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Doctor Who cast and crew among Honorary Doctorate recipients

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Next month the showrunner of Doctor Who and the cast and crew involved in the opening episode of series 11, which was filmed and premiered in Sheffield, will receive an honorary doctorate alongside 11 other distinguished recipients and 7,500 students who will collect their degrees at the university’s graduation ceremonies at Sheffield City Hall.

Chris Chibnall was showrunner and executive producer on the series which saw the first female Doctor arrive on our screens in 2018. They will join the likes of Sir Michael Parkinson, Louis Theroux, Sean Bean, Nick Park and Sir Patrick Moore as honorary degree recipients from Sheffield Hallam University.

Chris said: “The cast and crew of Doctor Who Series 11 are thrilled to be honoured by Sheffield Hallam University this way. From the moment we made the decision for the Doctor to fall out of the sky into the streets and homes of Sheffield in 2018, the residents and the city have treated us brilliantly, on screen and off. Doctor Who is a massive team effort so it's particularly special that this citation is for the whole cast and crew.”

Another broadcasting heavyweight, Matthew Bannister, the Sheffield-born former controller of Radio 1, will also receive an honorary doctorate during next month’s graduation ceremonies.

He currently presents Radio 4’s obituary programme Last Word and his own podcast Folk on Foot. He has also presented programmes on the BBC World Service, Radio 5Live, Radio 2 and Local Radio.

Matthew said: “I am delighted to be awarded such a prestigious degree by Sheffield Hallam University. I am proud of my Sheffield roots and well aware of the University’s excellent reputation. I look forward to building a relationship with students and staff in the future.”

Olivier award-winning playwright and screenwriter who grew up in Sheffield, Laura Wade, is also among this year's recipients.

Her play Home, I’m Darling premiered at Theatre Clwyd and the National Theatre in 2018 before transferring to the West End where it received rave reviews and was named Best New Comedy at the 2019 Olivier Awards. She is currently developing a feature film with support from the BFI Film Fund.

Daniel Gordon is a BAFTA winning and Emmy nominated British documentary film director who has scored critical acclaim with work on Hillsborough, George Best, Victoria Pendleton and other sporting heroes including the North Korean football team. He founded VeryMuchSo Productions in Sheffield in 2001.

Kim Streets, Chief Executive of Museums Sheffield with responsibility for the museum’s service in Sheffield will also receive the honour.

But what are honorary doctorates?

It's not just big names that are awarded an honorary degree from Hallam. The award is given to people who have achieved distinction in the fields of learning, the arts, public life, community service and/or have made a distinctive contribution to Sheffield Hallam University, the city of Sheffield or the region. Nominations are invited annually from the University’s staff, students and governors and reviewed at a committee of representatives from the University.

But what exactly is an honorary doctorate? Technically, an honorary degree is awarded honoris causa, without the need for the usual examinations and dissertations, and may be awarded to those with no prior connection with the University.

Importantly, Sheffield Hallam University offers such awards symbolically. The recipients, while be-coming special members of the University's community, cannot use the degree in practice -: they are not an academic. However, it is a recognition of contribution to the University, its subject areas and the wider South Yorkshire community. Hallam is committed to recognising the people who make a difference to the world we live in and those who are positive role models for our students.

Other recipients this year include:

• Dr Ann Limb CBE DL - Educationalist, philanthropist and civil servant. She became the first woman Chair of the Scouting Association since the movement was founded.

• Ken Dunn - Founder of Africa's Gift, a South Yorkshire based charity which supports rural communities in southern Africa, working to effect positive change.

• Sir Paul Collier CBE FBA - Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford and is formerly senior advisor to Tony Blair's Commission on Africa and formerly Director of Development Research at the World Bank.

• Dr Robert Macfarlane - Naturalist and international bestselling writer on landscape, nature and place.

• Baroness Shriti Vadera - Chairman of Santander UK. She was minister for BIS and the Cabinet Office until 2009 and has been the Chair of Santander UK since 2015, the first woman to head a major British bank.

• Sheffield Forgemasters International - Group award to management and staff of Forgemasters, Sheffield's longest running steel making business.

• Dr Carrie Yau GBS JP - International Education Leader. Executive Director of the Hong Kong Vocational Training Council (VTC) since 2013 with responsibilities for promoting professional and vocational training across the administrative region.

The honorary doctorates will be awarded during student graduation ceremonies being held during November at the City Hall.

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