This award goes to the person, team or organisation whose work has made an outstanding contribution to any aspect of the industry — through broadcasting, production or technical sectors within the region and beyond with a special focus over the period from November 2011 to the end of December 2012. Their work, either in front of the camera or behind the scenes, should have made a significant and lasting impact on audiences and viewers in the North East and the Borders — and on a wider stage. The judges are keen to invite nominations from as broad a spectrum of talents as possible, including production teams, across the spectrum of broadcast and non broadcast production. Evidence of recent exceptional achievement(s) should be included. Nominations for the Centre Award were sent in confidence to the Chair of the Judges.

Please note the distinction between the annual Centre Award and those Lifetime Achievement awards which have been made on occasion to reflect particular circumstances and/or individuals’ lifelong record of excellence.

The Judges said:

The winner of this year’s Centre award really is one of the unsung heroes, or should we say heroines, of the North of England production sector. For the past twenty years she has been key to bringing countless films and television productions to this corner of the United Kingdom. Without her charm and determination, Harry Potter would never have set foot in Alnwick Castle and TV detectives Vera Stanhope and George Gently would be policing very different beats.

Her number is on speed-dial for every crew, facilities house and production company in the North of England, and she is known and trusted by the big network players both here and in Hollywood. She has been the lynchpin for locations and crews through her time with the Northern Screen commission and more recently with Northern Film & Media’s Production Service, which offers location and logistical support for anyone making television or movies in the North East. It’s also an important resource for North East crews looking to secure employment and further their careers.

In the past 12 months, NFM have negotiated their way through a series of catastrophic funding cuts; they have streamlined their overheads and staffing levels, and reshaped their services. Yet, all the while, the volume of production is as high as ever, with returning brands like the BBC’s George Gently and ITV’s Vera, The Paradise, new titles such as The Dumping Ground and Hebburn, and a steady stream of factual entertainment shows including Climbed Every Mountain and Geordie Shore. All have benefited in some way from the infrastructure, knowledge gathering, crew and facilities database development and the ground-breaking Filming Friendly Charter developed with all the local authorities in the North East.

Of course, filming brings major economic benefits to the region — more than fifty million pounds of production spend in the last ten years alone, creating and sustaining hundreds of jobs — and importantly showcasing the life and landscape of this amazing part of the world to millions of television and cinema viewers.

So…for twenty years of securing so many productions to be made here; for her attention to detail; her encyclopaedic knowledge of buildings and landscape; for her terrific understanding of the needs and nuances of everyone involved in the production sector from crews to councils, and of course for her legendary cake-baking skills… this year’s Centre Award goes to Northern Film & Media’s Production Service Manager – GAYLE WOODRUFFE

Guest Presenter: Theresa Wise, Chief Executive, RTS

, Production Service Manager, Northern Film & Media

Cat 17 Winner

Gayle Woodruff (left) receives her Award from Theresa Wise