Charles Parker Prize 2021

The Charles Parker Prize 2021 for the Best Student Radio Feature

The competition is open to any student studying radio/audio in Further or Higher Education in the UK.  For full Terms and Conditions click here

Over the past decade and a half, the Charles Parker Awards – named in honour of one of radio’s greatest documentary pioneers – have established an unparalleled reputation for excellence in radio and audio feature production by young people, and many of our winners have gone on to carve out successful professional careers in radio and audio production.

The Trust is delighted to be able to announce that in 2021 BBC Radio 4 is again joining with the Charles Parker Awards to offer a broadcast slot on the network to each of the five entrants adjudged to have most successfully used the radio feature medium.  Each winning student producer will be invited to collaborate with a coach drawn from some of the very best feature-makers working in radio in order to adapt their features, as necessary, for network transmission.  These special prize commissions will be selected by a judging panel chaired by Simon Elmes.

In addition, the programme judged to be overall winner will receive the Charles Parker Gold Award and a prize consisting of a BBC-standard SADiE6 editing system worth over £2,000.

Because of Radio 4’s slot requirements, all entries MUST have a minimum duration of 10 minutes, and a maximum duration of 15 minutes.

What we’re looking for…

Our awards seek to capture some of the timeless originality that Charles Parker brought to his programmes, and especially to his legendary music-based documentation of working men’s and women’s lives, the Radio Ballads, such as The Ballad of John Axon and Singing the Fishing.

So we’re looking for programmes that innovatively capture the spirit of ordinary lives, their voices and their tunes, reinvented for the digital, multiplatform age.  Your entry will have a sparklingly original idea, use the medium of radio feature to explore it to the full with humanity and imagination and, of course, make for a riveting audio presentation with storytelling at its heart.

The competition will be open for Entries from 1900 on Tuesday 8 December 2020 with a final deadline of 2359 on Monday 8 March 2021. 

This year we are asking that students complete the Entry Form and submit this (along with a WAV copy of their feature) to their tutor for verification.  Entries must then be uploaded via by the FE or HE institution using the email address:-

A shortlist of features will be announced at the beginning of April, with the nominees being invited to the award ceremony which will take place as the core of the Annual Charles Parker Day which next year will take place on Friday 16 April, probably as an online event.

The Gold Award winner and the four other winning features will be commissioned through the independent radio production company Soundscape Productions, co-ordinators of the Charles Parker Prize since 2010.

Judges for the Charles Parker Prize 2021:-

Mair Bosworth – BBC Features Producer and Gold Charles Parker Prize Winner 2011
Mukti Jain Campion – Founder of Culture Wise Productions, Audio Content Fund Panellist, and Chair, Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity
Simon Elmes – Former Creative Director, BBC Radio
Richard Knight – Commissioning Editor, Factual Programmes, BBC Radio 4
Emmanuella Kwenortey – Assistant Commissioner, BBC Sounds
Charlotte Runcie – Radio Critic, Daily Telegraph
Philip Sellars – Editor, BBC Documentaries Unit

For full Terms and Conditions click here

We look forward to hearing your entries.

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