Between 1972 and 1999 just one award was presented for the best documentary of each year. In 1998 Michael Apted was presented with the first Lifetime Ahievement Award.


The veteran documentary maker Paul Rotha

The veteran documentary maker Paul Rotha (1907-1984) presents the Grierson Award to John Edwards for The Wind in the Wires
(National Film Theatre, 1972; photo by Brin Hughes)

  • 1999

    Gulag: Enemy of the People
    Angus Macqueen/BBC2
  • 1998

    Inside Story – Tongue Tied
    Olivia Lichtenstein/BBC1
    Trustees’ Award:
    Michael Apted
  • 1997

    The System – The Nature of the Beast
    Peter Dale/BBC2
  • 1996

    Man and Animal
    Antony Thomas/Carlton
  • 1995

    Tripping with Zhirinovsky
    Pawel Pawikoswski/BBC
  • 1994

    Beyond the Clouds
    Philip Agland/Channel Four
  • 1993

    Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer
    Nick Broomfield/Lafayette Films
  • 1992

    Children of Chernobyl
    Clive Gordon/Yorkshire Television
  • 1991

    John Whiston/BBC
  • 1990

    Four Hours in Mai Lai
    Kevin Sim/Yorkshire Television
  • 1989

    Concerning Cancer
    John Morgan/Channel Four
  • 1988

    Fourteen Days in May
    Paul Hamann/BBC
  • 1987

    Handsworth Songs
    John Akomfrah/Black Audio Collective
  • 1986

    From the Cradle to the Grave
    John Willis/Yorkshire Television
  • 1985

    Miners Campaign Tapes
    Platform Films/National Union of Mineworkers
  • 1984

    Framed Youth
    Lesbian and Gay Youth Video Project/GLAA
  • 1983

    Give Us This Day
    Phil Mulloy/Arts Council of Gt Britain
  • 1981/1982

    Rough Cut and Ready Dubbed
    Hasan Shah/BFI & GLAA
  • 1980

    Jerzy Kaszubowski/National Film School - joint winner
    The Tom Machine
    Paul Bamborough/National Film School - joint winner
  • 1979

    Fred Dibnah – Steeplejack
    Don Haworth/BBC Television
  • 1978

    Begging the Ring
    Colin Gregg/Dartington Arts Society
  • 1977

    Tom Phillips
    David Rowan/Arts Council of Gt Britain
  • 1976

    Devices and Desires
    Giles Foster/Ken McMullen Productions
  • 1975

    Drive Carefully Darling
    John Krish/Department of Environment
  • 1974

    Butterfly Ball
    Lee Mishkin/Halas & Batchelor
  • 1973

    Like Other People
    Paul Morrison/Spastics Society & Mental Health
  • 1972

    The Wind in the Wires
    John Edwards/Buff Films
    A Future for the Past
    Peter Bradford/World Wide Pictures/The Civic Trust - as winner of the Film Society Short Film Award renamed the Grierson Award.