Winner 2005

BBC DoNation Season

BBC Factual and Learning, BBC Drama, BBC

A more focused and comprehensive public-service effort than BBC DoNation Season is hard to imagine. Responding to a critical shortage of organ donors in the UK, where 400 people die each year awaiting a transplant, the BBC committed resources to a week-long awareness-heightening campaign that harnessed its television, radio, online, and interactive elements. Producers John Douglas, Susie Donaldson, and Claire Faragher, working under executive producer Edwina Vardey (Factual and Learning), created Life on the List, a week-long series of five half-hour documentaries that brought viewers into the daily dramas of men, women, and children hanging on to life while waiting for a new heart, kidney, or lung. At week’s end, Casualty @ Holby City, a popular hospital drama executive produced by Mervyn Watson and produced by Jane Dauncey, Jane Hudson, and Gaby Koppel, televised its first interactive episode. During the installment, written by Robert Scott Fraser and directed by Shani Grewal and John Maidens, viewers were invited to call in and choose from an assortment of outcomes, thus helping them to understand better the hard decisions doctors and donors must make. The telecasts were reinforced with radio broadcasts and additional information posted on a website that achieved nearly a half million hits. The BBC estimates that the campaign was responsible for adding 100,000 names to the organ-donor registers and, according to its follow-up surveys, instigating discussions of organ-donation wishes among 5 million people. For its exemplary concerted effort and for demonstrating public service can be entertaining, BBC DoNation Season is awarded a Peabody.


Executive Producers: Edwina Vardey, Mervyn Watson. Producer: John Douglas, Susie Donaldson, Claire Faragher. Web Designers: Kate Vahl, Martin Pascal, Cathal Coughlan, Yvonne Covell.