Scots pair hoping for prizes at radio production showcase

TWO Scotland-based hopefuls will be featuring tonight at a prestigious awards ceremony celebrating the best of radio production.

Gus Beattie, of The Comedy Unit, is up for Best Entertainment Producer at this year’s Radio Production Awards, while Cathy FitzGerald, a producer for North Berwick-based production company, Rockethouse Productions, has earned a nomination in the Best Newcomer category.

Beattie is currently executive producer for radio with The Comedy Unit, which is responsible for radio shows such as Fags Mags and Bags, Jonathan Watson’s Big Society and The Karen Dunbar Show. It is also behind hit TV shows such as Still Game and Burnistoun.

FitzGerald, who is based in Essex, was nominated thanks to her work on programmes such as The Magic Carpet Flight Manual, charting the history of ‘flying carpets’.

Director, Matt Thompson, who runs Rockethouse, told “She’s very talented. She is someone who has not made a lot for radio so she is a genuine newcomer.”

Thompson put the success of the company down to quality over quantity, adding: “We just want to make a few programmes really well. I’m very involved in every production.”

Beattie, meanwhile, told allmediascotland: “Obviously, I’m delighted to be nominated. it’s quite the honour to have your work recognised by The Radio Academy. I am looking forward to the ceremony.

“I produced quite a few shows last year for Radio 4 and Radio Scotland, most notably our Radio 4 titles, Fags, Mags & Bag – written by and starring Sanjeev Kohli and Donald McLeary – and Mordrin McDonald: 21st Century Wizard, written by cult Scottish stand-up, David Kay, and Gavin Smith. They both received tremendous critical acclaim and were equally well-received by the listeners of Radio 4, which is fantastic.

“Along with the comedy shows I’ve been lucky enough to produce, I believe the reason I’ve been nominated is for my passion as a producer in creating opportunities and gaining commissions for Scottish writing and performing talent on BBC network radio.

“Both FMB and Mordrin are set in Scotland and feature mainly Scottish casts; the key to their success is they are unashamedly regional without being stereotyped. The humour travels and it is to Radio 4 and their commissioning editor, Caroline Raphael’s credit that they embrace a sense of region in their comedy output.

“Jeff Zycinski, the controller at BBC Radio Scotland, has also been a long-term supporter of our radio comedy work and has helped create opportunities for Scottish talent.

“Comedy is a collaborative business like no other, so there’s no way could I have done it without the tremendous efforts of the talent I work with and of course the creative support network we have here at The Comedy Unit.”

The Radio Production Awards were established last year by the Radio Academy and the Radio Independents Group to “reward achievement by individual producers and production companies demonstrated by a body of work created and delivered during the previous year”.

Categories up for grabs include Best Music Entertainment Producer, Best Documentary/ Feature Maker, Best Live Music (concert) and Best Live Music (studio).

The awards ceremony is taking place in London and is being hosted by BBC Radio 2’s Jon Holmes.