BBC leads broadcasters at the Griersons with six wins

The BBC Two series Once Upon a Time in Iraq (pictured) led the way with a pair of wins at the 49th annual British Documentary Awards, or The Griersons, on Wednesday ...
November 11, 2021

The BBC Two series Once Upon a Time in Iraq (pictured) led the way with a pair of wins at the 49th annual British Documentary Awards, or The Griersons, on Wednesday (Nov. 10).

The Keo Films series won best documentary series and best history documentary at the Griersons. The judges praised it as a “devastatingly powerful series” that provided insights into geopolitical and personal stories.

The BBC led the way for broadcasters, taking home six awards. Next up were Netflix with five awards, Channel 4 with two awards and Sky with one.

The best single domestic documentary went to David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet from Silverback Films and WWF Production for Netflix. The best single international documentary was awarded to Collective: Unravelling a Scandal, an Alexander Nanau production for BBC Four.

Other major winners included Yinka Bokinni winning best presenter for Damilola: The Boy Next Door, as well as a pair of special award wins in Sundance Film Festival Director Tabitha Jackson being named BBC Grierson Trustee’s Award winner, and production manager Serena Kennedy winning the inaugural Talent Manager Grierson Hero of the Year Award.

The nod for best current affairs documentary went to Welcome to Chechnya: The Gay Purge, a Public Square Films production for BBC Four. Academy Award winner My Octopus Teacher was named best natural history or environmental documentary while Proper Content’s The School That Tried to End Racism for Channel 4 won best constructed documentary series. And A Love Song for Latasha, a Netflix original, won the best documentary short award.

“Our winners reflect the dynamic and sometimes tumultuous 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,” said Lorraine Heggessey, chair of The Grierson Trust, in a statement.

The ceremony also recognized the work and achievements of the Grierson DocLab training schemes including two specialist programs that started in 2021 for editors and production managers.

The ceremony was broadcast live and is still available to watch on YouTube.

The full list of winners can be found on the Griersons’ website.

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 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.