Help scoops Rockie Awards Grand Jury Prize

Broadcast International article By John Elmes 14 June 2022

Channel 4 feature drama joins past UK winners I May Destroy You, Fleabag and Planet Earth II

Help_early release. Picture shows: Tony (STEPHEN GRAHAM) and Sarah (JODIE COMER) Photographer: Brian Sweeney

Jack Thorne’s poignant Channel 4 pandemic feature drama Help has won the grand jury prize at the Rockie Awards, becoming the fourth UK recipient of the award in its six-year history.

Help, which stars Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham and is produced by The Forge, follows in the footsteps of acclaimed UK series I May Destroy You (2021), Fleabag (2020) and Planet Earth II (2017) as recipients of the gong, which has been part of the awards ceremony held at the Banff World Media Festival since 2017.

Set in a fictional Liverpool care home, the 1 x 120-minute drama revolves around the relationship between a young care home worker (Comer) and a patient (Graham), whose lives are changed forever by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020.

It is the third year in succession that the UK has taken the grand jury prize, which is awarded to the highest scoring project in the Rockies Programme Competition by the festival’s specially appointed Grand Jury of industry executives, which this year includes Channel 4 drama chief Caroline Hollick, Warner Bros Discovery’s EMEA head of kids Vanessa Brookman, Monika Ille, chief executive of Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc., and Studio Dragon chief Young-kyu Kim.

The gong is one of the two highest honours at the Rockies, alongside The Program of the Year award, which was won by CBC and HBO Max comedy Sort Of, produced by Sienna Films/Sphere Media and created by Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo, which tells the story of Sabi Mehboob (Baig), a fluid millennial who straddles various identities from sexy bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar, to the youngest child in a large Pakistani family, to the de facto parent of a downtown hipster family.

Past recipients of the programme of the year gong include It’s a Sin, This is Us, Handmaid’s Tale, Making a Murderer and Surviving R. Kelly.

Help’s success follows on from its best feature length film award at the Rockies’ International Program competition, amid numerous accolades for UK indies and broadcasters.

These two awards follow on from previously announced Rockies such as the Impact Award, handed to Bela Bajaria, head of global TV at Netflix, the Sir Peter Ustinov comedy award, presented to Saturday Night Live star Ana Gasteyer, Inclusion Award recipient Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2, Empire) and creative voice award, won by Starstruck creator Rose Matafeo.

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