University honours legendary TV producer and arts chief

Sir Peter Bazalgette

Published on 08 July 2016

THE man at the helm of Arts Council England and Chairman of ITV hasreceived an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Sunderland.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, who popularised Big Brother, created Deal or No Deal, Ready Steady Cook, Changing Rooms and Ground Force, and was once named “the most influential figure in British television” received his award at the Stadium of Light this week, during the University’s Summer Graduation ceremonies.

Sir Peter, who is a Fellow of Bafta and the Royal Television Society, commented: “I'm dead chuffed to get this award from a University that is such a great supporter of creative industries and partner of the Arts Council."

Sir Peter has raised funds for arts and media organisations, notably as Chair of the Crossness Engines Trust (a steam museum) and as Deputy Chair of the National Film and Television School, and is the former Chair of English National Opera.

Another recipient of the Doctorate of Arts this week is inventor Dominic Wilcox, a Sunderland Art & Design graduate, who receives his award today (Friday, July 8).

Dominic works between the worlds of art, design, craft and technology to create innovative and thought provoking objects, with commissions by a diverse range of organisations including Paul Smith, Selfridges, The V&A museum, BMW Mini and Jaffa Cakes.

In 2009 he started an award nominated blog called Variations on Normal to showcase his sketchbook inventions and observations and his recent projects include the design of a pair of shoes with inbuilt GPS to guide the wearer home and a stained glass driverless car of the future.

He said: "I'm proud to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Sunderland, where I found my inner creativity. I had such a great childhood - growing up in Sunderland influenced my creative life and is where I became the person I am today.

"I think creativity and humour are intrinsically linked and that people in Sunderland have a great sense of humour - humour can connect unconnected experiences and things in new and unexpected ways.

"I attended Art and Design Foundation at the University of Sunderland and a tutor - Charlie Holmes - opened a door in my mind that I didn't know was there. It's fascinating how these little interactions can change people's lives.

"Congratulations to all of you graduating today, my advice to you is to believe in yourself and in your ideas. Thank you all for bringing your fresh ideas - stay true to your own voice and in your own ideas and put something new in the world.

"Good luck everyone; the world is an exciting place and there are more opportunities than ever. Your time is now to go out and make your mark."

Almost 3,000 graduates are receiving awards from University Chancellor Steve Cram CBE, during a week of ceremonies at the Stadium of Light (July 4-8), close to 12,000 people are expected to attend the Graduation Ceremonies, including proud families and friends.