British Academy Television Award
CountryUnited Kingdom
Presented byBritish Academy of Film and Television Arts
First awarded1965
Currently held byThe Missing Children (2022)

The British Academy Television Award for Best Specialist Factual Programme is one of the major categories of the British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs), the primary awards ceremony of the British television industry. According to the BAFTA website, the category is "specifically for arts, religion, history, natural history and science programmes or series and can include both factual and performance programmes."[1]

The category has gone through several changes in name and type of nominees considered for the category:

Winners and nominees


Best Specialized Programme

Year Recipient(s) Title
1965 Ned Sherrin
1966 Peter Watkins Culloden
Gerry Anderson Stingray
Ken Russell Debussy/Douanier Rousseau
Humphrey Burton Workshop: Goetterdaemmerung
Michael Tippett
Liverpool Conducting Competition
Our World of Opera
1967 Ken Russell
1968 Basil Coleman
1969 Jack Gold The World of Coppard


Best Specialized Programme

Year Title Recipient(s)
1970 Blue Peter Biddy Baxter, Edward Barnes, Rosemary Gill
Girls Wanted Istanbul Wendy Toye
Omnibus: A Dream Divided
Omnibus: Down These Mean Streets A Man Must Go
Fred Burnley
Civilisation Michael Gill, Peter Montagnon
The Goshawk David Cobham
Omnibus Norman Swallow
Omnibus: Woman from the Shadows
Omnibus: The Confessions of Marian Evans
Don Taylor
1971 On Trial: The Chicago Conspiracy Trial Christopher Burstall
Omnibus: A Requiem For Modigliani Fred Burnley
Omnibus: Dance of The Seven Veils Ken Russell
Omnibus: I Regret Nothing Michael Houldey
Aquarius Humphrey Burton and the Production Team
1972 Omnibus Norman Swallow
Bird's Eye View: A Land for All Seasons John Bird
The Issue Should Be Avoided Robert Vas
The Search for the Nile Christopher Ralling

Best Specialized Program

Year Title Recipient(s)
1973 Omnibus: Vincent The Dutchman - Van Gogh Mai Zetterling and the Production Team
Omnibus: Who Needs a Conductor - André Previn Herbert Chappell
Who Sank The Lusitania? Paul Bonner
1974 Omnibus: Colette - A Window on the War Colin Nears
Aquarius: Hello Dali Bruce Gowers
Second House: A Long Drawn-Out Trip Gerald Scarfe
Times of Bronze and Jade Michael Gill
1975 Horizon: Joey Brian Gibson
Omnibus: Joseph Conrad Colin Nears
Omnibus: The Goldwyn Touch Gavin Millar
The Sun is God Michael Darlow
1976 Explorers: Amundsen David Cobham
Explorers: Captain Cook John Irvin
Omnibus: Nijinsky, God of the Dance Colin Nears
Explorers: Pizarro Fred Burnley
1977 On the Move David Hargreaves
Aquarius Derek Bailey
Claude Monet John Read
One Man and His Dog Philip S. Gilbert
That's Life Esther Rantzen

Best Specialized Series

Year Title Recipient(s)
1973 Ways of Seeing - John Berger Michael Dibb
Aquarius Humphrey Burton and the Production Team
Omnibus Mike Wooller
1974 Vision On Patrick Dowling
Aquarius Humphrey Burton
The Ascent of Man Adrian Malone
Chronicle Paul Johnstone
1975 Aquarius Humphrey Burton
Face the Music Walter Todds
Microbes and Men Peter Goodchild
Omnibus Michael Wooller
1976 Explorers Michael Latham
The Fight Against Slavery Christopher Ralling
Mastermind Bill Wright


Programme/Series Without Category

Year Title Recipient(s)
1980 The South Bank Show Melvyn Bragg
It'll Be Alright on the Night II Paul Smith
Jacqueline du Pre Master Class Rodney Greenberg
Timothy West as Beecham Robin Lough
1981 Omnibus Leslie Megahey
Arena Alan Yentob
Mastermind Bill Wright
The South Bank Show
1982 Arena Alan Yentob
Film '81 Judy Lindsay, Margaret Sharpe
Clive James at the Movies Nicholas Barrett
The South Bank Show Melvyn Bragg
1983 Arena Alan Yentob
Clive James on Television Nicholas Barrett
Did You See...? John Archer
The South Bank Show Melvyn Bragg
1984 Arena Alan Yentob
Clive James on Television Nicholas Barrett
Did You See...? Chris Mohr, John Archer
The South Bank Show Melvyn Bragg
1985 Did You See...? John Archer
Arena Alan Yentob
Clive James on Television Nicholas Barrett
The South Bank Show Melvyn Bragg

Huw Wheldon Award for Best Arts Programme

Year Title Recipient(s)
1987 Arena: Scarfe On Scarfe Gerald Scarfe
Chasing a Rainbow: The Life of Josephine Baker Christopher Ralling
Dirk Bogarde - Above The Title Nick Gray
Omnibus: The Bolshoi Ballet Michael Houldey
Sondheim On Broadway - Follies: Four Days In New York
The South Bank Show: Michael Powell David Hinton
The South Bank Show: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Story Alan Benson
1988 LS Lowry: A Simple Man Ian Squires, Gillian Lynne
Arena: Dennis Potter Anthony Wall
The South Bank Show: Maria Callas Tony Palmer
Omnibus: George Gershwin Remembered Peter Adam
1989 The South Bank Show: Bertolucci and the Last Emperor David Hinton
John Gielgud: An Actor's Life Dave Heather, John Miller
Omnibus: HRH The Prince Of Wales - A Vision Of Britain Christopher Martin, Nicholas Rossiter
The South Bank Show: The Art of Walt Disney Alan Benson


Huw Wheldon Award for Best Arts Programme

Year Title Recipient(s)
1990 Omnibus: Art in the Third Reich Peter Adam
The South Bank Show: Barry Humphries Nigel Wattis
The South Bank Show: Dustin Hoffman Tony Knox
Arena: Tales From Barcelona Jana Boková
1991 The South Bank Show: The Partnership Between Robert Bolt and Sir David Lean David Thomas
Omnibus: Bernstein Peter Maniura, Humphrey Burton
The South Bank Show: Alan Parker Frances Dickenson
The South Bank Show: Spitting Image Alan Benson
1992 Without Walls: J'Accuse - Citizen Kane Gary Johnstone
The South Bank Show: Jose Carreras - A Life Story Chris Hunt
The South Bank Show Special: Kiri Te Kanawa Nigel Wattis
The South Bank Show: Terry Gilliam Frances Dickenson
1993 Omnibus: Angela Carter's Curious Room Kim Evans
Bookmark: Miss Pym's Day Out James Runcie
The Nicholas Brothers: We Sing And We Dance Chris Bould, Chipps Chipperfield
The South Bank Show: The Making of Sergeant Pepper Alan Benson, Nick De Grunwald
1994 Bookmark: The Vampire's Life Anand Tucker
Omnibus: Magic Lantern Dennis Marks
The South Bank Show: Sylvie Guillem Nigel Wattis
Theremin: An Electric Odyssey Steve Martin
1995 Without Walls: An Interview with Dennis Potter Melvyn Bragg, David Thomas, Nigel Wattis
Shakespeare on the Estate Penny Woolcock
1996 Children of the Revolution John Wyver, David Hinton
Arena Peter Lydon
The Homecoming Archie Baron
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies Florence Dauman
1997 Rhythm: Leaving Home Sue Knussen, Hilary Chadwick
A History of British Art Gillian Greenwood
American Visions Nicholas Rossiter
Dancing in the Street: A Rock and Roll History Hugh Thomson
1998 The South Bank Show: Gilbert and George Gerald Fox
Bookmark: Not Waving but Drowning Aysha Rafaele
Dancing for Dollars Angus Macqueen
Omnibus: Jack Rosenthal - Jack The Lad Anne Elletson, Randall Wright
1999 The Arena: Brian Epstein Story Debbie Geller, Diana Mansfield, Anthony Wall
The Secret Art of Government Nick Rossiter
The Arena: Noel Coward Trilogy Adam Low
Vile Bodies: Naked Adam Barker, Edmund Coulthard


Huw Wheldon Award for Best Arts Programme

Year Title Recipient(s) Broadcaster
2000 This is Modern Art Ian MacMillan, Matt Collings Channel 4
The Abba Story Chris Hunt, Steve Cole ITV
The Hip Hop Years David Upshal, Stephen Lambert Channel 4
Reputations: Hitchcock/Alfred The Great/Alfred The Auteur Tim Kirby BBC Two

Huw Wheldon Award For Specialised Programme or Series

Year Title Recipient(s) Broadcaster
2001 Howard Goodall's Big Bangs Paul Sommers, Howard Goodall, Jan Younghusband Channel 4
Arena: Wisconsin Death Trip Maureen Ryan, James Marsh, Anthony Wall BBC Two
A History Of Britain by Simon Schama Martin Davidson, Simon Schama
Elizabeth Mark Fielder, Steven Clarke, David Starkey Channel 4
2002 Arena: The Private Dirk Bogarde Anthony Wall, Adam Low BBC Two
The 1940s House Alex Graham, Simon Shaw, Caroline Ross Pirie Channel 4
The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Walk On By: The Story of Popular Song Michael Poole, Alan Lewens BBC Two
2003 The Trust Channel 4
A History Of Britain by Simon Schama BBC Two
Life of Mammals BBC One
Revealed Five
2004 The National Trust Claire Kavanagh, Nick Kent, Patrick Forbes BBC Four
Leonardo Michael Mosley, Lesley Megahey, Alan Yentob BBC One
Operatunity Roy Ackerman, Michael Waldman Channel 4
Seven Wonders of the Industrial World BBC Two

Best Specialist Factual

Year Title Recipient(s) Broadcaster
2005 Dunkirk Rob Warr, Alex Holmes BBC Two
D-Day Richard Dale, Tim Bradley BBC One
D-Day: The Ultimate Conflict Mark Lewis, Ana Paula Lloyd, Simon Greenwood Five
Howard Goodall's 20th Century Greats Paul Sommers, David Jeffcock, Francis Hanly Channel 4
2006 Holocaust - A Music Memorial Film From Auschwitz BBC Two
The Boy with The Incredible Brain Martin Weitz, Toby Trackman, Steve Gooder Five
Arena: No Direction Home - Bob Dylan Nigel Sinclair, Anthony Wall, Martin Scorsese BBC Two
Life in the Undergrowth BBC One
2007 Nuremberg: Goering's Last Stand Peter Nicholson, Simon Berthon, Dan Korn, Piers Vellacott Channel 4
Munich: Mossad's Revenge Anthony Geffen, Tom Whitter, Peter Miller, Calum Walker Channel 4
Planet Earth Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield BBC One
Simon Schama's Power of Art Clare Beavan, Simon Schama, Basil Comely, Mark Harrison BBC Two
2008 Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain Andrew Marr, Chris Granlund, Tom Giles, Clive Edwards BBC Two
The Genius of Photography Tim Kirby, Alex Graham, Michael Jackson BBC Four
Earth: The Power of the Planet Dr Iain Stewart, Jonathan Renouf, Phil Dolling BBC Two
The Relief of Belsen Justin Hardy, Susan Horth, Peter Guinness, Lucy Bassnet-McGuire Channel 4
2009 Life in Cold Blood BBC One
Lost Land of the Jaguar BBC One
Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery Claudia Lewis, Kim Shillinglaw BBC Four
Stephen Fry and the Gutenberg Press: The Machine That Made Us Stephen Fry, Patrick McGrady, Lucy Ward, Philip Crocker


Year Title Recipient(s) Broadcaster
2010 Inside Nature's Giants David Dugan, Julian Thomas, Alex Tate, Yvonne Bainton Channel 4
Art of Russia Andrew Graham-Dixon, John Hay, Silvia Sacco, Karen McGann BBC Four
Chemistry: A Volatile History Jim Al-Khalili, Helen Thomas, Sacha Baveystock, Kim Shillinglaw
Yellowstone BBC Two
2011 Flying Monsters 3D David Attenborough, Anthony Geffen, Sias Wilson Sky 3D
The Making of Alan Bennett and The Habit of Art Martin Rosenbaum, David Sabel, Toby Coffey, Adam Low More4
Human Planet Brian Leith, Dale Templar, Nitin Sawhney, Tom Hugh-Jones BBC One
Pompeii: Life and Death in a Roman Town Paul Elston, Daisy Scalchi, Richard Bradley BBC Two
2012 Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret Laura Jones, Justine Kershaw, Gillian Moseley, Kenny Scott Channel 4
British Masters Jonty Claypole, James Fox, Matt Hill, Richard Wilkinson BBC Four
Frozen Planet David Attenborough, Vanessa Berlowitz, Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield BBC One
Wonders of the Universe Brian Cox, Michael Lachman, Jonathan Renouf, James Van Der Pool BBC Two
2013 All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry Grayson Perry, Joe Evans, Neil Crombie, Dinah Lord Channel 4
The Secret History of Our Streets BBC Two
The Plane Crash Simon Dickson, Sanjay Singhal, Steve Nam, Geoff Deehan Channel 4
The Plot to Bring Down Britain’s Planes
2014 David Attenborough's Natural History Museum Alive David Attenborough, Anthony Geffen, Mike Davis, Dan Smith Sky 3D
Richard III: The King in the Car Park Simon Young, Julian Ware, Louise Osmond Channel 4
Martin Luther King and The March on Washington John Akomfrah, Lina Gopaul, David Lawson
Story of the Jews BBC Two
2015 Grayson Perry: Who Are You? Neil Crombie, Joe Evans, Grayson Perry, Dinah Lord Channel 4
David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies 3D Anthony Geffen, David Lee, David Attenborough Sky 3D
The Great War: The People’s Story ITV
Our Gay Wedding: The Musical Sean Murphy, Archie Baron, Nathan Taylor, Benjamin Till Channel 4
2016 Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners BBC Two
Grayson Perry’s Dream House Neil Crombie, Grayson Perry, Joe Evans, Marcus Plowright Channel 4
The Hunt BBC One
Rudolf Nureyev – Dance to Freedom Franny Moyle, Richard Curson Smith, Tom Herington, Yelena Durden-Smith BBC Two
2017 Planet Earth II Michael Gunton, Tom Hugh-Jones, Elizabeth White, David Attenborough BBC One
Alan Bennett's Diaries Adam Low, Martin Rosenbaum, David Sabel BBC Two
Attenborough's Life That Glows Martin Dohrn, Joe Loncraine, Paul Reddish, Fraser Purdie BBC Two
Grayson Perry: All Man Grayson Perry, Neil Crombie, Joe Evans, Arthur Cary Channel 4
2018 Basquiat: Rage to Riches David Shulman, Janet Lee BBC Two
Blue Planet II BBC One
Blitz: The Bombs that Changed Britain Tim Kirby, Emily Thompson, Francesca Maudslay, Cate Hall BBC Two
Elizabeth I's Secret Agents Chris Durlacher, Bernadette Ross, Julian Jones, Claire Guillon
2019[2] Suffragettes with Lucy Worsley BBC One
Bros: After the Screaming Stops David Soutar, Joe Pearlman, Leo Pearlman, Heather Greenwood BBC Four
Grayson Perry: Rites of Passage Grayson Perry, Neil Crombie, Joe Evans, James House Channel 4
Superkids: Breaking Away from Care


Year Title Recipient(s) Broadcaster
Yorkshire Ripper Files: A Very British Crime Story Liza Williams, Jasmine Macnabb, Nancy Bornat, Leanne Klein BBC Four
8 Days: To The Moon and Back BBC Two
Thatcher: A Very British Revolution
Seven Worlds, One Planet BBC One
The Surgeon’s Cut James Newton, James Van Der Pool, Andrew Cohen Netflix
Extinction: The Facts Serena Davies, Helen Thomas, Stephen Moore, Charlotte Lathane BBC One
The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty David Glover, Cate Hall, Jamie Roberts, Owen Phillips, Justin Badger, Sam Santana BBC Two
Putin: A Russian Spy Story James Rogan, Nick Green, Paul Mitchell, Adam Finch Channel 4
The Missing Children Tanya Stephan, Rachel Cumella, Brian Woods, Anne Morrison, Paddy Garrick, Ella Newton ITV
Black Power: A British Story of Resistance George Amponsah, Helen Bart, Steve McQueen, James Rogan, Soleta Rogan, Tracey Scoffield BBC Two
Silenced: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain
The Freddie Mercury: The Final Act James Rogan, Daniel Hall, Chris Wilson, Mark Hedgecoe, Soleta Rogan, Simon Lupton


  1. ^ "Rules and Guidelines" (PDF). British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  2. ^ "Nominations announced: Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Television Craft Awards in 2019". 2019-03-28. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  3. ^ Kanter, Jake (2020-07-31). "BAFTA TV Awards Winners: Night Of Surprises, As 'Chernobyl' & 'The End Of The F***ing World' Take Two Prizes Each". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  4. ^ "BAFTA TV 2021: Nominations for the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Television Craft Awards". 2021-04-28. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  5. ^ "Bafta TV awards 2022: full list of nominations". The Guardian. 30 March 2022. Retrieved 30 March 2022.