The art of factual storytelling

The art of factual storytelling

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Middlesex University - Hendon Town Hall - Committee Room 3

The Burroughs



United Kingdom

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A former journalist and best-selling author, and two award-winning documentary makers share insight into the art of factual storytelling.

About this event

In this session, a former Sunday Times journalist who also happens to be a Sunday Times best-selling author and founder of his own PR company, and two award-winning documentary makers, one of whom runs a documentary consultancy firm, share insight into the art of factual storytelling across different media.


  • Col Spector - Screenwriter/Director
  • Nick Read – Producer, Director and Cameraman
  • Will Iredale - Sunday Times best-selling author, former Sunday Times journalist and Managing Director of Iredale Communications

Panellist Biographies

Col Spector, Screenwriter/Director

Col is an award-winning writer/director who started in non-fiction at the BBC and now works primarily in fiction: writing and directing feature films for the cinema. He also runs his own documentary consultancy business.

Col started at the BBC directing various short comedy dramas series. He then went on to direct a number of highly distinctive, critically acclaimed documentaries for Channel 4 and BBC. These include: Just Enough Distance, Trouble At The House, Puccini Cappuccini, The Real Alan Clark, and The Lost Supper.

Commercials he directed out of Ridley Scott Associates include Mars, AOL, Lea & Perrins and Snickers.

He then wrote and directed the comedy short New Year’s Eve (starring Stephen Mangan & Keira Knightley) which won several prizes before being included in the feature compilation Stories of Lost Souls.

His first feature as writer/director Someone Else (starring Stephen Mangan) was released in the UK in 2007 by Soda Pictures. It won various prizes including Variety Critics’ Choice at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. It has been shown several times on BBC2 and was distributed by the IFC and Sundance Channel in the US.

Col’s second feature as writer/director, the relationship comedy Honeymooner (starring Gerard Kearns) was released in the UK by Soda Pictures and broadcast on BBC 1. He’s currently in post-production on the dramedy feature Marriage Material (starring Al Weaver).

More about Col Spector's films:

More about Col's documentary consultancy:

Nick Read – Producer, Director and Cameraman

Nick Read is an award-winning filmmaker with an extensive background in documentaries. He has produced and directed (and often filmed) over 60 full-length in more than 70 countries with some of the most highly regarded producers in the UK and US. Among those that received plaudits were the BAFTA-nominated Finest Hour (BBC1 2000), a prime time series about six defining months in British history; Inside Israel’s Jails (BBC2/CBS ’60 Minutes’ 2008), winner of Foreign Press Association’s top awards; the 3 times BAFTA nominated and winner of Rory Peck Award Slumdog Children of Mumbai (C4 2010) and, as cameraman, Walking Wounded (C4 2013), following photographer Giles Duley’s return to Afghanistan.

Over 25 years in the documentary trade, Nick has worked with the great and the good (Hunter S Thompsn, David Bowie, Edward Said, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey et al), and with a diverse cast of prison governors, captains of industry, sports stars, dissidents, militants, streetkids and serial killers.

Most recently he has specialised in making feature documentaries through his production company, Red Zed Films. The Condemned (BBC Storyville 2014), about a Russian prison exclusively for murderers, was described as ‘compulsive and a staggeringly well crafted masterpiece’ and was voted a Grierson award finalist.

Bolshoi Babylon (BBC/HBO/Altitude 2016) premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and was released theatrically in over 20 countries and in 100 UK cinemas. Long listed for best documentary for both Oscar and BAFTA awards, the film has been widely acclaimed by both press and audiences.

More about Nick:

Will Iredale - Sunday Times best-selling author, former Sunday Times journalist and Managing Director of Iredale Communications

Will Iredale is founder of Iredale Communications, a communications consultancy that offers its clients expert advice on profile raising, strategic media campaigns, and how to manage crises discreetly. His career includes many years as a journalist and latterly, he has enjoyed considerable success as an author, with his debut book becoming a Sunday Times best-seller.

Will founded Iredale Communications in 2013 having spent five years at MacLaurin Media, one of the most established media management brands at the time. He advised many of the UK’s leading businesses, entrepreneurs and brands, before acquiring the corporate, media and health division of the company to form Iredale Communications.

Previously, Will had spent nearly a decade working as a staff reporter at the Sunday Times - starting out on the paper’s foreign desk, before moving to home news to cover investigations, general news and business. Will has appeared on both national television and radio, and has contributed articles to a number of business and trade publications.

He also writes non-fiction books about war and conflict. His first book, The Kamikaze Hunters — which tells the story of the young British airmen who fought Japanese suicide pilots during the Second World War — was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller and has been published internationally. He is currently writing a new book about Bomber Command which will be published by Penguin in 2021.

More about Will and Iredale Communications: