2016 judges

Jane Merkin
Executive Producer, The Not So Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive: (10 Years On)

Over the past 15 years Jane Merkin has worked as an Executive and Series Producer on a range of documentary and current affairs programmes. Subjects tackled include homelessness (‘On The Streets’, BBC4 2010 and ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’. ITV 2011), migration (‘Panorama Special: Breaking into Britain’, BBC1 2011) and mental health (‘Don't Call Me Crazy’, BBC3 2013 and ‘My Baby, Psychosis and Me’, BBC1 2016), as well as films presented by Nina Conti, Nigel Slater and Jamie Winstone. Most recently she series produced the double Prix Italia award winning series ‘Exodus: Our Journey to Europe’, BBC2 2016.

Toby Castle
BBC Deputy News Editor

Toby is Deputy News Editor at the BBC and former Head of Home News at ITV News. He has worked in network news since 1999 producing across home and foreign stories. Most recently he’s been responsible for managing coverage across BBC News for the recent Panama Papers revelations. Under his leadership ITV News won a BAFTA in 2011 for its coverage of the Cumbria shootings and won the RTS News Coverage Home Award for coverage of the Jimmy Savile story. Toby has been a Mind Media Award judge since 2013. 

Andy McNicoll
Community Care Journalist

Andy is a journalist for social care publication Community Care. He was named journalist of the year at the 2014 Mind Media Awards alongside Michael Buchanan, the BBC’s Social Affairs Correspondent, for a series of investigations the pair launched into the state of mental health care in England. The collaborations exposed the human impact of funding cuts to services for acutely ill adults and children and were longlisted for the Orwell Prize for social affairs reporting. As well as writing about mental health, Andy has also used services. This is his second year as a Mind Media Awards judge.

Claudia Hammond
Radio 4 Presenter (All in the Mind)

Claudia is an award-winning broadcaster, writer and psychology lecturer. She is the presenter of Britain’s longest running mental health programme ‘All in the Mind’ on BBC Radio 4 (which has twice won Mind Media Awards in recent years) and presents ‘Health Check’ on BBC World Service Radio.
Claudia is also on the part-time faculty at Boston University's London base where she lectures in health and social psychology. She is the author of three psychology books, her most recent ‘Mind over Money: the psychology of money and how to use it better’ was published in May.


Dr Dawn Harper
Channel 4, Embarrassing Bodies

Dawn works as an NHS doctor at a surgery in Stroud. She has been working as a media doctor for over 10 years and is best known as one of the presenters on Channel 4’s hit series ‘Embarrassing Bodies’. Dawn is the resident GP on the health show on LBC Radio and recently filmed with the BBC for an episode of BBC1’s ‘Inside Out’ discussing challenges facing the medical profession. A series of five ‘Dr Dawn’s Guide to ...’ books including heart health and weight and diabetes were published earlier this year, with five more being published in late 2016 and early 2017.

Victoria Macdonald
Channel 4 News, Health & Social Care Correspondent

Victoria is Health and Social Care Correspondent at Channel 4 News. Originally from New Zealand she worked for the Sunday Telegraph before joining Channel 4. Victoria is an award-winning journalist, who has been covering health and social care issues for Channel 4 News since 1999. She closely follows the changes and developments in the NHS and the care system from the scandal at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust to the wholesale reforms of the health service. Victoria also reports on medical developments, mental health issues, covers stories on how welfare reforms are affecting those with physical disabilities and closely watches developments in HIV and AIDS and TB.

Fiona Philips
TV Presenter

Journalist and broadcaster Fiona Phillips is best known for her 12 years on the sofa as popular lead presenter for GMTV. Throughout her career Fiona’s genuine warmth, intellect and sense of humour has won her the affection of a national audience. Most recently Fiona fronted BBC1’s Panorama ‘Rip-Off Pensions’ programme, as well as BBC1’s ‘The Truth About... Sugar’ and 'The Truth about... Healthy Eating’. She is due to start filming ‘The Truth about… Stress’ this autumn. She regularly presents ITV’s ‘Lorraine’ show, is a regular reporter for BBC 1’s ‘Watchdog’ and has appeared as a panellist on BBC1’s ‘Question Time’ and ‘This Week’, as well as BBC2’s ‘The Daily Politics’ and ITV1’s ‘The Agenda’. Fiona has regularly written about mental health in her Saturday Daily Mirror column.

Denise O’Donoghue OBE
Executive Director, ITV Studios

OBE, FRTS, is the Executive Director of ITV Studios, the largest production company in the UK, making 3,500 hours of television a year, across drama, entertainment, factual and daytime programming. Denise is also a board member of Big Talk Productions and special adviser to 12 Yard Productions. Denise was the cofounder and MD of Hat Trick Productions, a pioneer of independent production in the UK, both creatively and commercially. Denise is the recipient of many awards including a personal BAFTA for Outstanding Creative Contribution to Television. Denise is also is a founding Trustee of Creative Access.

Dr Max Pemberton
Medical doctor & journalist

Max is a doctor, journalist and writer. He works full time in the NHS in mental health. He is a columnist for the Daily Mail and Reader’s Digest. He is also on the editorial board of the Spectator magazine and editor of the quarterly supplement, Spectator Health. He has won several awards for his writing, including the Mind Journalist of the Year and the Royal College of Psychiatrists Public Educator of the Year award. He has also written four books, including ‘Trust Me, I’m a (Junior) Doctor’, which was serialised on Radio 4 Book of the Week. His latest is a self-help book, using CBT to stop smoking.

Tom Bidwell
Writer, E4 'My Mad Fat Diary'

Tom is from Leyland in Lancashire and studied English Literature with Drama at the University of East Anglia. He is a graduate of the BBC Writers’ Academy and has written for shows such as ‘EastEnders’, ‘Casualty’ and ‘Holby City’. In 2011, his short film ‘Wish 143’ was nominated for an Academy Award. He is the creator of the BAFTA nominated ‘My Mad Fat Diary’ which won a Mind Media Award for best drama series in 2014. He is currently working on a new animated retelling of ‘Watership Down’ for Netflix and the BBC.

Mayer Nissim
News Editor at Digital Spy

Mayer has been News Editor at Digital Spy since April 2012, having first joined the company as an Entertainment Reporter in January 2009. He previously worked at media and research companies Adfero and Datamonitor. Mayer graduated from the University of Manchester in 2005 and University of Salford in 2008. Mayer is passionate about promoting a positive attitude towards mental health issues in entertainment journalism and the work that Mind does. He ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon for us last year.

Jonny Benjamin
Mental health campaigner, author & vlogger

Jonny is an award-winning mental health campaigner, film producer, public speaker, writer and vlogger. At the age of 20 he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and later began making films on YouTube about the condition that have been watched by hundreds of thousands of people. Jonny won the Making a difference award at last year's Mind Media Awards along with Neil Laybourn, the stranger who talked Jonny out of taking his own life. Their story became the subject of the award winning Channel 4 documentary ‘The Stranger on the Bridge’.

Matt Wilkinson
Radio Presenter, Heart FM

Matt is a radio presenter and hosts the most-listened-to show on commercial radio in the UK, ‘Afternoons’ on Heart Radio. Matt is the creator and presenter of Mindcast – a series of podcasts for Mind exploring different mental health conditions. ‘Mindcast: Bipolar’ was previously nominated for a prestigious Sony Radio Academy Award for Best Internet Programme. Matt has a degree in Psychology. This is his seventh year involved in the Mind Awards, having served as a judge previously.

Stuart Blackburn
Executive Producer, Coronation Street

Stuart began his career in Community Arts working around the UK with ex-prisoners, drug users and vulnerable young people. As a theatre writer/director he worked with the likes of Northern Stage, SNAP Theatre, Faulty Optic and Opera North. His first TV work was a storyliner for ‘Emmerdale’ he then went on to write for shows including; ‘Doctors’, ‘Casualty’, ‘Crossroads’, ‘The Bill’ and ‘Ballykissangel’. Stuart produced both ‘Emmerdale’ and ‘Coronation Street’ during which time he made two hour-long Live Specials. He has produced more episodes of ‘Coronation Street’ than any other producer and managed to win two coveted BAFTAs. He was recently awarded a Doctorate of Arts from Leeds University and is currently on the ‘Emmerdale’ writing team.

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