16/12/2005

Queen's University honours Melvyn Bragg

Queen's University has honoured one of the UK's most influential broadcasters, South Bank Show host and author Melvyn Bragg.

At the graduation ceremony, 'Lord Bragg of Wigton' was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature for distinction in literature and broadcasting.

Delivering the citation, Queen's Director of Marketing, Recruitment and Communications Tom Collins described Lord Bragg as "unquestionably one of the most lucid and adept chroniclers of the television age".

He continued: "In a career spanning some 40 years, he has helped turn television from a mere means of transmitting pictures from one space to another into an artform in its own right; and he has used the mass media to expose and explore the creative spark which sets humankind apart from every other creature which inhabits this earth.

"It is no exaggeration to say that he has done more than any other individual in these islands to deepen understanding of the arts and to make them meaningful to people who would never have thought they were relevant to their lives.

"That the South Bank Show has survived, and thrived in a world where the bottom line is everything, speaks volumes of Melvyn Bragg’s skills as a communicator, the viewing public's desire for substance amid celebrity, and the genuine commitment of commercial television to public service broadcasting."

Melvyn Bragg, who also presents the BBC radio programme In Our Time, which attracts a weekly audience of two million, was born in Cumbria in 1939 and educated at Oxford, where he read Modern History.

His public appointments include membership of the Arts Council, Northern Arts, the National Campaign for the Arts and the House of Lords, which he joined in 1998.

He is a recipient of numerous honorary degrees and a range of awards, including the Writers' Guild Screenplay Award; Rhys Memorial Prize; Northern Arts Association Prose Award; Silver Pen Award; Broadcasting Guild Award; Ivor Novello Musical Award; the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Dimbleby Award, and the WH Smith Literary Award for 2000.

(MB/SP)

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