Radio feature exploring the term ‘half caste’ wins Saffron Walden student silver Charles Parker Prize

A COMPELLING radio feature exploring the term ‘half caste’ has earned a Saffron Walden student national recognition.

Rhianne Boland entered the 15-minute clip – called Hello, I’m Half Caste – for the prestigious Charles Parker Prize, which is an annual celebration of the best student production features and documentaries from around the country.

She won silver, scooping some top editing software worth �1,500 and two weeks work experience at an independent production company in the process.

“It has always been a passion of mine to work in radio and it is a real honour to be acknowledged in the prize. It is a big thing and great to think people high up in the industry have listened and liked my work,” she told the Reporter.

The clip is based around the famous John Agard poem, Half Caste, and includes in-depth interviews to gain different perspectives about the term. Agard, as well as linguist and author David Crystal and Sharon Hall, founder of Intermix, a group that represents mixed-race couples, are all featured in the piece.

“I am mixed race – my father is English-Irish, and my mother is Indian-Malaysian – and I was interested in the term half-caste and its connotations in society today, as well as what the origins of the word are, and how mixed race people feel about being called it,” said Rhianne, a third year student of radio production at the University of Westminster.

“I love telling the story and explaining something, and with the power of radio you can be very creative.”

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Rhianne’s effort impressed judges, including Simon Elmes, creative director of BBC Radio features and documentaries.

The judges’ citation reads: “We appreciated the technique of mature understanding, hooking in listeners by stealth, allowing them the space to think about what is being said. The cast list was ambitious, strong, and confident, very balanced, and used lots of wit, really classy.”

Hello, I’m Half Caste will be played out in full, along with an interview with Rhianne explaining the piece, on April 21 on BBC Radio 4 Extra, at 2pm.

To listen to it, visit