Chiswick Broadcasting 'Titan' Wins Industry Prize

Andy Harries to be given the annual Harvey Lee Award

Andy Harries
Andy Harries

March 20, 2024

A Chiswick-based producer and director is to be presented with a prestigious award at a ceremony this week.

Andy Harries has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the Harvey Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting by the Broadcasting Press Guild. It is the 50th anniversary of the award the winner of which is chosen by 110 journalists who write about television, streaming and audio.

Mr Harries told us after the announcement, “I am very grateful for the award and lucky to have enjoyed such great times producing television and film in the UK .

“I have lived in Chiswick for more than 30 years and walking up and down the river and around Chiswick House at the weekends with my family has kept me fit and sane in such a crazy business “

Previous winners include another familiar face around Chiswick, Moira Stewart, as well as John Humphrys, Nicholas Parsons, Sir Terry Wogan, Cilla Black, Melvyn Bragg, Andrew Davies, Sir David Frost, Michael Grade and Biddy Baxter.

Mr Harries, the founder of Left Bank Pictures, has a career which spans more than four decades and including such television classics as The Crown, The Royle Family, Prime Suspect and Cold Feet as producer and Arena and The South Bank Show as director.

He will receive the award at a gala lunch at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in Whitehall this Thursday (21 March). The Harvey Lee Award is sponsored by Warner Bros. Discovery and celebrates a career that began as a news reporter on the Peterborough Evening Telegraph before moving into TV as a researcher for Granada Television in Manchester in 1976. There, Mr Harries worked off and on-screen at Granada Reports and also on World In Action before becoming a freelance in 1981.

His early work ranged from directing Channel 4’s Emmy-nominated documentary series Africa, making films in Peru and directing and producing on both The South Bank Show and Arena. He co-founded his first production company, Sleeping Partners, with Paul Greengrass at the end of the 1980s, working with talent such as previous Harvey Lee Award-winner Lenny Henry, Jonathan Ross and Peter Morgan.

Harvey Lee (1950-1991) – after whom the award is named – was the media correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and a leading light in the BPG throughout the 1980s.

Mr Harries became controller of comedy at Granada in 1992 where he was behind two Caroline Aherne classics, The Mrs Merton Show and The Royle Family. Next came Cold Feet and his first panel show, Mel and Sue’s Casting Couch. In 2000, he became Granada’s controller of drama, where he produced hit TV shows including the return of Prime Suspect and Cracker, The Street, The Deal, Dirty Filthy Love, Longford and 2006 film The Queen – which not only won Helen Mirren an Oscar but also sparked the idea for the Netflix hit series The Crown a decade later.

In 2007, Harries co-founded Left Bank Pictures, which would become one of the UK’s most successful independent production companies – with programmes including Wallander with Kenneth Branagh, Mad Dogs, Strike Back and another detective procedural DCI Banks, as well as the third part of Peter Morgan’s ‘Tony Blair Trilogy’, The Special Relationship. Left Bank Pictures also found success at the cinema, with Harries serving as producer on The Damned United and Stan & Ollie.

In 2016, The Crown became Harries’ biggest TV project – telling the story of the modern royal family from 1947 to 2005 and winning critical acclaim and reaching huge audiences around the world. In addition, he has been able to use the series to train the next TV generation via an auction of The Crown’s props, costumes and furniture which has funded at least 50 scholarships at the National Film & Television School. Harries was awarded an OBE in 2019 for services to film and television.

The BPG’s chair Manori Ravindran said, “There is no doubt that Andy Harries is a titan among TV producers who has proven himself time and again over the last five decades. The range of his programme successes reflects not only a flair for the creative, but also a knack for building special relationships with generational talents — of which he is one himself.”

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