On Friday night, thanks to MEC Social and Cactus TV, I was honoured and privileged to be invited along to the 2011 Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards in association with the Crime Writers’ Association.
It’s an event I’ve watched on ITV3 for the past few years and this year there was an excellent lead up to the Awards show with the weekly countdown of the A-Z of Crime series, which featured all the greats from crime fiction and the many television adaptations of those books concerned.
Suited up, I set off to The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane in a timely fashion – after all, it would be criminal to miss out on this event. This gave sufficient time to meet up with fellow crime blogger Milorambles, for an early beer which he’d arranged with author of HUNTED, Emlyn Rees. This turned out to be something of an adventure in itself, with us locating the pub in question by questioning a heavily armed Policeman guarding a local embassy, who slung his submachine gun for a while to locate the pub on his iphone for us and then us locating the pub via iphone map downloading. All this on the day after Steve Jobs sad demise – so, thank you, Steve.
After a great chat and a pint with Emlyn, it was time for us to head back along Park Lane to the venue – and what a lovely location it is too. A quick flash of our tickets and we were in and led down a staircase to a hallway that was already filling fast with some very familiar faces from the world of crime fiction in books and television – a veritable who’s who before our very eyes.
I’m sure I managed to ruin at least one of the paparazzi photos of Peter Robinson as I was advised it was okay to pass through the entrance, but the cameras barely stopped flashing away. As each author or actor passed by, they paused to pose at a set-crime scene, complete with body outline and team of Crime Scene Investigators.
The main Ballroom was beautifully set out in cabaret style round table arrangement, each with place setting and some goodies from main sponsor, Specsavers. The champagne was doing the rounds for an hour or so for a reception before everyone took their seats, giving a chance to meet some of the authors and stars in the room, but it wasn’t until the awards got going and shots of some of the tables started to appear on the big screen that it became apparent just how many big name stars there were.
After a bit of house-keeping, which basically welcomed us all, advised us that if we left our seats that a ‘seat-filler’ person would quickly step in, and explained that the 90 minute show would be filmed in one take without even the ad breaks that would appear in the final version, the show kicked off.
Amiable host Marcus Brigstocke stepped up once again this year to a role he has made his own over previous years. He’d advised us that he used to have perfect 20/20 vision but had laser surgery a few years back just to damage his eyes badly enough to be able to wear Specsavers glasses.
I won’t spoil all of the celebrity spots here – you can see the whole show for yourself on Tuesday 11th October on ITV3 at 9pm, but do look out for some great appearances from the cast of The Killing, a surprise visit from a key member of the cast of True Grit, a preview of a spoof detective show BURKE starring Marcus Brigstocke, and the best speech of the night from Luther star, Idris Elba.
And, if you don’t already know the winners, and still want to find out ahead of watching the show, here’s the list of who won what on the night.
TV Dagger: CASE HISTORIES
CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger: Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson
Film Dagger: TRUE GRIT
Best Supporting Actress: Ann Eleonora Jorgensen (The Killing)
Best Supporting Actor: Rafe Spall (The Shadow Line)
CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger: The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton
International TV: The Killing
Best Actor: Idris Elba (Luther)
Best Actress: Sofie Grabol (The Killing)
CWA Gold Dagger: Crooked Letter Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
ITV3 People’s Bestseller Dagger: Peter James
(Peter James and the other four shortlisted authors; David Baldacci, Mark Billingham, Lee Child & Peter Robinson were all also inducted into The International Hall of Fame sponsored by Specsavers. This places them alongside P.D.James, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Colin Dexter, Lynda La Plante, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Frederick Forsyth and George Pelecanos).
A fantastic evening and one that did nothing but further enforce my love for the genre, and to add to the list of authors, books and great television that is out there to be devoured.
And in a spooky coincidence, when I left the hotel, I was given a goodie bag from Specsavers – amongst the gifts there was a book – HUNTED by Emlyn Rees ☺