Trio of television awards for UCLan students

Success for creatives at North West Royal Television Society’s Student Awards

A group of University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) students have won a trio of television prizes at a prestigious award ceremony.

UCLan students collected three of the seven awards up for grabs at the North West Royal Television Society’s annual Student Television Awards and UCLan students were also the runners up in three of the categories.

MA Animation student Jake Blakeston was presented with the animation category award for Matchstick Zombies. He drew praise from the jury, who agreed it was an incredibly sophisticated film, which they felt was ‘Burtonesque’ in its design, and praised its direction and humour.

The 22-year-old, from Featherstone, in Yorkshire, said: “When I found out I’d won it was a brilliant feeling and a great achievement. I felt very proud that I’d been chosen as I was really pleased I’d made the shortlist. What made it special was the other nominees were also UCLan students, that shows how great the course, lecturers and facilities are at the University.”

Fellow animation student Ashley Collier was awarded the short feature prize for Felix. The jury felt was a challenging short story that was brilliantly done and visually clever. One juror said ‘it was a story with heart and soul’.

The 30-year-old, from Rossendale, spent four months working on the project while he was in the second year of his animation undergraduate course. He said: “It feels great to have won! It’s amazing to receive an award from such a high profile organisation like the RTS and hopefully it will do me some favours when I start looking for jobs in the industry.”

The comedy and entertainment category winners were Yousef Thami, Liberty Shaw, Jake River Parker and Heather Davenport for their film, Headless – The Ed Shales Story. The jury felt this was an original and clever idea with a great punch line. They agreed it was a great concept that was brilliantly realised.

MA Animation student Jake Blakeston with his North West Royal Television Society student animation award for Matchstick Zombies.

Short feature winner Ashley Collier with his North West Royal Television Society student television award.

Comedy and Entertainment winners Jake River Parker, Yousef Thami, Liberty Shaw and Heather Davenport receiving their award from BBC news presenter Roger Johnson.

Overall UCLan students were shortlisted eight times, meaning the University had more students on the list than any other higher education institution in the region. The three winning entries will now be entered into the national final.

John Holloway, Head of the School of Journalism, Media and Performance, said: “I’m delighted that our students were chosen as worthy winners in three categories of the 2017 North West Royal Television Society Awards. It’s a fantastic reward for their hard work and commitment to producing award-winning content. They were up against some very stiff competition, including many other UCLan students, so I hope they go on to further success in the national final.”

The awards, which took place in Salford’s Lowry Theatre, were hosted by BBC news presenter Roger Johnson. The event also included a screening of UCLan’s Soap in a Week, a collaboration which last year saw students work with Coronation Street writers, producers, directors and actors, to create a 15 minute soap.

To view Matchstick Zombies visit and to view Felix visit

Written by