• Mentorn Media's documentary, Tulisa: My Mum and Me was among the winners at last night's prestigious Mind Media Awards 2011, in a ceremony hosted by The Thick of It star Rebecca Front at the British Film Institute.

    The awards which celebrate the best portrayals and reporting of mental health in the media saw N-Dubz star and X-Factor judge Tulisa honoured by winning the Documentary award for the BBC Three documentary which originally aired in August 2010. Away from the glare of the media spotlight Tulisa is a carer for her Mum who has schizoaffective disorder. In this moving, highly personal account she lifted the lid on what life is like for some of the 80,000 other young people in Britain caring for a parent with mental health problems.

    Drawing on her own experiences, Tulisa met other young carers to explore the day-to-day realities of living with a mentally ill parent. The effects of looking after a parent with mental health problems can be overwhelming and often endured with little outside support but Tulisa discovered there is help available, notably young carers groups.

    Tulisa said: "It's such a great pleasure to have won this award - it's something very close to my heart. Being able to create awareness for such a condition will help those it effects on a daily basis and the people who help them in their lives. This award is dictated to all the young careers and their mothers in the UK today."

    Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said: "This year's Mind Media Awards winners illustrate the fantastic programmes that can be made when mental health issues are tackled sensitively. Whether it is someone talking about their life in a documentary, article or YouTube video, or helping to inform the plot of a drama, personal stories can shine a spotlight on what life is really like with a mental health problem."

    Mentorn's Head of Factual Entertainment and Features, Hannah Wyatt said: "We are delighted to have won this prestigious award. Tulisa and all our contributors were so open about sharing their stories. It's an honour to pay tribute to such strong, young and resilient carers and to bring to light just how hard they work to make day to day life more bearable for those they look after."

    For further information please contact Plank PR on 020 8995 3936

  • Dagenham is hosting BBC One's political debate programme for the first time this Thursday, 1st December.

    David Dimbleby chairs the programme from the London borough which sees Justice Secretary Ken Clarke; Chuka Umunna, Shadow Business Secretary; Head of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Mary Bousted; Former Speechwriter for President George W. Bush David Frum and Business woman Deborah Meaden, face questions from the audience.

    To apply for a seat in future audiences you can register your question at www.bbc.co.uk /questiontime or call the audience line on 01299 829 299.

    For further information please contact Plank PR on 0208 995 3936.

  • Mentorn Media has won a top award for helping build a more inclusive world for disabled people, for its outstanding documentary series Katie, My Beautiful Friends fronted by charity campaigner and presenter, Katie Piper.

    The Ability Media International (AMI) award was presented on Monday 21st November at a glittering ceremony at the world famous London Studios. The packed event was attended by some of the UK Arts industry's most influential and well respected players - including Downton Abbey actor Dame Maggie Smith, childrens' TV pioneer Anna Home and filmmaker Mike Leigh.

    The AMI awards, created by Leonard Cheshire Disability in 2009, identify outstanding creative projects that encourage a more inclusive world for disabled and disadvantaged people.

    Heralded by the international panel of judges as a "highly engaging and moving series", Katie, My Beautiful Friends won the 'Features Award 2011'. The Channel 4 series followed Katie Piper, a model who was disfigured by an acid attack, as she set out to help rebuild the confidence of people like her who are fighting for normality while living with a potentially devastating disfigurement.

    Renowned theatre, film and TV actress, currently performing in Caryl Churchill's hit revival 'Top Girls', Stella Gonet, presented the award to Katie Piper. Katie commented:

    "I want to thank the Ability Media International judges for this tremendous recognition and for their kind comments.

    "It's huge testament to Mentorn Media and Channel 4 that we made this series. Their support, belief and dedication to ensuring that people with disabilities and disfigurements are represented in British broadcasting is central to the series' success.

    "But above all I want to thank the eight friends that I met during the making of the series, for their honesty, inspiration and for helping me understand further issues that people can face.

    "Together, I believe, we can change perceptions in society in the long term and make people with disabilities and disfigurements feel accepted and included wherever they are."

    Jane Jutsum, Leonard Cheshire Disability Innovative Projects Director and co-organiser of the AMI awards, commented: "My Beautiful Friends is a highly engaging and moving series. Its sensitive investigation into its subjects struggle for normality ultimately contributes to creating a more inclusive and diverse society."

    The AMIs support the Ability Media Centre. Set up by Leonard Cheshire Disability, the centre gives disabled and disadvantaged young people the training and skills they need to meet the demands of the media industries.

  • Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, says of journalists who've been involved in hacking and harrassment, "toss them in jail."

    Speaking on Question Time from Bath, Wales said there had been "outrageous conduct by the media." He added: "The criminal behaviour and some of the most outrageous behaviour needs to be very severely punished...In terms of people going to jail for stealing information, for hacking into phones, for blagging to get people's personal details unethically, you know, toss them in jail."

    Question Time is on BBC One at 10.35pm and available on BBC iPlayer after transmission.

    For further information please contact Louise Plank on lou@plankpr.com

  • BBC One's political debate programme, Question Time, is being hosted from Bath this evening, Thursday, 24th November.

    David Dimbleby chairs the programme with panellists: Energy Secretary Chris Huhne; Sainsbury's Chief Executive, Justin King; Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales; Shadow Minister for Older People, Liz Kendall and Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan, facing questions from the audience.

    To apply for a seat in future audiences you can register your question at www.bbc.co.uk/questiontime or call the audience line on 01299 829 299.

     

    For further information please contact Louise Plank on 07801 321 965 or lou@plankpr.com

  • Mentorn Media's one hour documentary, John Steinbeck - Voice of America airs on BBC Four, tonight at 9pm.

    John Steinbeck - Voice of America follows Melvyn Bragg as he travels from Oklahoma to California to examine the enduring legacy of the Nobel Prize-winning author, John Steinbeck.

    In novels such as The Grapes Of Wrath, Of Mice And Men, and Cannery Row, Steinbeck gave voices to ordinary people who were battling poverty, drought and homelessness. Melvyn Bragg assesses why the work of one his favourite authors remains relevant in today's America, taking a fresh approach to John Steinbeck, his work and in particular Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes Of Wrath, one of the epic American novels of the twentieth century.

    Bragg visits the site of the 1930s dust bowl in Oklahoma; the California orchards where bloody political battles were fought between migrant labourers and growers; and the Monterey coastline where Steinbeck developed his ideas on ecology, and makes a case for Steinbeck as one of the great voices of American literature.

    Mentorn Media's Executive Producer, said Steve Anderson said: "Melvyn will be exploring why Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath rattled the sensitivities of America, and more than 70 years on, what parallels can be drawn with today's USA as it struggles with a new economic downturn and wrestles with the excesses of the banks. It's a celebration of one of America's most heralded authors and the most famous of his works."

    Melvyn Bragg has written an exclusive article on Steinbeck's legacy for the Guardian:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/nov/21/melvyn-bragg-on-john-steinbeck

    For further information please contact Louise Plank on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com

  • BBC One's political debate programme, Question Time, is being hosted from Aberystwyth tomorrow evening, Thursday 17th November.

    David Dimbleby chairs the programme from the University Town which sees Housing and Local Government Minister and Conservative MP for Welwyn Hatfield Grant Shapps; Shadow Immigration Minister and Labour MP for Rhondda Chris Bryant; Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Member for Ceredigion Elin Jones; Guardian Columnist Will Hutton, and Political Economist and Commentator Sir Simon Jenkins, face questions from the audience.

    To apply for a seat in future audiences you can register your question at www.bbc.co.uk /questiontime or call the audience line on 01299 829 299.

    For further information please contact Louise Plank on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com