documentaries

Channel 4 wins big at the Grierson Awards

Grayson Perry at the Grierson Awards

Channel 4 swept the boards at last night’s Grierson Awards, which celebrate documentaries that have made a significant contribution to the form.

RTS award-winner Grayson Perry was crowned Documentary Presenter of the Year for his Channel 4 series Who Are You? with Grierson Trust chairman Lorraine Heggessey calling Perry a national treasure who “is an interviewer who gets under the skin of his subjects and an artist who captures their essence.”

Aspiring documentary makers hear how to make it in the industry

“News is a really good source of ideas, not just replicating the reporting but trying to think tangentially – think outside the box with it,” said Kat Hayes, an Emmy award-winning executive producer at Al Jazeera’s US digital media channel, AJ+, whose weekly documentary series reports on marginalised communities and social affairs.

Geoffrey Smith: A life spent telling stories

His Emmys were for Presumed Guilty, an exposé of Mexico’s judicial system, and The English Surgeon, which follows a neurosurgeon working in Ukraine’s Soviet-era hospitals.

His first film took him to Haiti to help make a documentary about the country's first free election in 30 years. “On the morning of that historic election, we discovered 23 people had been massacred in a school voting station,” recalled Smith.

Sir David Attenborough, Hans Zimmer and Dave join forces for Planet Earth: A Celebration

Credit: BBC

Planet Earth: A Celebration takes eight of the most jaw-dropping moments from Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II, combining Attenborough’s melodic narration, with music from world-famous composer Hans Zimmer and rapper Dave.

The documentary takes viewers around the world, from the North of Norway, to the East Cape of South Africa, to the Indian Ocean, revealing how animals are adapting to their changing environments.

Channel 4 announces new Gen Z inspired content

Flawless (Credit: Channel 4/Barcroft Studios)

Produced by Barcroft Studios, the series of short films will explore a range of topics that surround young people in 2019 Britain.

 

Fix Up

A new style of debate show, Fix Up takes place inside the best-loved beauty salons and barbers in the UK.

The series tackles current issues and topics that impact Britain, including knife crime, abortion, cosmetic surgery, relationships and sex.

 

Werner Herzog: TV sentimentality is rampant, I can't stand it

Werner Herzog (Credit: Alberto Rodriguez/WireImage)

For a straight-talking man, it’s hard to define Werner Herzog. “Legend” is perhaps the easiest way to describe the 76-year-old, at least based on the reverential whispers that run around Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre ahead of his appearance at the city’s annual DocFest. Best known as the writer, director and producer of more than 60 films, Bavarian-born Herzog is also an author, actor and opera director.

Jimmy Doherty generates buzz to save bees

Jimmy Doherty (Credit: Channel 4)

Can Jimmy Save the Bees? (w/t) sees Doherty explore the declining bee population in the UK and try to understand how the alarming trend can impact entire ecosystems that rely on natural pollination.

The former entomologist will attempt to revive the bee population to reduce the threat towards the viability of agriculture.

Based in Peterborough, Doherty will look at what can be done to solve the problem with local farmers, businesses, government officials and viewers.

Channel 5 expands pre-school content

Peppa Pig (Credit: Channel 5/Milkshake!)

Among the new commissions includes Milkshake! Monkey’s Amazing Adventures, which follows iconic character Milkshake! Monkey as he visits various locations across the UK to learn about the geography and history of the country.

The channel has also announced six potential projects in development for Milkshake! and for the Young Audiences Contestable fund.

Milkshake! also announced a strong commitment to develop content from the UK and has confirmed more investment to boost UK commissions on the channel to 300 programmes by 2021.