2016 Award Winners

The winners of the 2016 Sandford St Martin Awards were announced during a special ceremony held at Lambeth Palace on 8 June 2016.

TV Award Winner


My Son the Jihadi

True Vision Productions for Channel 4

In 2011, Sally Evans made a devastating discovery: her son Thomas had left their home in a Buckinghamshire village and travelled to Somalia to join a deadly Islamist terrorist group. Made byTrue Vision Productions for Channel 4, this powerful documentary was, in the words of one of our judges “I wish I had made it myself”. The Telegraph’s TV critic said it was “a stunningly sad, detailed and dignified portrait of a devastated mother, and a masterful piece of television”.

TV runner-up


Baz the Lost Muslim

Brown Bread Films for RTE2

The second part of Irish TV personality, Baz Ashmawy’s timely, compelling and entertaining personal journey into Islam – the faith of his late Egyptian father, into which he, himself, was born, but which he has never really understood.

Children’s Award Winner


The Boy on the Bicycle (My Life)

Drummer Television for CBBC

Ahmed is like any other boy his age, except he’s had to leave everything behind, including his toys and technology, to move to one of the biggest refugee camps in the world – Zaatari in Jordan. Life in Zaatari is nothing compared to home. When the Syrian civil war began in 2012 his family had to abandon their affluent lives and, with thousands of others, flee across the border to the Zaatari camp for safety. Now living in a storage container for a home after his house was destroyed in the civil war, he has lived in Zaatari for three years, along with 80,000 other refugees, who can’t leave the camp without permission. As Ahmed cycles around the five mile square camp he introduces us to some of the other inspirational children who live there and we see the reality of life in a refugee camp from the unique point of view of a child.

Children’s runner-up


Mr Alzheimer’s and Me

Tigerlily Productions for CBBC

Mr Alzheimers And Me follows three young people who tell their very personal stories of living with grandparents who have dementia. Ella, Hope and Joshua have one thing in common, they all have a grandparent with dementia. But you don’t stop loving your grandparents just because they are ill and sometimes don’t remember you, so the three children each decide to do something to help. The Chair of the 2016 Sandford Children’s Award judges, writer Frank Cottrell Boyce said “the programme featured some of the most compelling characters I’ve ever seen on television”.

Radio Times Faith Award


Call the Midwide (Series 4, Episode 5)

Neal Street Productions for BBC One

In this episode of the popular BBC One drama following the lives of a group of midwives working in the poverty-stricken East End of London during the 1950s, Sister Julienne’s faith is challenged when a mother refuses medicine for her newborn baby. Dr Turner’s involvement in the case forces him to face his own demons. Meanwhile Barbara must work out a way to communicate with a pregnant Sylheti woman.

Radio Award Winner


Objections at the Wedding (Heart and Soul)

Whistledown Productions for the BBC World Service

In America legislation concerning LGBT rights has divided the nation. In the run up to the US Supreme Cout’s decision on the future of same-sex marriage, the Gary Younge takes a trip to Louisville, Kentucky where same-sex- marriage is banned. Just across the Ohio River, in the state of Indiana, same-sex marriage is legal. In this uniquely placed city, Gary meets pastors and parishioners from across the spectrum to talk about the issue.

Radio runner-up


Not Now

BBC Radio Scotland for Radio 4

It’s 2:15 in the afternoon and Kyle has just returned from his father’s funeral. His father was a pious man and, although he loved him, it’s always been his Uncle that he’s looked up to. Until now. In this darkly funny drama, one of the UK’s most up and coming young writers explores sexual and social relations, faith and hero-worship.

Interview of the Year Winner


A Mother’s Good Friday: Diane Foley

CTVC for Things Unseen

This podcast on the Things Unseen website features an interview with a mother who has had to endure the knowledge that her son was in danger of execution, and then had to learn to live with his very public and brutal killing. She is Diane Foley, whose son, US journalist James Foley, was beheaded by Islamic State in Syria in August 2014.

Talking to Mark Dowd, Diane reflects on why, even though she never spoke to Jim again after his capture, she knew her son was close to her in prayer. She explains how the experience has helped her understand Mary far more deeply, and why she has been able to forgive ‘Jihadi John’, her son’s unrepentant killer. And she reveals why, despite her strong Catholic faith, reports that James converted to Islam in captivity never worried her.

Interview of the Year runner up


Traveller’s Tales: Hannah Scott-Joynt talks to Stu Hallam

TBI Media for Premier Radio

Stu Hallam is a chaplain with the Royal Navy. Unlike many armed services chaplains, he’s commando-trained, which means that when he joined the Royal Marines for two tours of duty in Afghanistan, he went out on patrol as one of the lads, (no use saying God’s with them as they step out onto open ground, if the chaplain’s not prepared to step out too)… in as much danger as any of them, not knowing whether his next step was onto a landmine, or round the next corner a Taliban ambush would be waiting.

2016 Trustees’ Award


Joan Bakewell

Author, journalist and broadcaster

Joan Bakewell has been a household name since the 1960s, when she made her television debut and was the only female presenter on the pioneering BBC2 programme, Late Night Line-Up. From 1988 to 2000, Bakewell presented BBC1’s Heart of the Matter, where she frequently explored the most complex issues of belief and ethics.

“Joan deserves this award because of her long contribution to serious, compassionate, ethical broadcasting – facing difficult issues in an approachable but never simplifying way,” said the classicist Mary Beard, who presented Bakewell with her award.  Sandford St Martin trustee Roger Bolton was her editor on the programme for three years, and says that she always conducted her interviews with “cool precision, intelligent understanding and great sympathy for those caught up in difficult dilemmas”.

Further information

» View all the programmes shortlisted for the 2016 Awards

» Find out more about the eligibility criteria and our judging panel