Professor David Olusoga OBE to receive BAFTA Special Award

University of Manchester Professor, David Olusoga OBE will be presented with a BAFTA Special Award at the forthcoming BAFTA Television Awards for outstanding contribution to television.

The BAFTA Special award is one of BAFTA’s highest honours recognising an outstanding contribution to film, games or television.

With a three-decade career spanning the creative arts and academia, presenter, broadcaster, filmmaker, author and historian Olusoga has been a trailblazer for the television industry, leading a reappraisal of how history has been traditionally told through popular culture.

A special commemoration of his extensive body-of-work at the forthcoming BAFTA Television Awards will pay tribute to Olusoga’s ongoing legacy and impact on the television industry and society, for widening perspectives of how history is presented, and expanding the diversity of stories told.

Olusoga’s credits include presenting the long-running BBC history series A House Through Time (BBC Two), writing and presenting the award-winning series Black & British: A Forgotten History (BBC Two) and the BAFTA winning Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners. Among his other credits are The World’s War (BBC Two), and The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files, Extra Life, a Short History of Living Longer and the landmark BBC arts series Civilizations. He is a Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester. In recent years he led major interviews with the former President of the United States, Barack Obama and lectures including the Edinburgh TV Festival MacTaggart Lecture in 2020.

David Olusoga said: “I am honoured to be the recipient of the BAFTA Special Award 2023. It is humbling to have my work in television, as both a producer and a presenter, recognised in this way.”

I am honoured to be the recipient of the BAFTA Special Award 2023. It is humbling to have my work in television, as both a producer and a presenter, recognised in this way.

Professor David Olusoga OBE

Jane Millichip, CEO at BAFTA said: “We are honoured to present David Olusoga the BAFTA Special Award at our forthcoming BAFTA Television Awards with P&O Cruises. David Olusoga has made an outstanding contribution, not just to the television community but to our society and culture. His commitment and bravery in reappraising how history is presented through television is inspiring.

“He represents the best of what television can do - its power to inspire, educate and challenge. David has made our industry and society a better place, and this BAFTA Special Award couldn’t be more deserved.”

Alongside his television work, Olusoga is the author of seven books including: Black & British: A Forgotten History, awarded both the Longman-History Today Trustees Award and the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize; The World’s War, which won First World War Book of the Year in 2014; and Black & British A Short Essential History was a Waterstones Book Of The Year, Non-Fiction winner at the Quiz Writers' Choice Awards 2021 and Book of the Year, Children's non-fiction at the 2021 British Book Awards. His other titles are The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide; The Colonial Roots of Nazism; Civilizations: Encounters The Cult of Progress; and A House Through Time. 

He is also a recipient of the British Academy's Presidents Medal and the Norton Medlicott Medal for Services to History, and a Fellow of the British Academy, The Royal Society of Literature, The Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Historical Society. Olusoga was also a contributor to the Oxford Companion to Black British History, writes for The Guardian and is a columnist for The Observer and BBC History Magazine. 

The Special Award is one of BAFTA’s highest honours. Previous recipients for their television work include Nicola Shindler, Clare Balding, Idris Elba, John Motson, Henry Normal, Nick Fraser, Lenny Henry, Delia Smith and Cilla Black.

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