Regional TV celebrates return of Rubies

Huw Edwards, Harry Gration and James Harding at the Rubies Huw Edwards, Harry Gration and James Harding at the Rubies

Exploitation of migrant workers in the Fens, racism in London's lettings market and an interview with a disgraced rugby player - these are just a few of the news stories covered by the teams of journalists working in regional television.

They were honoured on Thursday at the BBC's Ruby Awards, which are back after a hiatus of seven years and were held at the Radio Theatre.

Huw Edwards and director of news James Harding handed out a total of 11 awards that honoured excellent journalism and crafts skills in regional television and an additional judges' award for an outstanding contribution.

BBC Look North's Harry Gration, who won regional presenter of the year, told Ariel that he was honoured to be part of an event that recognises talent at the BBC. A good presenter, he judged, was someone who people felt they could invite into their home.

'It's not just the case of doing something to camera; I think there is a bit more to presenting a regional programme,' he observed.

It was a thought echoed by Edwards, who together with colleague Sophie Raworth, had judged the presenting award. He said the job makes a 'remarkable range of demands' and called Gration a 'broadcasting thoroughbred'.

'Tenacious reporting'

The award for best daily news programme went to BBC Look East, singled out from a competitive field for its 'creativity, ambition and storytelling' in delivering the news.

Guy Lynn Guy Lynn won for best exclusive

West Midlands took the title of current affairs programme of the year with the story of Maxine Hambleton, a victim of the Birmingham pub bombings 40 years ago. The judges said the film about her murder was 'surprising, full of emotion and insight and threw up many questions for the future'.

Colin Campbell, BBC South East's home affairs correspondent, won daily news journalist of the year, submitting a hard-hitting entry about historic sexual abuse in the Church of England. The judge's citation from Paul Royal, editor of the Six and Ten, commended Campbell for 'tenacious reporting'.

Guy Lynn was also honoured for his reporting, winning an award for best exclusive/investigation. The BBC London TV news reporter broke a story about discrimination in the capital's lettings market.

He told Ariel that the story, which was originally broadcast on Inside Out London, started as a series of tip-offs and involved a 'sophisticated level of undercover work', including putting a flat on the market.

The resulting investigation was covered extensively in the national press and was picked up by BBC network radio and the One O'Clock News. Lynn, who has worked for the BBC for 10 years, said he was 'very happy it had that kind of impact'.

He added: 'I had looked at this issue before in Lincolnshire, with discrimination against Polish people, but this was very shocking.'

'Driving force'
Dave Guest Dave Guest, chief reporter at North West Tonight, took the judges' award

The judges' award for outstanding contribution went to Dave Guest from North West Tonight, a multitasking reporter, editor and producer who has been a 'driving force' at the BBC for 31 years.

He has covered stories including the Harold Shipman case in 2000 and lighter news items such as the opening of a local wax museum, which included a wax version of North West Tonight's chief reporter holding a trademark microphone.

'I love every day of my job,' Guest told his colleagues at the Radio Theatre, 'and I hope it continues for many days to come.'

Harding delivered a brief speech ('I know it's a bad idea to get between a bunch of journalists and the bar'), which thanked his regional news colleagues for all their hard work.

The director of news said the BBC earns its 'spurs' in local communities and he was enjoying 'basking in the reflected glory of stories that had nothing to do with me'.

The Ruby Awards were judged by on-screen talent including Huw Edwards, Sophie Raworth, Dan Roan, Louise Minchin and Mark Easton. Senior editorial managers who judged the awards were: Gary Smith, UK news editor; Tom Giles, Panorama; and Paul Royal, editor of the Six and Ten.

Ruby Awards - winners in full:

Ruby Award trophies

Programme of the year - daily news: BBC Look East

Programme of the year - current affairs: Who Murdered Maxine? (West Midlands)

Programme of the year - politics: Sunday Politics, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Best daily news journalist: Colin Campbell, BBC South East

Best current affairs journalist: Mark Jordan, BBC London

Best presenter: Harry Gration, BBC Look North, Yorkshire

Best sports journalist: Richard Askam, North West Tonight, BBC North West

Best exclusive/investigation: Guy Lynn, BBC London

Camera operator of the year: Adam Walker, East Midlands

Operator production award: Andrea Ormsby, BBC South West

Best newcomer: Jo Taylor, BBC East

Judges' Award: Dave Guest, BBC North West

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