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Film-maker urges graduates to shake up TV

16 November 2009

Peter Kosminsky Award-winning director appeals for graduate talent after receiving Honorary Doctorate from BU.

Critically-acclaimed TV drama director and writer Peter Kosminsky has challenged this year’s graduates from BU’s renowned Media School to go and “shake things up” in the industry.

Kosminsky made the remarks after receiving the honorary degree Doctor of Arts from the University during annual award ceremonies at the Bournemouth International Centre.

He flew back for the ceremony from the Middle East where he is currently casting for his latest production for UK broadcaster Channel 4.

“Take a look at television any night and you’ll see it, most of it is rubbish – undemanding, escapist tosh,” said Kosminsky. “Used correctly, this medium has incredible power and that power is about to be passed into your hands. I would beg you to make good use of it.

“You don’t just have to continue to mimic what’s gone before,” he urged. “It’s time for a new generation to come along and make some mischief. Your job is to shake things up and I don’t mean just within the industry itself.

“Your job is to shake things up in this country,” he continued. “A healthy democracy requires a powerful and free media. Your job is to ask the difficult questions that some people don’t want heard.”

Kosminsky’s work has, for many years, addressed strong social and international issues. He describes himself as ‘an old-fashioned programme maker’ for whom ‘TV is about informing as well as entertaining’.

He first came to prominence in 1990 when he directed Shoot to Kill, a four-hour drama detailing the government cover-up of the Stalker Enquiry which set out to establish whether there was a ‘shoot to kill’ policy at work in Northern

Nearly two decades and many successes later he still has the same capacity to create surprising and moving films which also make uncomfortable viewing for those in power.

His most recent production Britz, broadcast by C4 in 2007, reflected the differing attitudes of British Muslims to world events through the stories of two young British Muslims, brother and sister.

His current production takes a similar approach, telling through the eyes of a British squaddie the story of the last days of the British Mandate in Palestine, leading to the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948.

The consistent excellence of Peter’s work has been recognised and honoured many times over by national and international awards, where it is appraised by the most distinguished and exacting of judges: his peers and fellow professionals.

In 1990 with a British Academy nomination and the Royal Television Society Best Single Drama awards for Shoot to Kill, and they have multiplied ever since.

No Child of Mine in 1997 won no less than 14 prestigious international awards, ranging from the BAFTA Best Single Drama to Overall Winner of the Mental Health Media Awards.

More recent awards have come from the Monte Carlo Television Festival, the Broadcasting Press Guild, and the Royal Television Society; all these, with a Prix Italia and a BAFTA, came to him for Warriors.

BAFTA also gave him two further Awards (Best Single Drama, and Best Writer) for The Government Inspector in 2005.

He takes particular pleasure in the BAFTA Award for Outstanding Creative Contribution to Television, given in the name of one of his heroes, the TV director Alan Clarke, in 1999.

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