The documentary filmmaker and producer Norma Percy, who has persuaded a who’s who of world leaders to be interviewed for revelatory series such as The Death of Yugoslavia, The Second Russian Revolution and Inside Obama’s White House, is to be honoured later this week by journalists who write about broadcasting for a living.
At the 43rd Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG) Awards lunch on Friday, sponsored by Virgin TV, she will receive the Harvey Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting. New York-born Norma Percy has been responsible, with Brian Lapping, for a host of award-winning documentaries made by the production company Brook Lapping. They include The Iraq War, Putin, Russia & The West, Iran & The West, The Fall of Milosevic, Endgame in Ireland, and Elusive Peace: Israel & The Arabs.
The Wall Street Journal called the company “The Rolls Royce of documentary makers” and the Observer said of Obama’s White House “It was as absorbing as any episode of The West Wing”. A BBC policy statement called this “a new genre of documentary which retells momentous events with meticulous objectivity, the principal actors recording their version of what happened. The narratives that emerge from The Death of Yugoslavia, The Second Russian Revolution and others are revelations.”
The BPG’s chairman Caroline Frost said: “In this headline-grabbing age, when we are fed with more breaking news than we have capacity to process, Norma Percy’s films have become not just thought-provoking but increasingly necessary. She inspires other filmmakers, broadcasters and journalists with her adherence to truth and determination to bring us the whole picture.”
The BPG Awards are highly prized by programme-makers because they are selected independently by journalists who write about TV and radio – correspondents, critics and previewers. The awards lunch, at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Friday, will be attended by the winners, BPG members and leading broadcasting executives.