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Griersons throws a spotlight on lack of doc diversity

04 November 2014

Bake Off star Sue Perkins called on UK broadcasters to do more to support female documentary talent at last night’s Grierson British Documentary Awards.

The Griersons are regarded as the leading documentary awards in the UK, but female winners were noticeably absent from the podium at this year’s Griersons.

Not a single one of the 13 Grierson awards was won by a female director.

The documentary presenter of the year category was also dominated by men, with four male presenters nominated.

Grierson insiders said that only one female presenter – Stacey Dooley – was put forward by broadcasters for best presenter category.

“It is 2014 for goodness sake. Less than five per cent of the total entry was female presenters," said Perkins.

"This isn’t the fault of the Griersons, but of the broadcasters. It’s time that broadcasters put their money where their mouth is and nominated more female talent,” she added, to loud applause from the audience of documentary makers in the auditorium at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, which also included stars such as Stephen Fry, Rupert Everett, Bettany Hughes, Davina McCall and Jamie Theakston.

The issue has been swiftly picked up on Twitter too. “Is it true that not a single female went on stage to get a gong at the #griersonawards last night? Seriously?”, said MediaParents.

Meanwhile, Wall to Wall founder Alex Graham – who won the prestigious Trustees Awards at the Griersons – used his acceptance speech to call for more broadcaster funding for documentary.

He pointed out that the BBC spends less on a whole season of Storyville than it does on a single hour of prime-time period drama.

“You should spend more on documentary not because documentary needs you, but because you need documentary.  Otherwise, the genre – together with the young, smart, sassy audience that increasingly follows it around – will slip through your fingers.  They’ll be watching YouTube. The Guardian. Vice.  And you – rather than documentary – will be the losers.”

For full list of Grierson winners, click here

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