The Charles Parker Prize 2015 for the Best Student Radio Feature was announced at the annual Charles Parker Day at the CCA in Glasgow on 27 March 2015. The winners featured in a special programme, presented by Sara Parker, on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Saturday 9th May (then on iPlayer for 30 days).
The Judges for the Charles Parker Prize 2015 were:
Simon Elmes – Former Creative Director, Features and Documentaries, BBC
Stephanie Billen – Radio Previewer for the Observer
Mike Hally – Square Dog Radio
The 2015 Winners
GOLD Award – Joseph Ovenall (University of Westminster)
Black Shuck – Hellhound of the East
The judges were unanimous in their appreciation of this powerful and professionally made documentary. The feature was “very well made, well researched and entertaining, the voices have authority and the unpacking of the different elements keeps you listening. The music, actuality and effects are extremely well handled and subtly done, and the final ghostly encounter with the mysterious dog is really chilling.” The programme had “a good soundscape and was a real attempt to understand the true nature of the horror and demonstrated exemplary command of the narrative documentary form”.
The tightness of the competition this year was amply illustrated in the awards made for second and third place. In the end it was decided to divide the second place Silver Award between two very different yet equally well-executed entries:-
Weidong Lin (Goldsmith’s College)
The Trace of a Cloud in a Chest
This was a finely crafted piece of imaginative radio, with a gentle, Zen-like contemplative quality. Two men discuss death, and specifically the recent deaths of their mothers, in a piece that mixed amusing and sharply observed anecdotes with more mystical thought. “Very moving, slightly hypnotic, innovative and imaginative”, said one judge, while another observed that the maker “brings an oriental sensitivity and originality to the production, transforming the dialogue by subtle use of gongs and bells, drones and audio overlays.” The judges also praised “a great piece of straight interviewing given how much the man opened up. A minor critique from the judges was that the title was rather too puzzling for its own good!
Jordy Cernik (University of Sunderland)
Both Sides of Dying
This was a simple, yet moving tale about surviving a meningitis attack – a short powerful piece that tells its story very simply by intercutting the two voices of the victim and his wife. The judges appreciated the programme’s assembly: “cleverly edited, (with) good use of sound.” “The use of music is quite subtle,” commented another, “and enhances the dreaminess. But it’s above all the powerful words of the victim whose ability to describe his feelings during the episode that make this piece stand out.” “Humane and moving,” commented another, “even life-changing, given its message about death.” “Very effective radio” was the overall judgement.
BRONZE Award – Tom Glasser (Goldsmith’s College)
See without Seeing
This programme is ideally suited to radio: the story of a man who’s spent his life capturing and thinking about sound. It’s simply made, and all the better for that. The sounds are commented on with energy and the speaker, Louis, comes over as a strong and interesting character. The programme was well liked by the judges who felt it was “very clever, ideally suited to radio, mindful and with a great twist so managed to be both about an individual and about a different way of living.”