Double RTS win for Savile documentary-maker: 'Recognition of the role media can play in exposing wrongdoing'

Jimmy Savile documenter Mark Williams-Thomas believes his two Royal Television Society awards are a “recognition of the role the media can play in exposing wrong-doing”.

Williams-Thomas’ documentary, Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, won the Scoop of the Year and Current Affairs – Home awards at last night’s ceremony.

Speaking to Press Gazette this morning, he said: “I think the sum of it is that it was a very delicate programme to make and the recognition I think was really about the strength of the victims coming forward more than anything.”

Williams-Thomas said he was not surprised that the story spread so wildly after ITV broadcast the documentary in early October.

“Right from day one we were about to expose an iconic individual who himself was Mr Media in the UK,” he said.

“He was so huge, so we knew the programme was going to receive huge national and international coverage.”

ITV News also won News Coverage – Home for its Savile coverage and ITV News, London Tonight, won the Nations and Regions News Programme award.

Channel 4 News, which like ITV News is produced by ITN, won six prizes on the night, including Daily News Programme of the Year.

Meanwhile, Jon Snow was named Presenter of the Year and Alex Thomson won TV Journalist of the Year on behalf of C4 News.

The programme’s No Go Britain also won the Innovative News Award and Ciaran Jenkins won Young Journalist of the Year. It also won the Independent Award for its Syrian war coverage, Horror of Homs.

After his organisation won eight awards, for all Channel 4 News and ITV News, ITN CEO John Hardie said: “With our industry under scrutiny like never before, I’m delighted that the talent, courage and hard work across ITN has been recognised on this prestigious RTS awards night.

"On what must be an unprecedented haul for ITN with eight coveted individual and team awards, we are rightly proud of the power and impact of our journalism."

After a year in which BBC journalism has been rocked by the fallout of the Savile scandal – its decision not to air the allegations against Savile on Newsnight and then the McAlpine affair – the corporation only won four prizes.

But there was rocognition for veteran Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen who was named journalist of the year.

Full list of awards:

  • Young Journalist of the Year – Ciaran Jenkins, Channel 4 News ITN for Channel 4 News
  • Nations and Regions News Programme – London Tonight, ITN for ITV News
  • Regional Presenter of the Year – Stewart White, BBC Look East, BBC East
  • News Coverage – International – Syria, BBC News
  • News Coverage – Home – Savile, ITN for ITV News
  • Current Affairs – Home – Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, ITV Studios for ITV1
  • Current Affairs – International – This World: Inside the Meltdown,
  • Innovative News – No Go Britain, ITN for Channel 4 News
  • Camera Operator of the Year – Darren Conway (DC), Newsgathering, BBC News
  • The Independent Award – Horror of Homs, ITN for Channel 4 News
  • Daily News Programme of the Year – Channel 4 News, ITN for Channel 4
  • News Scoop of the Year – Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, ITV Studios for ITV1
  • News Channel of the Year – CNN International Specialist
  • Journalist of the Year – Jeremy Bowen, Middle East Editor, BBC News
  • Television Journalist of the Year – Alex Thomson, Channel 4 News, ITN for Channel 4
  • News National Presenter of the Year – Jon Snow, Channel 4 News, ITN for Channel 4
  • News Judges’ Award – Susannah Schofield, John Schofield Trust
  • Lifetime Achievement – Richard Tait CBE

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