The winners of the 50th annual British Documentary Awards, also known as The Griersons, were unveiled in a ceremony hosted by Rosie Jones and AJ Odudu.
The winners were spread between six broadcasters, with the BBC taking five awards, Netflix winning three, ITV and Channel 4 scoring four each and Apple TV+ and Disney+ picking up one apiece.
The best entertaining documentary award was presented to ’Twas the Fight Before Christmas, from Dorothy St. Pictures and Apple TV+, and Becky Read, Nic Zimmerman, Julia Nottingham, Lisa Gomer Howes, Ellie Phillips and Jane Bevan.
jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy—act i: VISION, a Netflix documentary produced by TIME Studios in association with Creative Control and Leah Natasha Productions, was awarded best music documentary. The program also won the Netflix best documentary series award.
Best constructed documentary series went to We are Black and British, from Narinder Minhas, Becky Clarke, Rebecca Nunn, Lindsay Davies, Ryan Samuda and Jessica Mitchell and produced by Cardiff Productions and The Open University for BBC.
ITV’s Exposure—Afghanistan: No Country for Women, produced by Quicksilver Media, took home best current affairs documentary. The award was presented to Ramita Navai, Karim Shah, Mark Summers, Eamonn Matthews and Ali Watt.
Selina Thompson, Alison Ramsay, Kate Spankie, Damian Daniel, Lucy Pilkington and Denise Alder were awarded best arts documentary for Salt, by Selina Thompson, produced by Milk and Honey Productions for BBC.
The Red Bull Studios best sports documentary award was given to Citizen Ashe and Rex Miller, Sam Pollard, Beth Hubbard, Anna Godas, Steven Cantor and Jamie Schutz. The film was produced by Dogwoof, Rexpix Media and Stick Figure Productions for the BBC.
Jamie MacDonald and Jamie O’Leary for Blind Ambition took home the Disney+ best documentary presenter award. The BBC program was produced by Television Repairs.
Ten by Ten by Jamie L Bennett from the University of Manchester won the All3Media best student documentary award. The judges highly commended London College of Communication’s Laura Esteban for Daughters of the Sea, as well.
From Wild Blue Media, UFA Show & Factual and Fremantle Media for Channel 4, A Year in the Ice: The Arctic Drift was awarded The Open University best science documentary. Ashley Morris, Philipp Griess, Cameron Balbirnie, Gary Hunter, Angela Neillis and Nico Hofmann were awarded.
The BFI Doc Society Fund best cinema documentary award was presented to Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein and Joshua L Pearson. The doc was produced by Onyx Collective, Concordia Studio, Play/Action Pictures, LarryBilly Productions, Mass Distraction Media, RadicalMedia and Vulcan Productions.
The best history documentary title was given to ITV’s The Missing Children and Tanya Stephan, Rachel Cumella, Paddy Garrick, Ella Newton, Brian Woods and Anne Morrison. True Vision and Nevision produced the documentary. The judges also highly commended Sky Documentaries’ Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11.
The Green Planet: Tropical Worlds took home the Discovery best natural history or environmental documentary award. Producers were BBC Studios Natural History Unit with PBS, bilibili, ZDF, China Media Group CCTV9, France Télévisions and The Open University. Mike Gunton, Rupert Barrington, Paul Williams, James Taggart, Louis Rummer-Downing and Tim Shepherd were awarded. In addition, the judges highly commended Sky Nature’s My Garden of a Thousand Bees.
The Fulwell 73 best documentary short award was taken by Netflix’s Three Songs for Benazir and Gulistan Mirzaei, Elizabeth Mirzaei, Omar Mullick, Homayoun Noori, Jamil Rezaei and Stephen Maing. Freedom Swimmer, which had a festival release, was highly commended.
The Envy best single documentary domestic award was won by Grenfell: The Untold Story, produced by BBC Studios for Channel 4. The Molinare best single documentary international award was presented to Disney+’s The Reason I Jump and Jerry Rothwell, Stevie Lee, Jeremy Dear and Al Morrow. It was produced by MetFilm Production, The Ideas Room and Runaway Fridge.
Clare Richards, founder of industry support group We Are Doc Women, won The Talent Manager Grierson Hero of the Year award, while Roger Graef took home the BBC Grierson Trustees award.
Lorraine Heggessey, chair of The Grierson Trust, said: “It’s extraordinary to think that the Griersons are now in their 50th year of recognizing and rewarding the brilliance of documentaries and the talented people who bring them to our screens. There could be no better way of celebrating our golden anniversary than by showcasing the incredible storytelling and innovative craftmanship of this year’s winners.”