Comedian, writer, playwright, producer and actress Meera Syal CBE, received The EON Productions Lifetime Achievement Award at today’s Women in Film & Television Awards 2023 ceremony.
The Awards, in partnership with Sky, took place at London Hilton Park Lane to celebrate the work, success and achievements of women in front of and behind the camera.
Now in its 32nd year, the event saw comedian, writer, presenter and actress Katherine Ryan return as host for her second year running, honouring the much-admired and worthy winners across 14 categories including directing, writing, producing, performance, business and contribution to the medium.
Sir Lenny Henry CBE handed Syal her the accolade. Syal’s illustrious career has seen her rise to prominence in the groundbreaking British-Asian television comedies Goodness Gracious Me (which she created, wrote and starred in) and The Kumars, as well as her extensive work across film, television and theatre, ranging from the RSC to the West End. With countless acting and writing credits across books, scripts and screenplays – including the adaptation of her debut novel, Anita and Me – Syal has previously been awarded an MBE in 1997, a CBE in 2015 and the BAFTA Fellowship for her career on screen earlier this year.
Meera Syal CBE joins a commanding list of previous Women in Film & Television Lifetime Achievement award-winners, including Sue Barker, Floella Benjamin, Judi Dench, Sheila Hancock, Katherine Hepburn, Glenda Jackson, Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley, Esther Rantzen, Vanessa Redgrave and Maggie Smith.
Speaking at The Women in Film & Television Awards 2023, Meera Syal CBE said: “I’m truly honoured to be this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, and to be celebrating this with so many inspirational, talented women that I have the privilege to share an industry with. The work that Women in Film and TV does to support and champion women working in this industry is unmatched and it has been a joy to be a part of it today.”
TV personality and actress Alison Hammond also accepted The EIKON Presenter Award, handed to her by Carol Vorderman for her work on ITV’s This Morning and as co-host of Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off, where she has been responsible for countless classic moments of broadcasting gold.
Mo Gilligan presented The Argonon Best Performance Award to actor, comedian and writer Gbemisola Ikumelo, an honour that reflects her incredible work on screen as Dom in the critically acclaimed BBC television comedy series, Black Ops.
After being appointed as two of the industry’s most experienced practitioners earlier this year, Tanya Motie and Ally Castle were presented with The ITV Studios Achievement of the Year Award by Jack Thorne for their work as Project Leads at the TV Access Project – a coalition of ten of the UK’s biggest broadcasters and streamers who have pledged to work together to deliver real improvements in access for disabled talent across the TV industry.
Additionally, the UK’s best behind the scenes talent were applauded at the Women in Film & Television Awards 2023, with Aoife McArdle (Severance director), Claire Ellis (Senior Dialogue Editor at Molinare TV and Film), Georgie Emary (24 Hours in Police Custody producer), Grace Ofori-Attah (Malpractice writer), Louisa Compton (Channel 4’s Head of News and Current Affairs and Specialist Factual and Sport), Lynn Saunders (Head of the Liverpool Film Office), Nina Hartstone (supervising sound editor on Saltburn), Sanne Wohlenberg (Andor producer), Sarah Brewerton (Editor of Nolly) and Tobi Kyeremateng (How to be a Person producer) all winning big on the night in recognition of their craft and how they are all blazing their own paths in the creative media industry.
The annual awards are organised by Women in Film & TV (UK), the leading membership organisation for women working in creative media in the UK. They host a variety of online and in-person events throughout the year, present a prestigious awards ceremony every December and run a four nations mid-career mentoring programme for women. They also collaborate with industry bodies on research projects, run bursary initiatives and lobby for women’s interests.
Speaking at the Women in Film & Television Awards, CEO Katie Bailiff said “For the past 32 years we’ve been able to highlight the brilliant work of women both in front of and behind the camera. Today we had the privilege of celebrating the incredible and inspiring achievements of our 14 new winners, thanks to the backing of our sponsors. We’ve come a long way and women are making huge contributions to film and TV, but there is still much work to do – as we’ve seen with the statistics recently released within The Diamond report. In 2024, we will continue to do all we can to support our members and promote women’s interests within the industry.”
Women in Film & Television Awards 2023 presenter Katherine Ryan added “I have had such a great day hosting the awards for the second time. It is so special to be a part of the celebration of so many talented and inspiring women working across such a variety of areas in Film and TV. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the worthy winners and thank Women in Film & TV for inviting me to return as host of this fabulous day!”
This year’s ceremony also saw a wealth of talent attending to celebrate the achievements of some of the most prolific women in the film and television industry, guests included Aimee Lou Wood, Amelia Dimoldenberg, Cherry Healey, Elisabeth Murdoch, Katie Price, and Rosie Jones. Entertainment performances during the awards ceremony came courtesy of the West End cast of Disney’s The Lion King and Frozen.
The full list of Women in Film & Television Awards 2023 winners and presenters is as follows:
Sanne Wohlenberg (producer, Andor)
The ENVY Producer Award
Presented by Genevieve O’Reilly
Gbemisola Ikumelo (actor, Famalam, Black Ops)
The Argonon Best Performance Award
Presented by Mo Gilligan
Alison Hammond, presenter (This Morning, Great British Bake Off)
The EIKON Presenter Award
Presented by Carol Vorderman
Lynn Saunders (Head of Liverpool Film Office, Liverpool City Council)
The Mercury Business Award
Presented by David Morrissey
Claire Ellis, Senior Dialogue Editor, Molinare TV and Film
The MBS Equipment Co Craft Award
Presented by Tom Burke
Louisa Compton, Head of News and Current Affairs and Specialist Factual and Sport at Channel 4
The BBC News and Factual Award
Presented by Victoria Derbyshire
Tobi Kyeremateng, film and TV producer (How to be a Person)
The Netflix New Talent Award
Presented by Adjoa Andoh
Georgie Emary, producer (24 Hours in Police Custody)
The IMDb Project Management Award
Presented by Laura Whitmore
Nina Hartstone, supervising sound editor (Saltburn, Bohemian Rhapsody)
The Creative Technology Award
Presented by Edith Bowman
Grace Ofori-Attah, writer (Malpractice)
The ScreenSkills Writing Award
Presented by Sheridan Smith
Aoife McArdle, director (Severance)
The BBC Studios Director Award
Presented by Billie Piper
Tanya Motie and Ally Castle, Project Leads, The TV Access Project
The ITV Studios Achievement of the Year Award
Presented by Jack Thorne
Sarah Brewerton, Editor (Nolly, It’s a Sin)
The Disney+ Contribution to the Medium Award
Presented by Susan Wokoma
Meera Syal CBE
The EON Productions Lifetime Achievement Award
Presented by Sir Lenny Henry CBE
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