Denys Blakeway

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Denys Blakeway is a British television producer and author who is best known for documentaries and books about contemporary history.

In 1994 he set up Blakeway Productions, a television company based in London.[1] Before establishing himself as an independent producer Blakeway wrote and directed a number of documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4, including Primo Levi: The Memory of the Offence,[2] The Falklands War;[3] and Thatcher - The Downing Street Years.[4] He has also been responsible for several documentaries about former British prime ministers, all made with their participation: Edward Heath,[5] John Major[6] and Tony Blair[7]

Since setting up Blakeway Productions he has produced numerous programmes for British public service radio and television including many documentaries about the British royal family, the Second World War, several series with historians Christopher Clark, Max Hastings, Niall Ferguson and David Reynolds, and arts programmes with artist and critic Matt Collings. In 2004 Blakeway Productions was acquired by the Ten Alps plc media group.

Recent television productions include a number of programmes about the causes of the First World War, including 'The Necessary War' written and presented by Sir Max Hastings which argued that the British were right to enter the conflict against Germany, and 'Royal Cousins at War' which told the story of the tensions between the royal houses of Europe in the years leading up to the war, both for BBC 2.[8] Some past productions include profiles of King George V and Queen Mary for BBC 2, George and Mary: The Royals who Rescued the Monarchy"[9] and an award-winning ninety-minute programme about the artist Lucian Freud, Lucian Freud: Painted Life also for BBC 2.[10] A three-part series about Queen Victoria's fraught relations with her children was broadcast on BBC2 in January 2013[11] and Blakeway was responsible for the BBC's 90 minute official obituary of Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister which was transmitted on BBC1[12] on the day that her death was announced. The obituary was subsequently shown by television stations around the world.[13]

Denys Blakeway is the author of The Last Dance,[14] an account of the turbulent year of 1936,The Falklands War[15] and Fields of Thunder-Testing Britain's Bomb[16].

Blakeway has also written and presented numerous programmes for BBC Radio 4 including the Peabody award winning The Unspeakable Atrocity, a documentary about the BBC and the Holocaust produced by Nigel Acheson and Remembrance an archive based documentary about changing attitudes to remembering British war dead.[17] In May 2013 he presented 'The Longest Suicide Note in History', a documentary about the Labour Party's disastrous 1983 general election campaign.[18]


  1. ^ Blakeway Productions' website details past and present programming
  2. ^ BBC 2 and WNET, 1992. The film used excerpts from Levi's writing and memories of those who knew him. It won a Sandford St. Martinaward
  3. ^ Channel 4, 1992, a four-part series which included the testimony of senior military commanders and politicians from both sides of the 1982 conflict between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands/Las Malvinas
  4. ^ BBC 1 1993. Margaret Thatcher, former colleagues and world leaders (including Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan) remembered and debated her years as Britain's prime minister
  5. ^ A Very Singular Man, BBC2, 1998 - written and presented by Michael Cockerell
  6. ^ The Major Years, BBC 1, 1998
  7. ^ The Last Days of Tony Blair, Channel 4, 2007 - written and presented by Will Hutton.
  8. ^ BBC 2, January and February 2014, Producers Karen McGill (The Necessary War) and Richard Sanders (Royal Cousins at War)
  9. ^ BBC 2, 3rd and 4th January 2012, Produced and Directed by Rob Coldstream
  10. ^ BBC 2, 19 February, Produced and Directed by Randall Wright. Royal Television Society award Best Arts Documentary. BAFTA nomination
  11. ^ BBC 2, 2nd, 3rd, 4 January 2013. Series Producer Lucy McDowell
  12. ^ BBC1 8 April 2013
  13. ^ Distributed by BBC Worldwide
  14. ^ John Murray, London, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7195-2383-0
  15. ^ Sidgwick & Jackson with Channel 4 Television, London 1992 ISBN 978-0-283-06101-1
  16. ^ George Allen & Unwin, London, 1985 ISBN 0-04-341029-4
  17. ^ BBC Radio 4, Archive on 4, 10 November 2011
  18. ^ BBC Radio 4 'The Archive Hour', 1 June 2013, producer Melissa FitzGerald