Entertainment & Arts

Grierson Awards: Women directors break documentary shortlist record

A still from The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds Image copyright Channel 4
Image caption The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 Year Olds has two nominations for series director Nicola Brown

A record number of female directors have been shortlisted for this year's British Documentary Awards.

A total of 53 women are on the Grierson shortlist, dominating in the best documentary series and best constructed documentary series categories.

There were 36 women in the running for the awards at this stage last year.

The trust's chair Lorraine Heggessey said she was "delighted" at the increase in women, "following under-representation in previous years".

Image caption Two David Attenborough documentaries are nominated for awards

Female nominees include Pamela Gordon, series director of Dementiaville, who is shortlisted in the best documentary category.

Nicola Brown is another one of the women directors nominated, for her work on Channel 4's Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 year olds. The series director is up for best entertaining documentary category, while the series is up for best constructed documentary series.

Other nominees in this category include Gogglebox, First Dates and The Real Marigold Hotel.

Sir David Attenborough has been shortlisted for the best presenter award, for Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur.

The documentary, directed by Charlotte Scott, is nominated in the natural history category, along with Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough, directed by Mike Davis and produced by Anthony Geffen.

Long Lost Family is up for best presenter for Davina McCall and best constructed documentary series, while Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners: Profit and Loss is up for best presenter for David Olesoga and best historical documentary.

Asif Kapadia's Academy Award-winning documentary Amy is on the shortlists for both best arts and best cinema documentary.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Davina McCall is nominated in the best presenter category at the British Documentary Awards

The BBC has 41 entries on the shortlist, with 26 for Channel 4 and seven for ITV.

The awards organisers said this year had the "widest spread of broadcasters and channels ever represented", with theguardian.com nominated for the first time.

Ms Heggessey said: "It's very heartening to see that digital platforms like Netflix, Vice and theguardian.com are funding high quality documentaries that bring fresh perspectives to our screens."

The migrant crisis, war in Syria and international terrorism are some of the key themes represented in the contemporary theme and current affairs categories for the awards.

The Grierson Awards commemorate the pioneering Scottish documentary film-maker John Grierson, famous for Drifters and Night Mail, and the man widely regarded as the father of the documentary.

The final nominations will be announced on 20 September before the awards ceremony on 7 November. The winner of the BBC Grierson Trustees' Award will be named in autumn.

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