AN ADDINGHAM filmmaker has scooped a Royal Television Society (Yorkshire) Writer Award for penning the scripts for his comedy sketch show Deaf Funny.

Charlie Swinbourne was up against the writers of ITV’s Victoria and Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge in his category. He was presented with the award at a ceremony at the Queens Hotel in Leeds on Friday, July 6.

Swinbourne is partially deaf himself and as well as writing the episodes, also directed them, communicating in both English and British Sign Language on set.

In May, two new episodes of the series were filmed in Nottingham, following rehearsals at Craiglands Hotel in Ilkley. The episodes were then edited at Ilkley Meeting Rooms.

The first two episodes of the series were produced by Juggle Productions, while the new episodes of the series are a co-production between Swinbourne’s company Eyewitness Media and Wellington Films, funded by British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust. Episodes are screened on Film4 and the Together channel on digital TV and online.

The series stars a cast of deaf actors, with sketches covering situations from deaf life, which Swinbourne says was inspired by growing up with deaf parents.

Speaking about the ceremony Charlie said: “There were hundreds of people from Yorkshire’s television industry there, from all kinds of different organisations, covering different elements of production, from presenters and actors to post-production and graphics companies.

“There were a lot of award categories and seeing clips of all the amazing work that’s been made in the region really made me feel lucky to be at such a prestigious event.

“Finally it was my category, and when the clip from Deaf Funny was shown it was nice seeing people laughing at it on the tables around us. When my name was read out, everything became a bit of a blur, walking up there, speaking and signing my speech, seeing so many faces looking in my direction!

“I felt truly honoured, it was really rewarding after making the show. It’s the first mainstream award I’ve won and it’s already led to more interest from production companies, so hopefully it will open some doors for me as my career progresses.”

Charlie dedicated his award to the actors from the show. In his acceptance speech he said: “Deaf culture is amazing. Deaf people are amazing. The best, most direct, most beautiful people. Writing a sketch show in sign language, about Deaf life, and going on to direct it, was a lifelong dream for me.

“I’d like to thank my wife Joanne for putting up with me while I wrote my scripts and directed the programmes. I’d like to thank our brilliant crew, and Juggle Productions.

“A massive, massive thank you to British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust for supporting my vision, particularly Kerena Marchant for believing the project from the start, and putting it on TV.

“Finally, most of all I’d like to dedicate this award to my very talented Deaf actors, who inspired me when I created Deaf Funny, and when I created my characters, and gave me everything they had during filming. I’m so, so proud of them.”

Deaf Funny can be seen in the comedy section of the BSL Zone website: