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Royal Television Society, Northern Ireland announces winners of 8th Programme Awards

Date Posted: June 2, 2023

The winners of the Royal Television Society, Northern Ireland (RTS NI) 8th Programme Awards were announced last night (Thursday 1 June) at a glittering awards ceremony in City Hall, Belfast hosted by Blu Hydrangea.

Derry Girls Series 3 picked up the Comedy Award for Hat Trick Productions and Jamie-Lee O’Donnell won the Best On-Screen Talent Award for her performance in The Real Derry: Jamie-Lee O’Donnell by Tyrone Productions.

The Childrens and Animation Award went to Zokiak Kids & Family Productions UK for Silverpoint with BBC NI picking up the Current Affairs Award for Spotlight: The Babymaker Uncovered.

Irish Language drama Doineann by DoubleBand Films won the Drama Award with Aisling Productions and Soilsiu Films awarded the Best Documentary for Young Plato: The Philosophy Boys of Ardoyne.

The Chronicles of Strangford won the Best Lifestyle/Features Award for Waddell Media and the Factual Entertainment Award went to The Fast and the Farmish-ish by Alleycats TV with BBC NI picking up the Entertainment Award for The Belfast Mixtape: Songs from Lockdown.

UTV picked up the News Coverage Award for UTV Live: Dying on the Streets, with the Specialist Factual Award going to Walk on Air Films and Ronachan Films for Brian Friel: Shy Man, Showman and the Best Original Music Score was awarded to Nowhere Special by Andrew Simon McAllister.

Belfast actor James Martin was presented with the coveted Brian Waddell Award for his outstanding contribution to the industry. James is the first leading man with Down Syndrome in an Oscar-winning film and has enjoyed global success for his portrayal of Lorcan in An Irish Goodbye.

 James Martin said: It’s absolutely wonderful to receive this recognition in my home town. I hope my success encourages more young people like me to follow their dreams as I did.”

Fiona Campbell, Chair of RTS NI said: “It is a real pleasure to celebrate the incredible talent of our very own James Martin, who has won the hearts of audiences worldwide with his outstanding performance in An Irish Goodbye. As an industry we have a unique platform in which we can smash prejudice by ensuring that we are inclusive both on-screen and behind-the-cameras. Congratulations to all our winners and finalists, who represent the best of the creative talent now so evident in Northern Ireland.”

Gareth McGreevy, Chair of RTS NI Awards said: “The high quality of this year’s entries is hugely reflective of our dynamic creative community. The judges had a tough time deciding the eventual winners so well done to everyone who made the shortlist as well as tonight’s winners. The RTS NI is an educational charity and events like tonight give us the opportunity to highlight and celebrate the wonderful achievements of our vibrant film and TV industry.”

The RTS NI Programme Awards 2023 with headline sponsor Ka-Boom are delivered with support from BBC Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen and Channel 4.  This year’s RTS NI Winners and finalists are:


Entertainment – Sponsored by Performance Film and Media Entertainment   

Winner: The Belfast Mixtape: Songs from Lockdown (BBC NI)

Finalists: Beauty Queen and Single (Stellify Media) and Live At The Waterfront! (Green Inc Film & TV).


Childrens and Animation

Winner: Silverpoint (Zodiak Kids & Family Productions UK)

Finalists: Happy the Hoglet (Paper Owl Films) and ODO (Sixteen South/Letko)


News Coverage

Winner: UTV Live – Dying on the Streets (UTV)

Finalists: BBC Newsline – Creeslough (BBCNI) and UTV Live – Creeslough (UTV)


On-Screen Talent – Sponsored by Lecale Clinic

 Winner: Jamie-Lee O’Donnell (in The Real Derry: Jamie-Lee O’Donnell (Tyrone Productions)

Finalists: Holly Hamilton (in Victory in Vienna by Clean Slate Productions) and Theo Dorgan (in An Buachaill Gealgháireach (The Laughing Boy / To Yelasto Paidi by Imagine Media Productions Ltd).


Specialist Factual – Sponsored by ScreenSkills

Winner: Brian Friel: Shy Man, Showman (Walk on Air Films and Ronachan Films)

Finalists: Fergal Keane: Living with PTSD (State of Grace Films) and The White Handkerchief (Open Reel Productions)


Current Affairs – Sponsored by NIELG

Winner: Spotlight: The Babymaker Uncovered (BBC NI)

Finalists: Spotlight: Police, WhatsApp and Whistleblowers (BBCNI) and Up Close – Home Terror (UTV)


Original Music Score Award – Sponsored by Yeoo DJ   

Winner: Nowhere Special (Andrew Simon McAllister)

Finalists: An Buachaill Gealghaireach: The Laughing Boy (Eleni Karaindrou; Imagine Media) and Wreck (Steve Lynch, Noemi Spanos, Chris Baugh, Ryan J Brown; Euston Films, Fremantle Media).


Factual Entertainment – Sponsored by Queen’s University, Belfast

Winner: The Fast and the Farmer-ish (Alleycats TV)

Finalists:  Ceol Le Toal (Big Mountain Productions) and Strawbridge over the Drawbridge (BBCNI).


Drama – Sponsored by Yellowmoon  

Winner: Doineann (DoubleBand Films)

Finalists:  Bloodlands: Series 2 (Hat Trick Productions) and Wreck (Euston Films).



Winner: Chronicles of Strangford (Waddell Media)

Finalists: B&B By The Sea (Afro-Mic Productions) and The Hotel People (Waddell Media).


Documentary – Sponsored by Ulster Screen Academy   

Winner: Young Plato: The Philosophy Boys of Ardoyne (Aisling Prodcutions and Soilsiu Films)

Finalists: James Joyce’s Ulysses (DoubleBand Films and Lone Star Productions), Quinn Country (Fine Point Films) and The Real Derry: Jamie-Lee O’Donnell (Tyrone Productions).


Comedy – Sponsored by City Air Express   

Winner: Derry Girls: Series 3 (Hat Trick Productions)

Finalists: Free Gaff (Green Inc Film & TV) and William of Orangedale (Hat Trick Productions NI).


Finally, the Brian Waddell Award for Outstanding Contribution (to the local television and film industry in NI) sponsored by Ka-Boom was awarded to Belfast actor James Martin.


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