Phil Redmond CBE
Presented by Professor Frank Sanderson
Honourable Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Professor Phil Redmond as an Ambassador Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.
Professor Phil Redmond CBE, the television producer and screen writer, is best known for creating three of Britain's longest running drama programmes, the ground-breaking Grange Hill which ran for 30 years; Brookside for 21 years and Hollyoaks for 15 years and still running. He has written extensively for radio, television and stage and is currently a regular columnist for the Liverpool Daily Post.
For over twenty years along with his wife Alexis he ran what became the largest independent production company, Mersey Television, before selling up in 2005 and starting a smaller film production company.
Of Irish ancestry, Phil Redmond was born in 1949 and grew up in Huyton. After school he trained as a Quantity Surveyor at Liverpool Polytechnic and in his twenties wrote jokes for Les Dawson among others and gained a Social Studies degree before pursuing a career as a writer. Drawing on his experience of the comprehensive system, he came up with the Grange Hill idea in 1978 - and he's never looked back.
Phil has also made a telling contribution to the arts at local regional and national level. He is a founder member of the first regional branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in Manchester; a council member of the Independent Producer's Association and a former national negotiator for the Writer's Guild of Great Britain.
In 1996, Phil was elected as Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and in 1997 he was also appointed Vice Chair of the newly created North West Film Commission, becoming a Patron of the Commission in July 1999. In 2008, he was appointed Chair of National Museums Liverpool.
He was thrust even more into the limelight in 2006 when he joined Liverpool's Capital of Culture Board. He became Deputy Chair and Creative Director in September, 2007 which he likened to taking on the organisation of a "typically Scouse wedding"! He certainly brought what has been described as 'scouse edge' to the capital of culture festival, quickly emerging as a popular and ubiquitous champion of Liverpool and orchestrating a highly successful Capital of Culture Year in 2008.
He is also a strong promoter of enterprise: he is a former Chair of the Merseyside Entrepreneurship Commission and is currently Patron of the Merseyside Hub for Enterprise Insight. Away from work, Phil is a life-long supporter of Liverpool FC. And despite his love of football, he wishes it to be known that after a lifetime of fruitless and unreciprocated effort, he has from this month retired from watching or from having anything whatsoever to do with The World Cup.
In the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List, he was awarded a richly-deserved CBE for services to drama.
He has had a long association with Liverpool John Moores University. A former student, he was appointed a Professor of Media in 1989 and since then has been an active and steadfast supporter. In 1993, he became a member of the LJMU Board of Trustees and was honoured with a Fellowship the same year. Along with his wife Alexis who is also a Fellow of the University, he has been generous with his time, donations of equipment and financial support. He has also led a number of fund-raising campaigns on our behalf.
He has given Masterclasses and guest lectures for our Media Studies students.
He has arranged for high profile guest speakers to visit the University, such as Steven Spielberg and Greg Dyke in his "View from the Top" series, he has partnered us in developing a BA Media Professional Studies degree and an MA in Screenwriting and he has always been willing to turn up to support an event or advise on issues and key appointments.
Our International Centre for Digital Content was Phil's conception - it has delivered groundbreaking work in applications of new digital technologies ranging from support for community groups in Liverpool to working with national and global businesses such as the NHS and Sony.
Phil was the guiding light for the creation of the Liverpool Screen School - the first of its kind in the North West and until recently the only Skillset Media Academy. He is chair of the Screen School Advisory Board.
In cases where we have benefited over many years from the sustained and exceptional commitment of a Fellow, we seek to acknowledge this commitment and consolidate the relationship by bestowing the title of Ambassador Fellow.
Professor Phil Redmond, media pioneer, cultural entrepreneur, and enthusiastic supporter of Liverpool John Moores University, is a most worthy recipient of this honour.
As the Dean of Media and Professional Studies Professor Roger Webster has said, "He is a great friend and ambassador for LJMU and we are proud to regard him as 'one of us'".
Thus I have great pleasure in presenting Professor Phil Redmond, this most distinguished son of our city, as an Ambassador Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.