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My 2020 awards

Before I start, let me just say that there have been comments about the lack of diversity with the judges for my awards. I have to say that I agree with those comments, but it's difficult to know what to do about it. Without further ado (not that we had much ado in the first place), here we go.

Best radio programme on a Sunday afternoon

Guy Garvey's Finest Hour (which actually lasts two) is one of those things that it's almost worth paying the license fee for just to get that one thing. If you're worried about it being a bit weird because it's on 6 Music then you don't need to worry. He plays things you just don't normally hear it all you mostly listen to is Radio 2 (like me). Some are old, some are brand new, but almost unfailingly, all are good, and you're glad you listened. As well as the talking bits in between that he does there are "On this day" items from the BBC archives and introductions to songs by his sister, the Beckypedia and his mate Simon Armitage, who is also the poet laureate. 

Most annoying misuse of a word

Staycation, when used to mean "a holiday in the UK". This is a hill I will die on. Not everyone goes abroad every year.

Best theme tune on a TV programme based on a book written under a pseudonym

The song that is used for the BBC programme, "Strike", based on the books written by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling). It's "I walk beside you" by Beth Rowley. The song itself probably wouldn't be so great, but when tied together with the visuals, plus the story behind those two characters, means it wins the award this year. The programme itself also gets the award for

Best on/off relationship in fiction

Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacot as mentioned above. This was mentioned in my 2018 awards, but this time they get the main award.

Best lockdown ad

Much advertising used the same tired phrases, like "now, more than ever" or "at times like this" (or even both), but the Weetabix advert made things like lockdown hairstyles a fun thing.

Best biography of an SF&F author

The Magic of Terry Pratchett by Marc Burrows. I subscribed to his newsletter as he wrote this book, so I was quite invested and anticipating this when it was published. There may be an official biography coming out at some point, but it's hard to imagine it would be better or more well researched than this one.

Best sound design on a TV programme

Devs: "a young computer engineer, Lily Chan, investigates the secretive development division of her employer, a cutting-edge tech company based in San Francisco, who she believes are behind the murder of her boyfriend." I read a review which said this was more style than substance, but I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. The Devs people have created a computer which can see into the future, which gives plenty to think about. The sound really adds to the atmosphere, and is created sound rather than just theme music.

Best Zoom format TV programme

Staged, featuring David Tennant and Michael Sheen as almost themselves, was not only done well, but done really well. They featured other stars, such as Judy Dench and Samuel L Jackson. The real stars were their wives though.

Best TV writer/performer in the 6:30pm slot on Radio 4

John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme remains the best show to fill that slot. The sketches are of a consistently high quality, and very clever and funny.

Best non-fiction book about an academic subject written for a non-academic audience

I guess any subject could be academic (especially when your children study your childhood music at school, but let's not get diverted onto that), but you know what I mean. Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch is about linguistics on the internet. One of the things I loved about it is how it explained how I'm an "old internet" person, and why I put ellipses at the end of sentences in messages and tweets and how it can be misunderstood by young people. If you're reading this then you probably like words, and the internet, so I think you'd like this.


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