Charles Parker Prize – Winners 2017

The winners of the Charles Parker Prize 2017 for the Best Student Radio Feature were announced at the annual Charles Parker Day at Sheffield University on 7 April.

The Judges for the Charles Parker Prize 2017 were:
Simon Elmes – Chair of the Judges and former Creative Director, Features and Documentaries, BBC
Gillian Reynolds – Radio Critic of the Daily Telegraph
Philip Sellars – Editor, BBC Documentary Unit
Clare Jenkins from the University of Hallam and Pennine Productions

The winners listed below featured in a special programme, presented by Sara Parker, on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Saturday 10 June at 3pm (then on iPlayer for 30 days).

GOLD Award
Tabitha Konstantine, University of Salford for Heavy Toll
Tabitha took as her subject a very grim narrative, that of deaths on the railway.  For her two contributors, a driver and guard, the narrative was raw, factual and grisly.  The programme “showed considerable maturity”, commented the judges, “the structure and handling of the whole feature really proves that less can be more”.  They found it “a truly powerful story, beautifully and sensitively handled.  It had excellent mixing and very revealing interviews which paint a horribly vivid, very human picture of train suicides and their effect on train staff.”  Both “well contrasted speakers had a terrific articulacy in very different ways that were entirely complementary.”

Laura Irving, University of Bournemouth for Quiet Revolution
Quiet Revolution was a witty and beautifully crafted miniature feature that packed a great deal into its short span.  “Beautifully mixed” said one judge, “arresting and entertaining,” another.  “A poised – quite simple-sounding, but complex in terms of ideas and sound – unpeeling of one woman’s middle-aged angst and dreams…” said a third.  And what was the middle-aged dream – or angst – that Laura made her feature about, after all?  Roller skating!  The judges called this programme “a total delight from start to finish”.  “Arresting, entertaining, with good use of material and sound effects.”  This was “an uplifting subject, with a great reveal.”  “And Funny!”

BRONZE Award (shared in 2017)
Astrid Hald, Goldsmiths, University of London for Outlander
A tale for our times, this is a compelling – and at first mysterious – story from Denmark about an injured boy who arrives in Copenhagen and asks to stay the night with Johanna and her partner – the boy turns out to be an Afghan refugee, who’s being smuggled back to Norway, where he’s already spent some time.  According to the judges, this programme tells “an important and moving story for our times”. “The two voices of the presenter and interviewee are extremely engaging and the script powerfully descriptive.”  “It’s a very strong story,” commented one of the judges. “It developed as a story throughout its length and made a compelling listen.”

BRONZE Award (shared in 2017)
Hester Cant
, University of Westminster for Broth, Swede & Tofu
Hester Cant explores the world via the kitchens of migrant women in the UK and learns how the social enterprise, Mazi Mas, is giving migrant women the opportunity to turn their cooking skills into their job.  The judges called Broth, Swede & Tofu “a skilfully textured, multi-layered feature”, which was “technically of a very high order.”  The programme was full of wonderful cooking sounds and multicultural voices and has a serious message about female empowerment at its heart.


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