On Monday 23rd May 2011, Andy Harries was made a Fellow of the Royal Television Society for outstanding contribution to the broadcasting industry. Below is the citation from the RTS about his appointmentâ€¦
â€œMention the name of our next Fellow to anyone in film or television and you get a range of reactions from unstinting adulation (from the people who work for him) to unqualified respect (from the talent who flock to him) to downright exasperation (from the bosses who try to control him). But the one thing every reaction has in common is the broad grin that saying his name brings to everyone’s face. Some of the finest drama and funniest comedy, and often a clever combination of both, have passed through his hands or come under his aegis on their way to both massive popular and critical acclaim. From huge hits such as Cold Feet to gritty agenda setting series such as The Street, to hard-hitting one-off films like See No Evil to the finest of British detective drama such as Prime Suspect to award winning, even Oscar winning feature films like The Queen. What our new fellow does, and he does it consummately, is pick a clever, often mishievous, idea, excite the best writer, lure in a top director and tempt an amazing actor to commit to the project. Then he sits in the middle of this wealth of talent, charming, cajoling, inspiring and ultimately delivering something of broad appeal yet always lasting quality.
At ITV under Melvyn Bragg he forged out South Bank Shows on the likes of Truman Capote and Lenry Henry. His passion for film took him into the Incredibly Strange Film Show with Jonathan Ross while his irrepressible sense of humour took him both into broken comedy such as the Mrs Merton Show then into sitcom with the likes of Surgical Spitit and the genre defining The Royle Family. He then headed into mainstream drama with a plethora of successful prime time ITV series such as the Forsyte Saga, Henry VIII, Donovan, Island at War, Vincent, Eleventh Hour and Mary Bryant. These series were interspersed with running a department which twice a year would produce brave, often challenging one off dramas that would sweep the awards board, from Dirty Filthy Love to Pierepoint to Wall of Silence to The Deal. Our Fellow enjoyed, even relished, fighting the good fight for these controversial films as much as he did delivering a massive comedy drama hit.
Latterly our Fellow left ITV and set up his own trailblazing drama Indie and the success has continued unabated. Does he spot a trend and jump on it or does he create a trend â€“ hard to tell but who would have predicted the British appetite for morose Swedish detectives, as he has just done with 5 times BAFTA award winning Wallander, delivering yet another talked about series and paving the way for others.
There will be some critics of tonight’s New Fellow, including himself, who claim that in drama the talent is all and his success is simply down to being â€˜good with talent’. Those who know him well, and know the passion and wit and intelligence and editorial acruity he puts into everything he does and the resultant brilliance of everything he touches, know that our new Fellow IS the Talent. For a significant contribution to television, this RTS Fellowship is awarded to Andy Harries.â€