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Women in Film and TV Lifetime Achievement Award for Meera Syal

Manchester University graduate Meera Syal was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Women in Film & Television Awards 2023 ceremony, in partnership with Sky, at the weekend.

Syal, who graduated with a double first from the Manchester’s prestigious Double Honours English and Drama course, began her career writing and acting at the city’s Stephen Joseph Studio and has since gone on to write and act in shows and films including Bhaji on the Beach and Goodness Gracious Me, receive an MBE in 1997, a CBE in 2015 and the BAFTA Fellowship for her career on screen earlier this year.

Now in its 32nd year, the Women in Film & Television Awards 2023 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.


Syal 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.

Syal 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 was 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 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.

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.”

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.

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