RTS PROGRAMME AWARDS 2006, Tuesday 13 March 2007, Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London W1
It is half past seven the next morning and I still cannot believe it. Lee and I won the Breakthrough award for writing Not Going Out at the Royal Television Society Awards last night. Certain among the top ranking Avalon executives on our table seemed to have an inkling, but Lee and I did not. I was in a state of shock for the rest of the evening. Ours was fourth in a ceremony of 29 awards, so at least the agony was brief. Host Mark Austin read out this quote from the judges: “the winning programme was a real treat – well observed and well-written, with a stream of non-stop, laugh-out loud gags.” (during which we worked out it wasn’t the Moors Murderers or the documentary Banged Up Abroad that had won). The rest is a bit of a blur. Stephen Merchant won for his performance in Extras. Bruce Parry for presenting Tribe. Craig Cash and co won two for The Royle Family, so we were glad we weren’t up against them in the sitcom category. Alan Sugar went up for The Apprentice. And Richard Curtis got the Judges Award, after a dull citation by Ben Elton.
They encouraged recipients not to give speeches, but certain among them – I mean, us – did. Lee made a gag about beating Myra Hyndley and Ian Brady (as we’d beaten the producer of See No Evil, the excellent Moors Murderers drama) and I thanked the other writers, Paul, Simon, Derren, John and Tim Vine. Neither of us thanked anyone else. It was all a bit unplanned and wide-eyed and shambolic.
I must admit I had a glass of champagne, then switched back to water (gallons of it, actually) as Lee and I are, ironically, supposed to be spending the day storylining for series two this very morning. Once we’d won I literally refused to let the award (we got one each) out of my sight, or even out of my hands. In the winners’ enclosure afterwards, where the likes of Alan Carr, Catherine Tate, Craig Cash, Ben Elton and that bloke who sailed somewhere with Ben Fogle gathered. I congratulated Stephen Merchant, and Simon Amstell (I think I may have gushed in the heat of the moment), and spent a long time chatting to the charming and gentle Richard Curtis about Comic Relief, Ray Stubbs, premium rate phone lines, poverty, Bob Dylan and the fact that after Vicar Of Dibley he is still waiting for the BBC to offer him his next sitcom. BBC economics editor and Dragon’s Den host Evan Davis joined us, with his camp wallet on a chain, and we discussed the chances of Cameron at the next election (Evan says 40 per cent). What a jolly television gathering it was. I still cannot believe it. Never once when Lee and I were slaving away in that soulless Oxford Street office did we think we were writing something that might win awards. What a vindication.
Oh, and you can hear our acceptance speech on Media Guardian. Click on the MP3 link at the top. It’s right at the end, so you can zip through past Mark Austin; we’re after Craig Cash and Phil Mealey. Sorry I didn’t pronounce my “t”s properly in the word “writers”. It was the excitement of winning.