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Quartet receive national comedy and entertainment award

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RTS Student Television Award winners. Image credit: Richard Kendal/RTS

Undergraduates win Royal Television Society Student Television Award

Four students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have beaten off stiff national competition to win a prestigious film award.

Yousef Thami, Liberty Shaw, Jake River Parker and Heather Davenport received the Royal Television Society (RTS) Student Television Award 2017 Undergraduate Comedy and Entertainment prize for Headless: The Ed Shales Story.

The seven-minute film follows the story of Ed who was left headless but fully functional after he had a tragic childhood accident on a rollercoaster. The film catches up with Ed years later and explores how he deals with the difficulties and stresses of everyday life like work, socialising with friends and maintaining relationships within his home life.

Twenty-year-old Jake, from Leeds, was one of the scriptwriters. He said: “We were so glad to hear our names announced as the winner and it was a huge relief as I don’t think our faces could’ve been able to hide our disappoint! It’s absolutely amazing to have our hard work recognised by major industry representatives and is a great boost to our CVs.”

Yousef, 21, from Stockport, was the director of the project and was also a nominee in the Undergraduate Craft Skills - Production Design category; Liberty, 21, from Halifax; was director of photography; while 21-year-old Heather, from Rotherham, was a fellow scriptwriter. The final year film production students, who will all graduate next month with first-class honours degrees, created the mockumentary work as part of a University module.

What a fantastic accolade this is for the students and for the University. They have beaten every university and film school in the country to gain this award. And to top it off all the four students involved have gained First Class Honours degrees.

The judges praised their winning film, saying: “An original and funny film, with an unexpected twist at the end. Very well produced, with a relentless rate of puns that certainly made it a memorable contender.”

Chaired by Philip Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, the RTS Student Awards recognise the best audio visual work created by students across the UK and Republic of Ireland at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Two other UCLan students were nominated for awards. Ashley Collier was nominated for Felix in the Undergraduate Short Film category while Gregor Aiken was nominated in the Postgraduate News category for The Green and White Army.

Linda Sever, Course Leader in Film Production, said: “What a fantastic accolade this is for the students and for the University. They have beaten every university and film school in the country to gain this award. And to top it off all the four students involved have gained First Class Honours degrees.”

The ceremony, hosted by comedian, writer, presenter and actress, Katherine Ryan, took place at the British Film Institute in London.

View the award winning film: Headless: The Ed Shales Story- warning it does contain occasional strong language.

Rachel Atkinson | 23 June 2017