Royal Television Society head

Students shortlisted for Royal Television Society awards

Three short films created by University of Cumbria students are in the running for Royal Television Society (RTS) awards this weekend.

Winners of the RTS North East and The Border regional awards will be announced at a glittering ceremony in Gateshead on Saturday (24 February).

The awards recognise the best in programme making and broadcasting industry across the region. Supporting future and emerging talent, they also have categories for students.

Matthew Athroll’s film ‘Poachers’ is shortlisted in the Entertainment and Comedy Drama student category. His three-minute action film follows an experienced mercenary, guided by his partner, as they attempt to steal from a ruthless crime boss for a huge reward.

matthew athroll

Pictured left, Matthew, who completed a BA (Hons) Film and Television course and graduated in November 2023, said: “I feel honoured to have been shortlisted at the RTS. I am very happy to have the chance to share my passion and hard work with everyone in attendance, I am really excited."

Georgia Costin, Peter Howarth and Abbey Wilkinson are BA (Hons) Wildlife Media graduates, who also completed their degrees last year. Their films are shortlisted in the Saving the Planet student category.

Abbey and Georgia’s film ‘Tails of Cumbria Heritage’ tells the story of the county’s native Fell Ponies. The filmmakers follow breeders and Fell Pony Heritage Trust members Libby Robinson and Samantha Smith as they strive to conserve the wild roots of the ponies found on the fells of Cumbria for future generations.

Abbey Wilkinson and Georgia Costin

Georgia said she and Abbey, both pictured right, felt ‘very honoured’ to be shortlisted, adding: “We have both worked incredibly hard producing, filming and editing ourselves to create 'Tails of Cumbrian Heritage' and it’s wonderful to have it recognised for such an award."

Meanwhile, Kendal-based Peter’s ‘Pine Marten’ documents efforts to conserve and protect one of the rarest mammals in Britain, a species that is making a comeback in Scotland but is close to extinction in England and Wales. It explores the potential for its reintroduction to Cumbria.

Filmed out on location, often in challenging locations and weather conditions, ‘Pine Marten’ was a solo film project with all camera, lighting, sound, editing and post-production completed by Peter.

Peter filmed and interviewed conservationists from the university-led ‘Back On Our Map’, a lottery-funded partnership project that sought to reintroduce 10 plant and animal species (including the Pine Marten) to Morecambe Bay.

With access to sites of special scientific interest and protected areas, Peter worked on the BOOM project as a photographer and videographer whilst finishing his BA (Hons) Wildlife Media degree. He is now studying at postgraduate level on the university’s MA Creative Practice programme.

Peter Howarth

Peter, pictured left, said: “I’m extremely proud, I feel like the hard work has finally paid off.”

Students created their films using equipment and production facilities at the university’s Institute of Education, Arts and Society.

In support of the media industry, the University of Cumbria is also among the sponsors of this year’s RTS North East and The Border awards, supporting the production awards’ Non-Broadcast Factual category.

Michael Mitchell, Principal Lecturer for Media Arts and Lead for Portfolio Development and Recruitment, Institute for Education, Arts and Society said: "For our students and graduates to be shortlisted for an RTS award and have their work recognised by industry professionals is a significant achievement.  Their productions are testament to their commitment to learning and demonstrate the high level of their practical filmmaking skills. 

"We are proud of our nominees and their ability to create visual stories that are impactful and are an exploration of important issues that influence our landscapes and communities across Cumbria and beyond."

* Those interested in upcoming University of Cumbria open campus afternoons and events can find out more at


Notes to editors

  1. The students’ films can be viewed:

‘Poachers’ by Matthew Athroll:

‘Pine Marten’ by Peter Howarth:

‘Tails of Cumbrian Heritage’ by Abbey Wilkinson and Georgia Costin: