Sue Perkins calls on broadcasters to recognise female documentary talent

“It is 2014 for goodness sake...” The host of last night's Grierson Awards urged channel bosses to nominate women after announcing an all-male shortlist for documentary presenter of the year

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Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins took a swipe at TV bosses at a prestigious awards ceremony last night for failing to recognise the talents of female presenters.

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Perkins was hosting the annual Grierson awards, regarded as the Oscars for documentary film-makers.

Her comments came as she announced an all-male shortlist for the documentary presenter of the year award, revealing that the four male nominees, who included Stephen Fry and Michael Mosley, were selected from a longer list that was 95 per cent male.

“It is 2014 for goodness sake,” she said. “Less than five per cent of the total entry was female presenters. This isn’t the fault of the Griersons, but of the broadcasters. It is time for the broadcasters to put their money where their mouths are and start to nominate female presenters.”

Her remarks won loud support from the audience inside London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Ironically, though, three of the biggest targets of her criticism  – BBC1, BBC2 and Channel 4 – are run by women, at least one of whom, BBC1’s Charlotte Moore, was present last night.

The best presenter award eventually went to Rupert Everett for Love for Sale – his documentary on sex workers.  His win helped cement an extraordinary night of success for Channel 4 as they picked up eight of the 13 awards that were up for grabs.

Educating Yorkshire triumphed in two of the categories – including the Radio Times readers’ award – and Dispatches also scored a double win.

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Educating Yorkshire head Jonny Mitchell won warm applause when he dedicated his award to the memory of murdered Leeds teacher Ann Maguire, whose killer had been sentenced earlier in the day.