Tyneside Cinema, George Gently and The Dumping Ground honoured at Royal Television Society Awards 2018

A much-loved North East cinema and TV series filmed in the region have received honours at the Royal Television Society Awards 2018.

The 80-year-old Tyneside Cinema received the Royal Television Society Centre (RTS) Award in recognition of its success in talent spotting and developing the next generation of film-makers and programme producers.The independent former newsreel cinema in Newcastle city centre was honoured at a star-studded ceremony on Saturday, celebrating the best of television and digital content production from across the North East and the Borders.It picked up the accolade for its achievements in producing 24 short films for Channel 4’s Random Acts - showcasing the talents of 16 to 24 year olds from across the region. The young people worked alongside experienced TV professionals - supported by Arts Council England and production company True North.

Graeme Thompson, former TV production boss and now Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, was given the Pilgrim Award - the society's honour acknowledging outstanding voluntary service to the RTSOther winners at the ceremony included BBC One’s long running detective drama Inspector George Gently, filmed in the region, and one of the young stars of CBBC’s North East-shot The Dumping Ground, Annabelle Davis.

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The actor - who plays Sasha Bellman in the children’s drama - received the Performance of the Year award from Coronation Street star Melanie Hill, from Sunderland.

Annabelle – daughter of Harry Potter actor Warwick Davis – competed in the category alongside Brenda Blethyn from ITV’s Vera and Martin Shaw who played George Gently.The Gently production team and series creator Peter Flannery received the Outstanding Contribution award for showcasing the North East to millions of viewers across the world and providing opportunities for local actors and crew throughout its 25 episodes.

The finale of the 60s set drama was screened in October last year when Martin Shaw’s character was murdered on the beach. The show also won Best Drama.Other big winners on the night were ITV Tyne Tees which collected the award for News Programme of the Year and Chris Jackson of BBC One’s Inside Out who picked up the Mike Neville Award for Best Presenter. The trophy was presented by Mike’s widow Pam.The Yorkshire Dales and Lakes series for Channel 4 scooped Best Factual for production company True North. Newcastle producers Candle and Bell were awarded the Drama (short form) prize for their Channel 4 historical film They Live in Forests, They are Extremely Shy.Technical excellence awards went to make-up designer Michael Birtley for The Dumping Ground and the photography unit for Vera.Students from Teesside University dominated the Student Awards section with wins in Factual, Drama and Animation, with their counterparts at the University of Sunderland taking the Student News category for their coverage of anti-Trump demonstrations.The ceremony at the Gateshead Hilton was hosted by Sky News presenter Jayne Secker and featured a host of celebrities - including Brenda Blethyn, India Willoughby and Melanie Hill as well as regional news personalities Pam Royle, Carol Malia and Jeff Brown.Chair of the RTS North East and the Border Centre Will Nicholson commented: “The event attracted programme makers and creative talent from across the region. The nominees and winners provided a wonderful showcase of the expertise working from the Scottish Borders down through Cumbria, Tyneside, Durham and Tees Valley into North Yorkshire.”A full album of winners, guest presenters and red carpet photographs can be viewed on the RTS North East and Border Centre Facebook page. A full list of winners can be found at https://www.rts.org.uk/award/netb-awards-2018-0