Less than a year after starting his own business an Addiscombe model maker and former Croydon College student has scooped a Bafta.

Mike Tucker makes miniature models and last Friday was part of a team which picked up the best visual effects award at British television's answer to the Oscars.

The award was given for a documentary about the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.

Although the 41-year-old has been nominated for Baftas and Royal Television Society awards in the past, this was his first win.

"It's fantastic," he said, "I've always wondered if people knew they had won before they go to this thing but it's very much a case of someone being on stage and opening a big gold envelope.

"We found out at the award ceremony at the Dorchester and, considering it's the first year of me starting up my own company, it's bound to do me good."

Long before his Bafta win Mike had to learn the tricks of the special effects trade at Croydon College.

He studied a higher national BTEC diploma theatre course at the college in 1984 and during his last year started a work placement with the BBC.

"I knew that I always wanted to get into special effects and that I wanted to work for the BBC so I got in touch with them when I was at college," he said.

After the two-term placement Mike finished his diploma in the summer of 1986 and on the following Monday he went from being a college student to a fully-fledged BBC special effects man.

"It was fantastic. Growing up as a kid I watched shows like Doctor Who and then suddenly that was pretty much what I was working on.

"I worked on Red Dwarf when it first started and we didn't know how big a thing that was going to be."

Although Mike was made redundant from the BBC last year when the corporation closed its in-house special effects department, he was having too much fun to give up.

He now runs his own special effects company, The Model Unit, which is based at Ealing Studios.

He has just finished working on the BBC documentary Krakatoa and his Doctor Who project is being shown now.

But Mike is not planning to let his success go to his head.

"I will be staying in Croydon," he said.