Sky TV comedy series featuring Nish Kumar and Josh Widdecombe at the Blackpool Gazette nominated for TV award

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A Sky TV series which features the Blackpool Gazette and stars comedians Nish Kumar and Josh Widdecombe has been shortlisted for a prestigious Rose' d'Or 2023 award.

Hold the Front Page chronicled the efforts of the two comedians to get a front page story at National World newspapers and websites across the country, with episode one starring staff and stories at Blackpool.

In the memorable first episode, Nish and Josh fail to get a story about then Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he visits the resort and, as a result, get sent home early by the editor Nicola Adam. In the episode they also interview a strongman who is setting a world record for lifting a beer keg with his eye sockets. try to get the views of locals on the seafront, and cover a sea survival course even though Josh can't swim.

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The Blackpool Gazette was one of six National World titles featured in the series, which included the Sussex Gazette, Farming Life, The Scotsman , Northamptonshire Telegraph and the Yorkshire Post. Rose d'Or nominees were announced on Monday, selected from more than 700 entries across 13 categories. The finalists were voted for by a jury of more than 100 broadcast executives, distributors and producers, from across the international television industry.

Hold the Front Page was shortlisted in the Comedy Entertainment category, along with A Whole Lifetime with Jamie Demetriou, German Genius, Gregg Wallace: The British Miracle Meat, Untold Studios/Channel 4/UK, Prince Andrew The Musical and Taskmaster Series 15.

Posting with a picture of him and Nish on Instagram on Tuesday, Josh said: "Just found out we have been nominated for a Rose D'or for series 1, we're coming for you German Genius!"

Nicola Adam, who is now Publishing Editor at National World, said the filming experience at Blackpool Gazette was certainly memorable and made for a fantastic showcase for the area and the varied and challenging nature of local journalism.

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She said: " The reality and joy of being a journalist is you don't know what will happen on any given day - and even the amazing producers at CPL Productions could not have scripted the then-Prime Minister making an appearance. It was a very enjoyable piece of television, to say the least, and we were delighted to share a little of what we do - albeit in a tongue in cheek way.

"The cinematography of the series was incredible, particularly those drone shots across the coast, and I really felt the producers brought across the warmth and depth of the people of Lancashire. I also think it shows how hard it to be a regional journalist - and the pressures that come with it."

Nish Kumar and Josh Widdicombe continue their quest to become local newspaper journalists in the Blackpool Gazette newsroom. Nish Kumar and Josh Widdicombe continue their quest to become local newspaper journalists in the Blackpool Gazette newsroom.
Nish Kumar and Josh Widdicombe continue their quest to become local newspaper journalists in the Blackpool Gazette newsroom. | CPL Productions/Sky Max

The prestigious Rose d’Or Awards define the gold standard for excellence and achievement in International TV and Audio programme making. Jean Philip De Tender, Deputy Director General/Director Media, EBU, said: “As always, the judges had the privilege of sifting through a wide range of high-quality entries, showcasing exceptional international talent from front-of-camera and behind-the-scenes. And once again they had the almost impossible task of selecting just six in each category from over 700 entries! My heartfelt congratulations go out to the successful nominees; all groundbreaking talents, all destined to make an impact on our industry.”

Mark Rowland, Chair of the Rose d’Or Awards, said: “We’ve seen an incredible breadth of topics and creative approaches from entrants across 30 countries. A huge thank you to everyone who entered and many congratulations to the talented production teams who have reached this final stage.” During the award ceremony on November 27 at King’s Place in London, special individual awards will also be presented for Emerging Talent, Performance of the Year and Lifetime Achievement.

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