The dominant topics of the past year – the Covid pandemic and the fallout from the murder of George Floyd – are reflected in this year’s shortlist for the Grierson Awards.
Notable Covid-themed documentaries picking up nominations include:
Kevin MacDonald’s doc 2020: The Story of Us (Docsville Studios for ITV), which is up for best single documentary – domestic and BBC iPlayer's Pandemic 2020 - one of three nominations for Keo Films - in the best documentary series category. Meanwhile, the presenter category includes nods for David Harewood for Why is Covid Killing People of Colour? (Twenty Twenty for BBC1) and the van Tulleken twins for Surviving the Virus: My Brother and Me (Little Gem for BBC1).
Channel 4 series Grayson’s Art Club (Swan Films), devised, filmed and aired during the first lockdown, is up for two awards: best arts documentary and best constructed documentary series.
Meanwhile, the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement is reflected in a number of entries tackling racial themes such as best documentary short nominee Take Your Knee Off My Neck: My First Time (Milk and Honey Productions for Channel 4); Leigh-Anne Pinnock: Race, Pop and Power (Dragonfly for BBC3) in the best single documentary – domestic category; Damilola – The Boy Next Door (best history documentary, and best presenter for Yinka Bokinni) and best constructed factual contender The School That Tried to End Racism (Proper Content for C4).
Other notable nominees include Keo Films’ BBC2 series Once Upon a Time In Iraq (best history documentary and best documentary series) and BBC Studios’ Netflix series The Surgeon’s Cut.
The BBC has 47 of the 120 nominations (112 for shows and eight for presenters), with Netflix picking up 21. Channel 4 up for 10, followed by Sky (nine), ITV (eight) and Apple TV+ (six).
This year marks the debut of two categories: best music documentary and best sports documentary, while The Talent Manager is sponsoring the inaugural Grierson Hero of the Year Award for the person who has made the difference behind the scenes in factual this. Year. Make your nomination by 4 September here