It was glitz and glamour in London on 12 May as actors, directors, producers, and other creatives gathered for the BAFTA awards, to recognise those who contribute outstanding creative work towards the advancement of British film.
Among this year’s winners was Caian Nicola Shindler (1987) who picked up a Special Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the television industry. After University, Nicola worked at the Royal Court Theatre before moving to the BBC as a script editor. She said, “Having Cambridge productions on my CV and having worked with new writers at university was instrumental in me being given these jobs”. She became drama Producer at Granada and the BBC before setting up her own company, RED Production, to make innovative UK TV drama and comedy.
The Manchester-based indie, with Nicola at its helm, has produced some of the UK’s most popular series, including the ground-breaking drama Queer as Folk (1999-2000), Clocking Off (2000-2003), Happy Valley (2014-2016), Burn It (2003) and Harlan Coben’s Safe (2018). Red Production has won multiple awards in the UK and internationally.
Commenting on her award, Nicola said, “I am incredibly honoured to be the recipient of the BAFTA Television Special Award. When I set up RED Production Company 20 years ago my goal was to make drama that I wanted to watch and that always challenged the audience as well as entertained. It hasn’t been easy but I am proud of the shows we make at RED and how hard we work. I have an amazing team, and have worked with a number of the most incredible people, who have made coming into work each day a joy. And I’m not done! I continue to be excited by new ideas every day, and I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years brings.”
Nicola, who studied Law before switching to History for her final 2 years here, believes the college has had a great impact on her life and career. She said, “I benefitted hugely from Caius’s commitment to theatre and their student’s artistic ambition. From the first time, when I applied to the college for money to produce and direct my first play, all the way through to taking a new play up to Edinburgh (A notoriously difficult and expensive project), Caius supported me financially.”
Her memories of Caius also include the college’s student-led drama society, named after the famous Poet Laureate, Thomas Shadwell, himself a Caian (1656). Nicola remembers the society for their “support to students” and said, “My ability to work with writers, which is effectively my job now, was nurtured by Caius as an extra curriculum activity.”
We wish Nicola our congratulations for this amazing achievement.