As we arrived at the University of Birmingham’s spectacular Great Hall for the RTS Midlands Awards last night, my dad told me that the building had some significance for the Pooles. His Grandad Poole, my great grandfather, had always claimed that he had plunged down a lift shaft in the building and had narrowly escaped with his life. Fortunately last night proved a fair sight better than possible near death experiences, bur alas Studio 279 and The Interviewee came home empty handed.
Naturally we are disappointed not to win, but this disappointment is more than tempered by the high standard of work in each category. In particular the standard in the Best Short Film and Best New talent categories was very strong so it is no disgrace to have been unsuccessful this time out. Congratulations to all who were victorious on the night and many thanks to the RTS Midlands team for putting on such a good show. If nothing else we got to see plenty of celebrities, from the ITV Central team to the cast from Doctors, from Britain’s Got Talent’s Stavros Flatley (very popular in the room) to Joy Stefanicki, sacked by Lord Sugar in week 2 of this year’s Apprentice. By far the highlight of the night however was Inspector Morse writer Colin Dexter’s intensely funny speech in receipt of the Baird Medal, where he regailed the crowd with the best and worst letters he had ever received. When you can get a laugh saying ‘comma’ and ‘full stop’ you are clearly a great talent, so as they say Gawd Bless ‘im.
For me the RTS Midlands nominations, and now the evening itself, are a fitting way of closing the book on The Interviewee. The experience of making it has been a treasured and invaluable one, and my ambitions as a film maker have hopefully been somewhat bolstered by it. Not winning is immaterial; the nominations themselves are a fitting tribute to all those who gave their time to make it happen and a big thank you to all those who did, from Micheal Jacob my BBC mentor on the project, to Eleanor Fry and the team from the late lamented BBC Blast, to Will Trotter, Sam Hill, Trudy Coleman, Francis Boyle, Michael Grisewood, Andy Payne, Mark Southall, Ian Collins, Benedict Peissel, Tim Savage and the rest of the BBC Birmingham Drama Village Team who made the film sparkle, twinkle and glow, to the actors Fraser Ayres without whom the film would have died a slow, unfunny comedic death, Geraldine McNulty, Anna Crilly and Ed Weeks for their brilliance on the panel, to all of my family and friends and all the people who watched The Interviewee, thought, ‘this is no good!’ and watched something else instead. A full year since it was shot, edited, premiered and ready to go before the viewing public’s scrutiny I could not have imagined all this, and so I am very grateful indeed for all the support I have had before and since, and hope that my next projects will be as blessed with good people and (fingers crossed) awards based bling. Seeing the Studio 279 name on the big screen with the words ‘Best New Talent’ next to it were very inspiring. Having to explain to my mum what Studio 279 was less so. Hopefully more from this fair stable will have its name on screens, up in lights e.t.c. before too long.
All of that and I got a nice new suit and spiffy new shoes for the awards evening, so can’t complain!