The Grierson Trust has announced the final nominations for the 48th annual British Documentary Awards. The 2020 list includes 52 films across 14 categories with David Olusoga, Emily Maitlis, Mobeen Azhar and Stacey Dooley in the Best Documentary Presenter category.

Of the 52 nominated films, 21 were broadcast on BBC channels. For the second year running, Netflix outstrips Channel 4 with nine nominations to Channel 4’s five. ITV and Al Jazeera have two apiece whilst nominations newcomer YouTube Originals joins Channel 5, National Geographic and Discovery receiving one listing each. Festival, university and cinematic screenings make up the remaining 13.

This year, four films have the double honour of featuring in multiple categories. They are: War in the Blood features in the line-up for Best Single Domestic and Best Science categories; Crip Camp receives nominations as Best Single International and Best Historical Documentary; Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain is up for Best Historical and Best Series prizes and Hometown: A Killing makes the Best Series category with Mobeen Azhar receiving a Best Presenter nomination.

Announcing the nominations, Chair of The Grierson Trust, Lorraine Heggessey says: “This has been a difficult year for the production community and particularly for freelancers, so it’s more important than ever to recognise and celebrate the excellence of so many talented film makers, whether they are newcomers or established global names. These nominations demonstrate the relevance and versatility of documentaries, with their ability to highlight a wide range of contemporary issues and bring new stories to the screens on well-established channels as well as on newer platforms.”

Meeting virtually last week, the jury panels included industry specialists and experts from across factual filmmaking, including filmmakers Louis Theroux, Gurinder Chadha, Asif Kapadia; scientist Simon Singh; historian Bettany Hughes; visual artist Zak Ove; presenter Katie Piper; former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls; broadcaster Monty Halls; actor Thandie Newton; actor and comedian Russell Brand; and, journalists George Alagiah, Rachel Johnson, Nina Nannar, Amol Rajan, Sophie Raworth and Sian Williams, alongside commissioners, producers, editors and directors from across the documentary world.

The full list of nominations 2020 is:

ENVY Best Single Documentary – Domestic

The Family Secret

Anna Hall, Sally Ogden, Luke Rothery & Brian Woods for Candour Productions

Channel 4

Suicidal: In Our Own Words

Rachel Harvie, David DeHaney, Emmanuel Ayettey & Iain Pettifer for Proper Content

Channel 5

Tell Me Who I Am

Production team at Lightbox


War in the Blood

Arthur Cary, Morgan Matthews, Ben Brown & Saskia Rusher for Minnow Films



THE OPEN UNIVERSITY Best Single Documentary – International

Crip Camp

Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht, Sara Bolder, Howard Gertler, Priya Swaminathan & Tonia Davis for A Higher Ground & Rusted Spoke Production in association with Little Punk, JustFilms & Ford Foundation


The Day California Burned

Sarah Waldron, Fiona Stourton, Dan Edge, Ella Newton & Jane McMullen for Brook Lapping Productions & BBC Current Affairs London


The Great Hack

Production team at A Noujaim Films Production & an othrs Production


Untouchable: The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein

Ursula Macfarlane, Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn, Poppy Dixon & Andy R Worboys for Lightbox


REAL STORIES Best Current Affairs Documentary

Al Jazeera Investigations: Diplomats for Sale

Production team at Al Jazeera Media Network

Al Jazeera

Sex for Grades

Kiki Mordi, Kemi Alabi, Chiara Francavilla, Charlie Northcott, Andy Bell & Marc Perkins for BBC World Service

BBC Africa

Undercover with the Clerics

Paddy Wells, Mais Al-Bayaa, Nawal Al Maghafi, Monica Garnsey & Chris Mitchell for BBC News Arabic

BBC News Arabic

Undercover: Inside China’s Digital Gulag

Robin Barnwell, Gesbeen Mohammad, Guy Creasey, David Henshaw & Simon Russell for Hardcash Productions



STORM Best Arts or Music Documentary

The Black Godfather

Reginald Hudlin, Nicole Avant, Byron Phillips, Nelson George, Catrin Rodgers & Andrew Fried for Boardwalk Pictures & Hudlin Entertainment


Imagine… Edna O’Brien: Fearful and Fearless

Katy Homan, Tanya Hudson, Jude Suggett & Alan Yentob for BBC Studios


Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall

Alfred George Bailey, Adam Biskupski, Ian Arber, Tatiana Kennedy, Arno Hazebroek & Nicolas Sampson for Bailey Kennedy Production

General theatrical release

Terms and Conditions: A UK Drill Story

Brian Hill, Kandise Abiola, Katie Bailiff, Fraser T Smith & Stuart Briggs for Century Films

YouTube Originals


CHANNEL 5 Best Historical Documentary

Apollo 11

Todd Douglas Miller, Thomas Petersen, Evan Krauss & Stephen Slater for Statement Pictures

General theatrical release

Crip Camp

Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht, Sara Bolder, Howard Gertler, Priya Swaminathan & Tonia Davis for A Higher Ground & Rusted Spoke Production in association with Little Punk, JustFilms & Ford Foundation


A House Through Time – Episode 1

Eleanor Scoones, Katie Greening, Justin Badger, Mary Crisp & Maxine Watson for Twenty Twenty Productions


Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain – Episode 1

Robert Coldstream, Clare Cameron, Justin Badger, Jane Greaves & Edmund Coulthard for Blast! Films

Channel 4


SARGENT-DISC Best Science Documentary

The Big Picture – The World According to AI: The Bias in the Machine

Sanjiev Johal, Cori Crider, Nicholas Muirhead, Ryan Kohls, Sean Griffin & Denise Lister for Al Jazeera English

Al Jazeera

Einstein’s Quantum Riddle

Jamie Lochhead, David Dugan, Clementine Cheetham & Alastair Auld for Windfall Films

BBC Four

Mad Cow Disease: The Great British Beef Scandal

Will Lorimer, James Gold, Liesel Evans & Pamela McIntyre for RAW


War in the Blood

Arthur Cary, Morgan Matthews, Ben Brown, Saskia Rusher & Andrew Phillips for Minnow Films



DISCOVERY Best Natural History Documentary

The Last Igloo

Christian Collerton, Will Grayburn, Joe Evans, Neil Crombie, Adam Simons & Mick Duffield for Swan Films

BBC Four

Seven Worlds, One Planet: Antarctica

Jonny Keeling, Fredi Devas, Dave Pearce, Abigail Lees, Michael Becker & Scott Alexander for BBC Studios Natural History Unit


The Story of Plastic

Deia Schlosberg, Kyle Cadotte, Megan Ponder, Stiv Wilson, Tony Hale & Brian Wilson for The Story of Stuff Project in association with React to Film


Tigers: Hunting the Traffickers

Laura Warner, Jo Prichard, Guy Creasey, Monica Garnsey, Anna Murphy & Orlando Von Einsiedel for Grain Media



YOUTUBE ORIGINALS Best Entertaining Documentary

The Dog House – Episode 3         

Nick Mirsky, Anna Llewellyn, Morgana Pugh, Claire Parry, Katie Brimblecombe & Tom Bowman for Five Mile Films

Channel 4

Love is Blind – Episode 3

Production team at Kinetic Content


The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan: Zimbabwe

Romesh Ranganathan, Emily Hudd, Morgan Roberts, Chris Cottam & Andy Linton for Rumpus Media


Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness – Episode 2

Rebecca Chaiklin, Eric Goode, Chris Smith, Doug Abel, Dylan Hansen-Fliedner & Nicholas Biagetti for Goode Films Production in association with Library Films & Article 19 Films


NETFLIX Best Documentary Series

The Devil Next Door

Production team at One Man Show & Submarine Deluxe Production in association with Yes Studios


Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer

Mark Lewis, Felicity Morris, Dimitri Doganis, Adam Hawkins, Michael Harte & Bjorn Johnson for RAW


Hometown: A Killing

Jeremy Lee, Wes Thomas & Catey Sexton for Forest & 7 Wonder

BBC Three

Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain

Robert Coldstream, Clare Cameron, Justin Badger, Jane Greaves & Edmund Coulthard for Blast! Films

Channel 4


CHANNEL 4 Best Constructed Documentary Series

Long Lost Family

Sally Benton, Clare Bradbury, Susie Attwood, Rick Barker & Johnny Wagener for Wall to Wall Media


The Rap Game

Tom O’Brien, Simon Andreae, Tom Whitrow, Lianne Hickey & Susie Dark for Naked

BBC Three

The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes

Benjamin Leigh, Trish Powell, Murray Boland, Martin Oxley, Louise Bartmann & Neil Cornish/ Dan Gulley for CPL Productions & Motion Content Group

Channel 4

Who Are You Calling Fat?

Sara Ramsden, Charlotte Armstrong, Oliver Manley & Nicholas Packer for Love Productions



BFI DOC SOCIETY FUND Best Cinema Documentary

American Factory

Production team at Higher Ground Productions & Participant Media for Netflix

General theatrical release

For Sama

Waad al Kateab, Ed Watts, Nevine Mabro, Ben de Pear, Siobhan Sinnerton & George Waldrum for Channel 4 News & ITN Productions for Channel 4 & PBS Frontline

General theatrical release


Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov & Atanas Georgiev

General theatrical release

Midnight Family

Luke Lorentzen & Kellen Quinn

General theatrical release


THE RUMI FOUNDATION Best Documentary Short

Country Girl       

Ellen Evans, Pearl Doughty-White & Lisa Marie-Russo –

Open City Docs Film Festival

Lost & Found

Orlando von Einsiedel & Harri Grace for National Geographic Documentary Films Presents in association with The Nobel Prize, a Rideback & Grain Media Production

National Geographic

That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore

Hannah Currie & Beth Allan for Forest of Black & SDI – Bridging the Gap

Edinburgh International Film Festival

Witness: The Mortician of Manila

Leah Borromeo, Laura Shacham, Katharine Round, James Scott, Joshua Reyles & Jamie Perera for Disobedient Films & Al Jazeera Witness

Sheffield Doc/Fest


ALL3MEDIA Best Student Documentary


Sara Montoya Sepulveda, Mel Barnes, Rachel Roberts, Ethan Jeffrey, Breen Turner & Marco Valerio Caminiti for NFTS

University/College screening

Bringing Home the Blubber

Molly Adams for London College of Communication

University/College screening

Inside a Marriage

Ben Cheetham & Margred Pryce for NFTS

University/College screening

Miss Curvy

Ghada Eldemellawy & Gareth Pugh for NFTS

University/College screening



DAVID OLUSOGA for The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files

Uplands Television


EMILY MAITLIS for Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal: The Newsnight Interview

BBC Newsnight


MOBEEN AZHAR for Hometown: A Killing

Forest & 7 Wonder

BBC Three

STACEY DOOLEY for Stacey Dooley: On the Psych Ward

True Vision

BBC Three


Jon Creamer

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