Andrew Marr presented the 2009 British Documentary Awards at the BFI Southbank, London on Tuesday, 3 November at which Norma Percy was presented with The Trustees’ Award.

Jury chairmen, reviewers and judges

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Winners

  • Shell International Best Documentary on a Contemporary Issue

    Afghan Star

    Afghan Star
    Director:
    Havana Marking
    Executive Producers:
    Martin Herring, Mike Lerner, Jahid Mohseni
    Production Cº:
    Roast Beef Productions
    More 4

    Afghan Star was watched by a third of the population of Afghanistan. Over 11 million people, in voting for their favourites, experienced a taste of democracy.Afghan Star is a small but significant unifying force for the country's diverse ethnic groups; as the programme's presenter Daod Sediqi says, 'the aim is to take the people’s hand from weapons to music'.

  • Best Documentary on the Arts

    The Mona Lisa Curse

    The Mona Lisa Curse
    Director:
    Mandy Chang
    Executive Producer:
    Nicholas Kent
    Production Cº:
    Oxford Film and Television
    Channel 4

    The Mona Lisa Curse is a timely polemic by internationally renowned art critic Robert Hughes which examines how the world's most famous painting came to influence the art world. With his trademark style, Hughes explores how museums, the production of art and the way we experience it, have radically changed in the last 50 years.

  • History Today Award for the Best Historical Documentary

    Thriller in Manila

    Thriller in Manila
    Director:
    John Dower
    Executive Producer:
    John Smithson
    Writer:
    John Dower
    Production Cº:
    Darlow Smithson Productions
    More 4

    Joe Frazier takes British filmmaker, John Dower, back to the most hyped boxing match in history. Frazier, now 63, takes British filmmaker, John Dower, back 33 years to the most hyped boxing match in history, and beyond. Frazier has never forgiven Ali for the racial taunting leading up to the fight in which he called Frazier 'gorilla' and 'uncle Tom' - the worst possible insult for a fellow black man.

  • Best Science Documentary

    Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life

    Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life
    Director/Producer:
    Sacha Mirzoeff
    Executive Producer:
    Brian Leith
    Writer:
    David Attenborough
    Production Cº:
    BBC Natural History Unit/Open University
    BBC One

    David Attenborough asks three key questions: how and why did Darwin come up with his theory of evolution? Why do we think he was right? And why is it more important now than ever before?

  • Most Entertaining Documentary

    The Yes Men: Fix the World

    The Yes Men: Fix the World
    Directors:
    Andy Bichibaum, Mike Bonnano
    Producer:
    Alex Cooke
    Executive Producers:
    A Hayling, T Garrell, P Ominetti, F Tsitsicculi, P Barrat Jess Search, P Bachrach, R Charny
    Writers:
    Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno
    Production Cº:
    Renegade Pictures (UK) Ltd/Arte/Article Z/C4 Britdoc Foundation
    Charlotte Street Hotel screening

    Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno are two guys who just can’t take “no” for an answer. They have an unusual hobby, posing as top executives of Corporations they hate. Armed with nothing but thrift-store suits, they lie their way into business conferences and parody their corporate nemeses in ever more extreme ways - basically doing everything they can to wake up their audiences to the danger of letting greed run our world.

  • Best Drama Documentary

    House of Saddam

    House of Saddam
    Directors:
    Alex Holmes, Jim O’Hanlon
    Producer:
    Steve Lightfoot
    Executive Producers:
    Hilary Salmon, Alex Holmes
    Writers:
    Alex Holmes, Stephen Butchard
    Production Cº:
    BBC Productions/HBO
    BBC Two

    House Of Saddam is a gripping drama series about one of the world's most terrifying regimes and its subsequent downfall. This BBC/HBO co-production tells the story of the opulent lifestyle of Saddam Hussein and his inner circle, set against a backdrop of war and the tragedies of the Iraqi people.

  • Envy Award for Best Documentary Series

    Iran and the West

    Iran and the West
    Directors:
    Dai Richards, Delphine Jaudeau, Paul Mitchell
    Producers:
    Brian Lapping, Louise Norman
    Series Producer:
    Norma Percy
    Production Cº:
    Brook Lapping Productions
    BBC Two

    Jimmy Carter talks on television for the first time about the episode that, more than any other, led American voters to eject him from the presidency: Iran's seizure of the US embassy in Tehran. Exclusive interviews with two ex-Presidents of Iran – Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989 to 1997) and Mohammad Khatami (1997 to 2005) – give this programme unique authority. The series tells the inside stories of struggles, in their own government and with the West.

  • UK Film Council Award for Best Cinema Documentary

    Burma VJ

    Burma VJ
    Director:
    Anders Østergaard
    Producer:
    Lisa-Lense Moller
    Writers:
    Anders Østergaard, Jan Krogsgaard
    Production Cº:
    Magic Hour Films
    Human Rights Watch Int. Film Festival

    Going beyond the occasional news clip from Burma, the acclaimed filmmaker, Anders Østergaard, brings us close to Burma’s video journalists who insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country despite risking torture and life in jail. Armed with small handycams they make their undercover reportages, smuggle the material out of the country, have it broadcast back into Burma via satellite and offered as free usage for international media.

  • Best Newcomer

    Storyville: I’m Not Dead Yet

    Storyville: I’m Not Dead Yet
    Director:
    Elizabeth Stopford
    Producer:
    John Battsek
    Production Cº:
    Passion Pictures Ltd
    BBC Four

    A unique and personal film about the inheritance of a Gothic home and a family's unspoken past.

  • Trustees' Award

    Norma Percy

    Norma Percy

    For the past twenty years, Norma Percy has been responsible with Brian Lapping for series in which Presidents, Prime Ministers and their top advisors re-create what happened behind closed doors when big political decisions are made.

    A BBC policy statement in 1995 described them as ‘virtually a new genre of documentary that retells momentous events from the recent past with meticulous objectivity’.

    A leading article in The Guardian In Praise of Norma Percy (17 February 2009) stated: “Her documentaries stand out ...most of all for the extraordinary range of political leaders who agree to appear on them ...Every significant international story seems to have its Percy film. The Second Russian Revolution (1991) followed the fall of the Soviet Union. The Death of Yugoslavia (1995) traced the causes and consequences of the Balkan wars. Two series, The 50 Years War (1998) and Elusive Peace (2005) examined the Israeli-Arab conflict, and the peace process that approached success but never achieved it, while Endgame in Ireland (2001) explained how a conflict was resolved. And now Iran and the West ...produced by Percy, working with executive producer Lapping, their company sustains the gold standard of documentary making.”

    These series for BBC Two - and Avenging Terror (2001) and Playing the China Card (1999) for Channel 4 - have won dozens of major awards including a prime time Emmy for Watergate in 1994, two BAFTA’s, four Royal Television Society awards, three Columbia University duPont journalism awards, and three US Peabody awards.

    She was awarded an honorary doctorate from City University in 2004, the James Cameron prize for the year's outstanding journalism (print and broadcast) in 2000 and in 2003, and is a fellow of the Royal Television Society; Percy and Lapping jointly received the BAFTA Alan Clarke award in 2003 and the RTS Judges award in 1996.

    Brought up in New York, she studied politics at Oberlin College, before coming to England to do a postgraduate degree at the London School of Economics. She then spent six years as a researcher in the House of Commons where she really began to learn about politics (mainly in the Strangers’ Bar). It was this expertise that brought her to television; Brian Lapping offered her a job at Granada on a series about what was wrong with Parliament - for one year only.

    She stayed for 15 years, working with him on various ways to depict politics on television: ‘journalists’ reconstructions’ (of Cabinet and EU meetings) then Hypotheticals and drama docs Breakthrough at Reykjavik (1987) and Countdown to War (1989). Lapping’s 14-part End of Empire (1985), based on archive film and interviews with colonial revolutionaries and British rulers became the model for their later work. She went with Lapping when he set up as an independent in 1988 and was a founding director of Brook Lapping in 1997.

    Norma Percy is married to Steve Jones, broadcaster, author, journalist and Professor of Genetics at University College London.