The winner of this category was described as a “fantastic, powerful and timely film” by the judging panel.
The collaboration between Channel 4 and The Sunday Times to bring the shocking allegations of rape and sexual assault by comedian Russell Brand into the public arena became one of the major news stories and discussion points of 2023.
The Hardcash Productions team faced numerous challenges, with reluctance from the TV and comedy industries to speak out against such a powerful figure, and an extremely high legal bar for the publication of criminal allegations.
They spent weeks painstakingly cross-checking claims and gathering secondary evidence, including corroborating dates, times and other details.
The resulting Dispatches doc had an instant impact, with 1.8 million tuning in on Saturday 16 September, securing the strand’s highest audience share since records began (15.8%).
The doc doubled its audience after seven days, and has now been watched by more than 4 million people since launch. It is C4’s most-watched new 9pm commission in the past decade.
One judge said: “This was utterly vital and remarkable investigative journalism that changed the national dialogue. Brave, shocking and utterly compelling.”
Inside The Iranian Uprising
Passion Pictures & PBS Frontline for BBC
The BBC is unable to report from Iran, but with 100 hours of footage downloaded from people inside the country and catalogued by the director, this was the first documentary to reveal the brutal state repression of the street protests that followed the death of a young woman in police custody in September 2022.
Featuring interviews with politicians and diplomats, this doc reveals the origins of the Russian-Ukrainian war, dating back to Vladimir Putin’s military flexing in 2014 and the actions taken by world leaders to try to stop him.
DM Productions for ITV1
Exploring the worst maritime tragedy in the Channel in three decades, The Crossing tells the story of 31 asylum seekers who died attempting to reach the UK by boat in 2021. The film carefully draws together journalistic angles while simultaneously reporting on the issue of migration from a human standpoint.
Under Poisoned Skies
BBC News Arabic Documentaries for BBC News Arabic
In documenting the deadly impact of the oil giants’ toxic air pollution in Iraq, this film reveals evidence of a cover-up of the health data reaching the highest levels of government, including a 20% rise in cancer.
Undercover Hospital: Patients At Risk
BBC Panorama for BBC
This groundbreaking film unveiling the scandal of the treatment of severely mentally ill patients at one of England’s largest NHS-run psychiatric hospitals has catalysed a series of inquiries, including a national rapid review of the treatment of all in-patient psychiatric patients.