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Winners of the 2014 CDN Awards announced

The Creative Diversity Awards 2014 took place last night, November 11th, at the London Studios of current CDN chair, ITV.

Hosted by actor and presenter, Warwick Davis, the CDN Awards celebrate excellence around the diversity agenda – on and off-screen – in British television production.

Reflecting on presenting the awards, Warwick said “My career has had a really positive shift recently and I’m now regularly offered jobs that have no reliance on my size. I hope this is in part down to a desire from broadcasters to be more inclusive and representative. It’s important that the talent we see on TV reflects the diversity we have in society, and in turn will help to promote acceptance.”

Actors and presenters including Alesha Dixon, Jonathan Ross, Adam Hills, Gok Wan, Sarah-Jane Crawford, Sean Fletcher, Jimi Mistry, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Jimmy Akingbola, Laila Rouass, Ade Adepitan and Alex Beresford were on hand on the night, to present the awards to winners.

The Best On-screen Talent Award, recognising the importance of on-screen talent in changing and challenging perceptions, was awarded to David Olusoga for The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire (Episode One: Martial Races, BBC2, BBC Productions / The Open University).

In his second award of the night, the British-Nigerian historian, writer and presenter David Olusoga also picked up the Writer/Director award for his work on this film, for BBC2.

In The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire the British-Nigerian historian and filmmaker presented a vivid account of the lives of the millions of Indian, African and Asian troops and ancillaries who fought and died on the Western Front and elsewhere. His detailed account helps the viewer to understand how the “forgotten soldiers of Empire” were at the heart of the brutal war that forged the modern world.

The Achievement in Production category recognises an individual or team who has made a significant impact to improving diversity in any aspect of production either on screen or off screen. This award was won by The Holby City Production and Editorial Team, for their demonstrable commitment to diversity. Holby City’s production and editorial team are committed to on-screen diversity – their entry detailed how currently 35% of regular characters are BAME, and across a year-long series 46% of characters are BAME, with disabled characters regularly featuring in the series. This commitment also extends behind the screens: two of this year’s episodes were directed by a deaf director; 10% of the episodes were written by BAME writers and the editorial department includes 40% BAME employees. This has been achieved by focussing on fair and open recruitment, with a wide and diverse breadth of candidates interviewed for each new role.

The Special Recognition for Commissioning category was won by Siobhan Sinnerton, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor for News and Current Affairs. As Channel 4’s Commissioning Editor of News and Current Affairs, Siobhan Sinnerton has commissioned the last eight series of Unreported World, the award-winning foreign affairs strand, helping to refocus the strand on the local people affected by global processes. She has worked to make sure that the eight reporters on Unreported World, and the producers behind the cameras, reflect and celebrate the diversity both of the UK, and the wider world. Siobhan also commissioned the recent ‘Dispatches: Britain on the Sick’ investigating the controversial processes used to assess whether sickness and disability benefit claimants should be declared fit for work. Siobhan is the Commissioning Editor of Unreported World: Jamaica’s Underground Gays, a report presented by Ade Adepitan, which was twice nominated at the ceremony.

The winner of the Best News Coverage category was ITV News Central. Newcomer Emma Burrows presented a bold series of reports looking at the practice of female genital mutilation from a local perspective, right in the heart of some of the communities most affected by the issue. By sourcing contributors through Facebook as well as incorporating a story via ITV’s Fixers initiative, the team ensured personal testimonies were at the heart of the reports.

In the Best On-screen Representation of Disability category the award was won by Fy Chwaer a Fi (S4C, Bulb Films, part of Boom Pictures Cymru) which followed twins who suffer from the same rare degenerative disease, Fields’ Condition, which has over time severely limited their ability to move and communicate. Fy Chwaer a Fi’ (My Sister and Me), part of S4C’s ‘O’r Galon’ (From the Heart) series, documented the life of the girls in their own words – using a speech aid they were able to write their own script, and give their own account of how it feels to be an 18 year-old with their life-threatening condition.

The CDN Groundbreaking Programme category, which has been voted for by the readers of Broadcast, was won by Growing Up Down’s, a Maverick and Dartmouth Films for BBC3. Growing Up Down’s follows a touring production of Hamlet, staged by Blue Apple Theatre Company, whose members all have learning disabilities. The filmaker, Will Jessop, had unique access to the group over 18 months, as his brother Tommy is the lead actor, and their mother is the founder of the company. Consequently the footage shows intimate moments, creating a rites-of-passage tale, where the protagonists have space to tell their stories. Their disability is part of who they are but is incidental to the universal themes that any teenager will recognise.

The CDN Diversity Champion Award winner was also unveiled on the night, an award honouring an industry leader who has demonstrated a sustained, long-term, and significant commitment to diversity but who does not necessarily have diversity as their core role.

Commenting on the winner – The CDN judging panel said:

“If ever anyone needed to make a business case for diversity, betty, the company which Liz Warner set up in 2001, clearly demonstrates it. Never shying away from difficult social issues which reflect contemporary life, programmes such as ‘The Undateables’, ‘Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners’, ‘Coming Out Diaries’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast: The Ugly Face of Prejudice’ play to a broad audience and have sold to more than 63 countries.

She firmly believes that betty should be a creative, stimulating and caring place to work and has implemented flexible working to support those with children and who are returning to work. betty has 10% BAME employees (greater than the industry average) and continues to make improvements to the diversity of their workforce.

Liz is known as someone who readily adopts change and is not afraid to shake up established ways of doing things. She embraces diversity both on and off screen and for that reason is our diversity champion.”

Liz’s award was presented by Adam Pearson, and collected on her behalf by Sophy Walker, Head of Operations at betty.

Read the full list of winners and nominees here:

BEST ON-SCREEN TALENT

WINNER David Olusoga – The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire (Episode One: Martial Races,
BBC2, BBC Productions / The Open University)

Ade Adepitan – Unreported World: Jamaica’s Underground Gays (Channel 4, Quicksilver Media)

Leyla Hussein – The Cruel Cut (Channel 4, Love Productions)

WRITER/DIRECTOR AWARD

WINNER David Olusoga – The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire (Martial Races, BBC2, BBC
Productions / The Open University)

Daniel Fajemisin-Duncan and Marlon Smith – Acme Film’s Run (Channel 4)

Satnam Authi – Blakeway North’s My Life: The Most Famous School in the World (CBBC)

ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION

WINNER Holby City – production and editorial team

Unreported World – Quicksilver Media Productions

Shine Group’s The Hatch

SPECIAL RECOGNITION FOR COMMISSIONING

WINNER Siobhan Sinnerton, Commissioning Editor for News and Current Affairs, Channel 4

Aaqil Ahmed, Commissioning Editor Religion and Head of Religion & Ethics, BBC

Llion Iwan, Commissioner, Factual Content, S4C

BEST NEWS COVERAGE

BBC News – FGM coverage

ITV News Anglia – cochlear implant story

WINNER ITV News Central – FGM coverage

BEST ON-SCREEN REPRESENTATION OF DISABILITY

WINNER Fy Chwaer a Fi (S4C, Bulb Films, part of Boom Pictures Cymru)

Unreported World: Jamaica’s Underground Gays (Channel 4, Quicksilver Media)

Growing Up Down’s (BBC 3, Maverick TV and Dartmouth Film)

CDN GROUNDBREAKING PROGRAMME AWARD

Fy Chwaer a Fi, S4C, Bulb FIlms, part of Boom Pictures Cymru
WINNER Growing Up Down’s BBC3, Maverick and Dartmouth Films for BBC3
Inside Out London – Grooming Special

BBC One (London, West Midlands, East Midlands), BBC London

Bedlam

Channel 4, The Garden Productions

Behind Closed Doors; Elderly Care Exposed

Panorama BBC One, BBC Panorama

Marrying Mum and Dad: Dad and Dad Civil Partnership episode

CBBC, CBBC Productions Salford

The Cruel Cut

Channel 4, Love Productions

What’s Up

Sky 1, Licklemore Productions