BAFTA has announced Alison Barnett as the recipient of this year’s BAFTA Television Craft Special Award.

Recognised for her pioneering role as one of the very first female Head of Productions in the UK television industry, Alison Barnett is the first Head of Production to receive the award.

With a prolific career spanning forty years in the UK television industry, Alison Barnett is currently Head of Production at Kudos. Her television output spans more than 400 hours, and she has been a vital part of more than 80 BAFTA-nominated shows as well as 14 winning productions.

Her own passion for the art-form emerged through an enviable roster of shows:  Doctor Who (1979), Blake’s Seven (1980), Grange Hill (1980-1981), All Creatures Great and Small (1983), Lipstick on Your Collar (1993), The Lakes (1999), Spooks (2003-2011), Bleak House (2005), Life on Mars (2006-2007) and Hustle (2005-2011) More recent Kudos hits have included Utopia (2013-2014), Grantchester (2014-2017), Broadchurch (2013-2017), SAS Rogue Heroes (2022) and The Rig (2023).

Barnett’s career began in theatre and opera, having originally trained as a Stage Manager. In 1979 she joined the BBC’s television drama department as a floor assistant. In 1985, she went freelance – working as a line producer on shows such as Glasgow Kiss (1999 – 2000), Spooks (2002-2003) and Bleak House (2004). In September of 2005, she took up her current position at Kudos. Alongside, Barnett sits on Screenskill’s High-End TV Skills Council developing training programmes and partnerships, including 20 plus traineeships at Screenskills in departments varying from costume, sound, writing, editing, locations, producers, directors.

Alison Barnett, Head of Production at Kudos said: “I’m overwhelmed to receive this award from BAFTA. But mainly I’m delighted to receive it on behalf of all those unsung heroes who work in production offices throughout the television industry. This is a chance for them to be recognised today too.”

Jane Millichip, CEO at BAFTA said: “Alison Barnett is an exceptional Head of Production and a pioneer. Her portfolio is staggering in its volume, quality, and popular appeal. She is also an inspiring role model through her work in training and development. It is an absolute pleasure to announce this special award. We look forward to celebrating Alison and her ongoing, and impressive, influence on the UK television industry at the BAFTA Television Craft Awards ceremony later this month.”

Previous recipients of this award include gateway organisation for deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent people in the arts, TripleC; joint founding directors of The Farm Group, Nicky Sargent & Vikki Dunn; script supervisor Emma Thomas; the production team behind Game of Thrones; prop-master Bobby Warans; and casting director Nina Gold.

This year’s BAFTA Television Craft Awards will return to The Brewery on Sunday 23 April and welcomes back actor, comedian, and TV presenter Mel Giedroyc as the ceremony host.

Mel Giedroyc said, “The BAFTA Craft Awards are one of my favourite highlights of the TV year. I’m thrilled to return as host, as the world of television comes together to recognise the amazing talent and work that goes on behind-the-scenes and off screen. Highlighting how important every role and every person is in the process of creating impactful and popular TV that the nation loves is important!”

Jon Creamer

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