Revealing the winners of the 49th British Documentary Awards

Revealing the winners of the 49th British Documentary Awards
See the full list of winners.

The evening of Wednesday, 10 November, the 49th annual British Documentary Awards crowned 17 winners in a star-studded ceremony hosted by Patrick Kielty.

Keo Films’ BBC Two series, Once Upon A Time In Iraq took a double crown, Yinka Bokinni won Best Presenter for her heart-breaking Damilola: The Boy Next Door, and there were two special awards: Sundance Film Festival Director Tabitha Jackson was named BBC Grierson Trustees’ Award winner and production manager, Serena Kennedy took the inaugural The Talent Manager Grierson Hero of the Year Award. The 2021 Griersons were presented in conjunction with headline sponsors All3Media and digital broadcast partners, Little Dot Studios.

Four broadcasters led the winners with the BBC taking 6 awards, Netflix with 5, Channel 4 taking 2 and Sky with 1. The Best Student Documentary award went to a the National Film and Television School post-graduate. 

Lorraine Heggessey, Chair of The Grierson Trust said: “It’s been another extraordinary year in documentary filmmaking and our winners reflect the dynamic and sometimes tumultutous times we live in – whether wowing us with films reflecting the cutting edge of medical science, spotlighting repression and political corruption, or delving into the defining issues of our time. It is thrilling to see an industry that is thriving and continuing to make bold, powerful films told through dedication, compassion and expertise.” 

Stars and personalities from across TV and public life took part including: wildlife filmmaker Dan O’Neill; psychotherapist Philippa Perry; presenters Alison Hammond, Yinka Bokinni, Trevor Phillips, Prue Leith, Alexander Armstrong, Ade Adepitan and Mobeen Azhar; journalist Ellie Flynn; art historian Katy Hessel; documentary maker Louis Theroux; Paralympian swimmer Ellie Robinson; gymnasts Lisa Mason and Catherine Lyons; and actor Filippo Scotti.

The ceremony also took time to recognise the work and achievements of the Grierson DocLab training schemes including two new specialist programmes that commenced in 2021 for editors and production managers. With an illustrious track record of enabling trainees to become ‘job ready’, the success of Grierson DocLab is embodied by four alumni working on nominiuated films featured during the evening, including Poppy Goodheart (2013 alumna) who produced the Best Science winner, Locked In: Breaking the Silence.

See the full list of winners, along with the judges' comments.

You can catch up wth the ceremony in full (with BSL interpreters and catpioned films available) on The Grierson Trust’s YouTube channel and download the 2021 Grierson Awards programme.

With thanks to our sponsors and supporters...Grierson Awards 2021 Sponsors

Published: 10 November 2021

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