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Northern Ireland trio scoop awards to make GoT most decorated drama in history of Emmys

By Steven Alexander

Published 12/09/2016

Creative Emmy Award winner Pamela Smyth
Creative Emmy Award winner Pamela Smyth
Creative Emmy Award winner Ronan Hill
Creative Emmy Award winner Carla Stronge

A woman who oversaw the wounds and warpaint of 14,000 extras on Game of Thrones is one of three talented people from Northern Ireland who helped the HBO fantasy drama clean up at the Creative Emmy Awards.

Chief make-up artist Pamela Smyth, sound man Ronan Hill and casting director Carla Stronge took home the prestigious awards at a star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles.

It means the HBO sex and swords epic has now won more Emmy awards than any other drama in television history.

The Creative Emmys recognise the work done behind the scenes by individuals who often don't get the credit they deserve.

Crawfordsburn make-up artist Pamela was responsible for outstanding work on an epic battle scene regarded as one of the show's finest moments.

And Ballycastle man Ronan has won his third Emmy for his outstanding sound mixing on the same episode.

"Game of Thrones has put us on the map, not only showcasing the natural beauty of our surrounding landscape but setting out the stall for Northern Ireland as a centre for excellence in film and television drama production," he said.

In a Belfast Telegraph interview in January, Pamela revealed how she became a make-up artist after she left school.

"Initially I worked as a hair model but would end up doing all the other girls' make-up at shows. I really enjoyed it and kept getting asked back to do more shows so I decided to do a beauty course.

"As my career took off, I did further training at Pinewood Studios where I learned about special effects and film make-up. Soon I was getting asked to work on films and television programmes - that proved a fantastic opportunity."

Next weekend, Northern Ireland-born director James McGrath (47) will be vying for an Emmy at the main awards.

McGrath, from Saul near Downpatrick, produced US broadcaster CBS's 48 Hours: Paris Under Attack, a one-hour special the day after the tragedy in which 130 people were killed by extremists.

Normally a weekend director, the Ulster University graduate took charge of the week night programme because the usual director was in Cleveland preparing for a special presidential debate.

Mr McGrath said it was often the story which propelled shows like his into the limelight. He added: "If we were to win that would be the cherry on the top."

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