Netflix Best Documentary Series
Director: The Production Team
Production Co: Spring Films
First shown: 19 July 2018; Channel 4
Shot over seven months at HMP Durham, Prison offers unprecedented access to life behind bars. Produced and directed by Paddy Wivell, Prison tells the human story on both sides of the door: staff and prisoners and the issues facing them. It captures the escalating drug problem, the violence that frontline staff and prisoners endure and the multiple challenges of dealing with mentally ill inmates. Prison reveals events, emotions and precincts never seen before in an English prison.
The judges said: "Filmic, powerful, funny, sensitive, revealing, this series takes one of the most problematic, but also familiar problems of our time, and yet makes it weirdly enjoyable. The director was a brilliant character, invisible off-screen and yet as present as the best presenter. A master of being in the right place at the right time, he was also highly intentional in creating documentaries that were nuanced, humorous and balanced, with a phenomenal soundtrack, skilful editing, distinct, original episodes which still sustained a cohesive series identity. "But the real triumph of this winning series was its characters. A group of people whose stories we think we know - born without privilege, in some cases addicted to drugs, stuck in a cycle, left behind and unloved in the national consciousness. This series created a nuanced platform for their stories - their hopes, dreams, struggles, successes, and failures. The full humanity of people on both sides of story shone through because of the empathy and thought with which they were filmed. "It’s often to feel fatigue towards this subject, and yet this winning series made it resonate anew with brilliant urgency and its depiction of people whose lives tell us something vital about Britain today." •
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