People/Biz

Former Sheffield Doc/Fest chair passes away

British broadcaster and media consultant Steve Hewlett has passed away at the age of 58 following a well-documented battle with cancer. Hewlett (pictured) died Monday morning (Feb. 20) surrounded by family ...
February 21, 2017

British broadcaster and media consultant Steve Hewlett has passed away at the age of 58 following a well-documented battle with cancer.

Hewlett (pictured) died Monday morning (Feb. 20) surrounded by family while listening to Bob Dylan at the Royal Marsden in London, according to British pubcaster BBC.

He began his career in television in 1981 as a researcher at the BBC, working across such touted programs as Nationwide, Watchdog, Inside Story and Panorama.

Hewlett also spent time with pubcaster Channel 4 in the early 1990s, working on current affairs programs The Friday Alternative and Diverse Reports, and at Carlton Television before rejoining the BBC via BBC Radio 4 to create and host current affairs radio program The Media Show in 2008.

In 2004, Hewlett became chair of UK documentary festival Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Under his purview, Hewlett grew the Sheffield-based event from a festival attended by 500 UK-based delegates to an event that now welcomes more than 32,700 international attendees each year, including over 3,500 industry delegates from over 60 countries.

During his time with Sheffield Doc/Fest, Hewlett, alongside former festival director and CEO Heather Croall, helped pioneer the digital media-focused CrossoverLabs as well as the MeetMarket, which generates funding for new projects. He stepped down as the festival’s chair in 2011, but continued to sit on its board of governors.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced this morning that Hewlett had been recently honored with a Special Award for his outstanding contribution to British broadcasting.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that Steve Hewlett has passed away. BAFTA’s Board of Trustees had recently honored Steve with a Special Award for his outstanding contribution to British broadcasting, and he was delighted to have been awarded it,” a spokesperson for BAFTA said in a statement. “Regretfully, he had yet to formally receive it and it will now be given to his family.”

BAFTA does not award Special Awards posthumously. The award had been received by Hewlett prior to his passing, but had not been announced.

Previous recipients of the Special Award include Peter Taylor (outstanding contribution to factual and current affairs television) and Delia Smith (outstanding contribution to television cookery and services to broadcasting).

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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