Harborough man wins Emmy for Game of Thrones sound

Triple Emmy Award winner Tim Hands of Market Harborough. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Triple Emmy Award winner Tim Hands of Market Harborough. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Anyone who ever marvelled at the brilliant TV juggernaut Game of Thrones will be familiar with the work of Market Harborough’s Tim Hands.

Tim (52) has just won his third Emmy Award - which recognises excellence in the TV industry - for his work with a team on the all-important sound of the fantasy-history-epic.

The award was specifically for a spectacular episode in GoT series five called ‘Hardhome’, in which an army of undead attack a northern stronghold as women and children try to flee by sea.

“Battle scenes are the hardest to do” said Tim, a sound editor who’s worked on all five series of the popular show so far.

“We can spend two-and-a-half days just doing all the yelling. By the end your ears are done, and your head’s done!”

Tim’s job is one that you shouldn’t notice. He’s the supervising adr (automated dialogue replacement) editor on Game of Thrones.

“Basically I’m a sound repair man, going through the series show by show and replacing sounds that don’t work, or don’t come across, or just aren’t there” he explains.

“In a battle scene, for example, there’s such a lot going on, that almost none of the sound is usable.

“I sit in a studio in London with the main actors and a small group of other actors making sure the dialogue is all audible and that everything else sounds realistic.

“I’m very rarely on set. I did go out once last year to introduce myself, but my presence is not a requirement.”

Married father-of-two Tim picked up his award at the glamorous Emmy award in downtown LA, in front of an audience of 4,000 people.

It’s his third Emmy - the other two were for an HBO series called The Life and Death of Peter Sellers in 2005, and Game of Thrones series two in 2012.

Tim says he “fell into” sound editing after working with a picture editor on schools TV programmes in the 1980s.

“Most projects have one picture editor but three to six sound editors, so it was a practical decision in some respects” he said.

He got into the world’s biggest TV franchise through a contact he had made in 2005, and a quick reply to an email.

“I loved it from the start - and I’ve read all the books” he said. “It’s such a big challenge every season.”

Other notable projects he’s worked on include the film of Les Miserables (“very pressured and complicated”), Chicken Run (“test audiences loved it from the start”) and Mama Mia (“as enjoyable to work on as it looks on the screen”).

And the future? “I’ve always wanted to work on a science fiction movie...”