Charles Parker Prize – Winners 2018

The winners of the Charles Parker Prize 2018 for the Best Student Radio Feature were announced at the annual Charles Parker Day at the British Library on 23 March.

The Judges for the Charles Parker Prize 2018 were:
Simon Elmes – Chair of the Judges and former Creative Director, Features and Documentaries, BBC
Hana Walker-Brown, award-winning radio producer and documentary maker
Philip Sellars – Editor, BBC Documentary Unit
Susan Jeffreys, radio critic of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday

The winners listed below featured in a special programme presented by Sara Parker and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra on 28 July (then on iPlayer for 30 days).  Two of them are available on our Mixcloud page.

GOLD Award
Hannah Dean, Goldsmiths University of London, for She’s Leaving Home.
The story of a woman in peril, told with great verve. It’s a story that goes back 50 years to the supposedly psychedelic Sixties.  But for Patricia – who’d buried this hideous episode of her young life for decades – it was a trip into some sort of hell.  Hannah Dean captured Patricia’s story both as recounted in her own voice and in a memoir she’s put together of the episode.  Judges praised the programme as “powerful and original”, “a fabulously orchestrated music and sound-filled chronicle of a young woman’s disastrous abusive and life-marking adventure.  The intercutting of Patricia’s own recorded account and her voiced written narrative is simply impeccable and done with wonderful rhythm and sense of timing.” while another really loved Patricia as a character, and highlighted the use of music.

Emma Casson, University of Sunderland, for Alice‘s Story
A sparky, life-and-soul character cut down by a stalking, predatory boyfriend – this is all-too-regrettably a tale for our times – Alice, a joyous, magnetic young woman who was subjected to horrific controlling oppression by her boyfriend, who – we hardly were told, but inferred – murdered her.  Emma managed to persuade Alice’s best friend and her parents to confide in her – already a huge achievement.  And then, in the words of one judge, “bravely taking on a heavy subject”, deployed their recollections with what another called “a great example of an unfolding narrative, showing that holding back is just as important as revealing elements”. “Such an important story to be told,” commented another judge, “now more than ever.

Nina Kruse, Goldsmiths University of London, for Welcome to Chelsea
In this little gem the central character tells how he achieved his lifetime ambition of securing a rarer-than-hens’-teeth season ticket to watch Chelsea.  Judges loved the use of music and FX in this piece, and found it “a brilliantly told mini-saga of passion and aggression in the world of football fandom that becomes dark and dramatic and not a little disturbing”; “you felt the tension building.  Great use of sound in telling the story.  Adventurous in its approach and different to everything else.”  Another judge praised it for its terrific twist in the middle – “this programme, like the very best, is greater than the sum of its little parts – which is what a great feature should be.”


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