Grierson Awards: The Secret History of Our Streets wins Radio Times Reader’s Choice documentary

The landmark documentary is voted for by thousands of Radio Times readers ahead of the prestigious awards ceremony

The Secret History of Our Streets has won the Radio Times Reader’s Choice Award at the Grierson British Documentary Awards.


Presenting the prize for the BBC2 series, in which a variety of directors examined the personalities and history of various London streets, Radio Times editor Ben Preston said: “Such was the strength of the shortlist that Radio Times’ readers agonised and then voted in their thousands for this award.”

“They chose a documentary series which was so much more than a about bricks and mortar, one which beguiled viewers by unearthing poignant human stories in a largely undiscovered and neglected place and brought the history of our capital to vivid life.”

The prize was one of 14 given at the 41st British Documentary Awards, better known as the Griersons because they commemorate the pioneering Scottish documentary maker John Grierson (1898–1972), famous for Drifters and Night Mail and the man widely regarded as the father of documentary.

Hosted by TV presenter and journalist Claudia Winkleman, Monday night’s awards ceremony took place on London’s Southbank at Queen Elizabeth Hall. 

Other winners included ventriloquist Nina Conti who trook home the Nyman Libson Paul Most Entertaining Documentary award for her docu-mocumentary requiem Nina Conti: A Ventriloquist’s Story – Her Master’s Voice.

The Vinten Best Science or Natural History Documentary Award was presented to director Tom Coveney for his worldwide quest to discover How To Build a Bionic Man.

Imagine: The Fatwa – Salman’s Story won the Halo Best Arts Documentary award, presented to the show’s host Alan Yentob and director Jill Nicholls.

Grayson Perry was named Clockwork Capital Best Documentary Presenter for the documentary All in the Best Possible Taste. The judges commended Grayson’s “immersive, enthusiastic and funny” style. 

The Open University Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme – Domestic award went to director Ben Anthony for 7/7: One Day in London, which illustrated the effects of the terrorist attacks on London in 2005.

Dawn Airey, Chairman of The Grierson Trust opened the evening saying: “A Grierson Award is now rightly recognised as one of the industry’s most prestigious accolades. What really makes these awards special is the talent and dedication of the nominees and the scale, scope and ambition of the films they have created.

“We have documentaries featuring countries from as far afield as: Peru, India, Afghanistan, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Syria, Australia, Palestine, the USA, China and Kenya, demonstrating the truly international nature of these awards.”

Viewers will be able to watch the awards on Sky Atlantic HD on Thursday 8 November at 9pm

The winners in full :

The Open University Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme — Domestic           

7/7: One Day in London           

Ben Anthony for Minnow Films; first shown: BBC Two

Shell Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme — International

Law of the Jungle           

Michael Christoffersen, Hans La Cour for Radiator Film; first shown: Sheffield Doc/Fest

ITN Source Best Documentary on Current Affairs           

Syria:  Across the Lines           

Olly Lambert for Quicksilver Media; first shown: Channel 4

Halo Best Arts Documentary           

Imagine: The Fatwa – Salman’s Story           

Jill Nicholls for BBC; first shown: BBC One

ITN Source Best Historical Documentary           

The Secret History of Our Streets: Deptford High Street           

Joseph Bullman for Century Films & Halcyon Heart Films; first shown: BBC Two

Vinten Best Science or Natural History Documentary           

How to Build a Bionic Man           

Tom Coveney for Darlow Smithson Productions; first shown: Channel 4

Nyman Libson Paul Most Entertaining Documentary            

Nina Conti:  A Ventriloquist’s Story – Her Master’s Voice           

Nina Conti; first shown: BBC Four

Envy Best Documentary Series           

The Year The Town Hall Shrank           

David Nath, James Newton for Blast! Films; first shown: BBC Four

Bertha DocHouse Best Cinema Documentary            

The House I Live In           

Eugene Jarecki for Charlotte Street Films; first shown: Sheffield Doc/Fest

CTVC Best Newcomer Documentary

High Tech, Low Life           

Stephen Maing for Mud Horse Pictures, LLC; first shown: Sheffield Doc/Fest

Sky Atlantic Best Student Documentary


Adeyemi Michael for National Film and Television School; first shown: BFI Southbank

Documentary Presenter of the Year           

GRAYSON PERRY for All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry

Seneca Productions; first shown: Channel 4

Radio Times Readers’ Choice Award

The Secret History Of Our Streets

Joseph Bullman, Brian Hill, Mary Cranitch, Paul Berczeller, Chris Durlacher for Century Films, Halcyon’s Heart Films

Coutts Grierson Trustees’ Award

John Battsek