British Public Radio Awards – The Winners

The winners of the inaugural British Public Radio Awards have been announced in a special results programme now available on the station’s website.

The awards, held in conjunction with Audioboo and supported by Roberts Radio, drew over 100 entries from both established radio producers, podcasters and individuals.

The winners will receive an engraved trophy and a Roberts Union Jack DAB radio, and will have their work showcased on British Public Radio.

The winners are:

The Gold Award

In A Heartbeat – Briony Harrison

The overall winner taking this year’s Gold Award is the winner of the Short Form News/Factual category. Produced by Briony Harrison, In A Heartbeat takes a look into the dangers of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome and discusses the current methods of cardiac screening open to young people.

Gold Award judge Amanda Brown, Audioboo’s Head of Content:

“Briony’s work was a genuine and well devised piece of audio. Her thoughtful handling of the difficult subject matter was complimented by a very strong tone through the whole piece.

Her interviewing technique was excellent, whilst dealing with such sensitive material she was able to draw out her interviewees and get to the root of the story. It was also a well written script and well structured audio, using news audio and other signposting without distracting from the issue.

The subject matter itself was cleverly dealt with, raising awareness of sudden death in the young without scaremongering or drawing absolute conclusions.

This is an issue that has been in the news but has largely been unexplored from such a personal perspective. This is a piece of audio that could go straight to air.”

Documentary – Long Form

Life at Death’s Door – The Wireless Theatre Company

Brian Blessed narrates the first part of an audio documentary dealing with our universal attitudes to death and dying.

Category award judge Michael Hill, UK Radioplayer’s Managing Director:

“There’s nothing more universally relevant than human death, but it’s a subject that rarely graces our airwaves. ‘Life At Death’s Door’ covers an astonishing range of topics – from death cafes to decay – but in a breezy, straightforward, and gently humorous tone. Brian Blessed’s unique style of presentation is a clever way of avoiding sentimentality and sluggishness, and there’s great use of sound throughout the programme, including atmospheric effects and mini-dramas. The pace is well judged, with longer interview segments intercut with punchy ad-style inserts. Fascinating, informative, entertaining, but always respectful – this documentary is a worthy winner in the Long Form category.”


Documentary – Short Form

A Place to Belong – Siggi Gunnarsson

We get to know Northern Proud Voices, a community choir for members of the LGBT community in the North East.

Category award judge Michael Hill, UK Radioplayer’s Managing Director:

“This short piece grabs you right from the start. There’s a really effective audio-sequence which takes the listener down a corridor, towards the distant sound of singing, and through a door into a full-on choral performance. That level of craft sets the standard for the whole piece, which is beautifully balanced and perfectly paced. Well-recorded effects and music are layered throughout – peaking and dipping effortlessly as the conversation unfolds, but never intruding. It’s sometimes difficult to maintain structure in a ‘presenter-less’ format – but the producers ensure we never lose our way here. The story unfolds organically – a life-affirming tale of how communal singing meets our basic human needs for togetherness, creative expression, and solidarity.”


Drama – Long Form

A Mother’s Love – Cornucopia Radio

When her son Tony, a comprehensive school teacher, is sent to prison for abusing one of his 14 year old female pupils, Christine is plunged into a nightmare. Set against the backdrop of her visits and letters post-sentence, her confusion soon turns to anger as she is forced to examine her true feelings for her only child, as his denial and minimization brings with it a realization that their relationship must change if it is to survive the sentence and beyond.

Category award judge Dirk Maggs:

“This was a thoroughly impressive piece of work. Self-assured and quietly authoritative. A sensitive subject was treated with great dignity and no little originality, drawing in the listener but never sensationalising its subject. The best social drama creates a world one might enter reluctantly but is too fascinated to leave; this was social drama that did that, but also compelled the listener to find out what happens to the people at the centre of a news story after the headlines are silenced.

The excellent script unpeeled the layers of a complex and sensitive issue, but at no time did the drama feel issue-led. It was about the characters, who were superbly played. Applause for the director and technical team – despite its downbeat subject matter the play felt energised, believably staged and thoroughly thought out. The actors were given time to explore their characters’ actions and reactions. This drew all the colours and flavours out of a convincing, instructive and harrowing script. Truly excellent work by all involved, with exceptional work by the leads. The Sound design was clear, accurate and unobtrusive – everything one hopes for to underpin a sensitive story.  Superb audio drama. Congratulations.”


Drama – Short Form

Happiness – The Bunbury Banter Theatre Company

The infection sweeps through London’s streets, the wealthy are holed up in West London and security is everywhere. Does love and happiness have a place in this dark, dirty world of the future?

Category judge Dirk Maggs:

“Dystopian visions of the future can fall into a trap of being too depressing to actually enjoy, but this play led off with a sound montage of immense believability and wit, with a lead character whose confessional tone engages with the listener and draws them in. The overall piece quickly creates a world in which the unspeakable and the mundane are believably mixed. A measure of the quality of the piece is in how convincingly the story was told in a comparatively limited amount of time. A lot of this came down to how the first person narrative was handled, both in the script and by the lead actor.

There was a tongue-in-cheek element in the sound design that complemented the script. It was lean and dynamic with good, tight writing; making its point and then moving on to the next story beat. Excellent work by the cast, taking us confidently through a journey which was emotionally harrowing yet compelling. The sound design was excellent, creating a convincing world through levels and layers which were handled really well overall. I can’t think of a better compliment than to say I listened to this twice, the second time purely for pleasure.”


Entertainment – Long Form

Answer Me This! – Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann

Answer Me This! is an interactive comedy podcast, presented by Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann, with sidekick Martin Austwick (aka ‘Martin the Sound Man’), recorded in Helen and Martin’s flat in Crystal Palace since 2007. This montage is of some favourite clips from 2012, when the show celebrated its 200th episode and sixth anniversary.

Category judge Alex Feldman, Creative Director of Pixiu:

“The standout winner in the entertainment category. With 200 episodes under their belt, Helen and Olly continue to remind us how independently produced podcasts should be made. Their well established format still feels fresh and this compilation proved that there is no question Helen and Olly could not ‘Answer’ without making us laugh, cry or cringe. Long may AMT continue!”


Entertainment – Short Form

The Blind Spot – Yap Audio

Set in West Germany, circa 1989. Montgomery Hubbard rents a room at the airport hotel. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the times; they are a-changing.

Category judge Alex Feldman, Creative Director of Pixiu:

“An interesting idea that was well executed especially considering the three actors were recorded at three separate locations. Intelligent use of sound effects and solid writing left me wanting to hear more.”

Experimental – Long Form

A Life on Two Wheels – White Cart Media

This is life’s race from childhood to old age as told by those who live it on two wheels. Cyclists can be passionate about their sport: the bike is often a precious part of their life and as important to them as family or friends.

Category judge James Cridland, Radio Futurologist:

“The characters interviewed shone through in this piece of audio. There were some stories of genuinely likeable people here, cleverly cut together with a great deal of atmosphere and sounds bringing the cycling experience to the listener. Technically clever and well-planned.”


Experimental – Short Form

Waiting For The Bell To Ring – Caitlin Sneddon

Pros. Newbies. Dads. Grandads. Sons. Fish Lovers and Fish Haters. They all gather along the banks to try their luck. The fisherman of the River Wear tell their stories.

Category judge James Cridland, Radio Futurologist:

“A good idea and well executed, the different voices giving a set of views that were effortlessly weaved together. Good use of music made this piece a pleasure to listen to.”


News/Factual – Long Form

An Academic Debate? – Paul Faulkner

An investigation into how the cost of the government’s academy schools programme went from nominal to astronomical and an assessment of the new education landscape created by the academies policy.

Category judge Steve Kyte, former deputy director of BBC Five Live:

“This was a terrific investigation into self-governing academies in the school system. It was a very well researched and well produced piece of journalism and a lot of time and effort had gone into explaining the background to the issues involved. The production skills were outstanding and the use of audio and on-location recording really brought this story alive.”


News/Factual – Short Form

In A Heartbeat – Briony Harrison

A look into the dangers of Sudden Adult Death syndrome and discussion on the current method of cardiac screening open to young people.

Category judge Steve Kyte, former deputy director of BBC Five Live:

“A poignant and informative investigation into Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. The focus of the programme was on people’ stories – people who had lost someone close to them. The stories were harrowing but incredibly moving and compelling listening. It was a hard subject to tackle but one that was approached with great sensitivity and respect for the people involved.”

Posted on Thursday, September 12th, 2013 at 3:12 pm by RadioToday UK

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