils to make it easier for crews to make their ideas become a reality on screen.

Gayle, who is married to Ben, 37, and is mum to Laura, eight, and Melissa, six, was presented with the Centre Award at the society’s North East and Border ceremony.

The judges say she is one of the “unsung heroes” of the North East’s film productions and “without her charm and determination, Harry Potter would never have set foot in Alnwick Castle and TV detectives Vera Stanhope and George Gently would be policing very different beats,” with her number on speed dial with crews and production companies.

NFM has also been credited with bringing more than £50million to the region in the last 10 years, and creating hundreds of jobs, while showcasing the area to a worldwide audience of millions, despite facing funding cuts.

Gayle, who had no idea she had been nominated by her colleagues until her name was read out as the winner, said: “I’m really pleased to represent the region that is so film-friendly and I couldn’t do my job without a lot of other people who do their job really well.

“I can’t possibly know everything about the region, but it is my job to know those who do and so it’s also them who deserve this award.”

Gayle, who went to Northlea School, has recently returned from a three-day visit to London, where she promoted the region to prospective projects.

Her parents Eddie and Sadie, both 70, of Dalton Heights, Dalton-le-Dale, are former district councillors and remain on Seaham Town Council, which is led by Ed.

He said: “We are very proud.

“It’s a great achievement and what she has done has also been very good for Seaham as well. She deserves the award and she works very hard.”

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