A FORMER Prudhoe Community High School student is celebrating after his film picked up the Bafta for best documentary.

James Reed’s ‘My Octopus Teacher’ saw off stiff competition from the likes of Sir David Attenborough.

James co-directed the film with Pippa Ehrlich, but was sadly unable to share in the celebrations on the evening.

“I was actually in the jungle in Uganda filming for a series for Netflix when the Bafta was announced,” he said. “Amazingly, the scientist I am working with managed to hire me a dinner jacket from a local town for the night just in case they cut to me when it was announced but the internet was intermittent so my co-director Pippa accepted from where she is based in South Africa.

“We were all blown away. It was a genuine surprise but we are delighted!”

James left PCHS in 1997 after studying art, maths and chemistry A-levels. He later went on to study Zoology at Leeds University.

Staff, including some of his former teachers, and students at the Tyne Valley school were delighted and very proud to hear the news.

Current headteacher Annmarie Moore said: “Although James left us long before I joined, the whole school community is proud of this outstanding achievement.

“Students from Prudhoe continue to go on to amazing things all around the world, and we all have our fingers crossed and wish James well for the Oscars this weekend.”

James added: “I’m really excited about the Oscars. Just to be nominated is amazing and way beyond what we ever thought was possible. I’m also really nervous about it as it’s way bigger than anything I’ve ever been involved in.

“My Octopus Teacher was a niche, little film we thought. We knew it was a powerful story but had no idea it would resonate with so many people so the whole thing has been pretty unbelievable.”

James now heads to Los Angeles, where he will spend five days in quarantine ahead of the academy awards ceremony.

Whilst in isolation, James will host a directors' Q&A session with the school’s current media students.

My Octopus Teacher is available to watch on Netflix.

This year's Oscars ceremony is the 93rd and takes place on Sunday, April 25, honouring films released in 2020.

James once completed a short work experience at the Hexham Courant.