Broadcasting Press Guild Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting Award - Andy Harries

Andy Harries

Andy Harries, one of UK television’s leading producers and directors and the co-founder of Left Bank Pictures, is to be honoured this week at the 50th annual Broadcasting Press Guild Awards, chosen by journalists who write about television, streaming and audio.

Harries will receive the BPG’s prestigious Harvey Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting for a career spanning 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.

Harries will be presented with the award at the 50th annual BPG awards lunch at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in Whitehall, London, on Thursday, March 21. The Harvey Lee Award is sponsored by Warner Bros. Discovery and is the gift of the BPG Executive Committee.

The award 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, 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. 

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.”