Brook Lapping is part of the Ten Alps group.
Ten Alps makes and sells great factual media – TV, online and print.
Brook Associates was founded in 1982, and merged with Brian Lapping Associates in 1997. The merged company is renowned for its landmark series on international politics from WATERGATE, THE DEATH OF YUGOSLAVIA, ENDGAME IN IRELAND and ISRAEL & THE ARABS: ELUSIVE PEACE to IRAN & THE WEST and for definitive series on British political leaders including Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. It has run Question Time for BBC1 and A Week in Politics for Channel 4.
In 2005, a consortium 70% owned by Brook Lapping won the contract to launch and run Teachers TV. Fully funded by the government, Teachers TV was a digital television service with broadband website providing professional development programmes for the schools’ workforce.
The first of Brook Lapping’s major international series, THE SECOND RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, was shown in 1991 in 31 countries. Leading figures, including Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev, tell the inside story of the revolution that destroyed Communism. The RTS citation described the eight one-hour programmes as "One of the most dazzling journalistic enterprises this year or any other year."
In 1994, WATERGATE, first broadcast on BBC-2 in the UK, won for Discovery US its largest audience ever for a documentary series. It went on to win an Emmy from the US Academy of Television, the Golden Gate Special Jury award at San Francisco, a gold plaque at Chicago, and the duPont Award for outstanding television journalism, the first non-US production to win a duPont. All of President’s Nixon’s closest colleagues describe how they engineered the biggest scandal in American Presidential history.
THE DEATH OF YUGOSLAVIA (1995), a six-part series in which Slobodan Milosevic, the other Yugoslav presidents and 60 of their generals, ministers, and rivals each told their part in how he rose to power and gave the world the term ‘ethnic cleansing’. Time Out chose this series as one of the ten best television series of the 20th century: “the series that rewrote the rules on how to cover wars and political history”. It was broadcast all over the world and repeated in most countries during the Kosovo war.
French journalist Jean Lacouture wrote in Nouvel Observateur: "The programmes on THE DEATH OF YUGOSLAVIA are not only a model of scholarship, editing and political interpretation, but a milestone: we will now speak of 'before Lapping' and 'after Lapping'. A very high standard has been set." The then controller of BBC-2, Michael Jackson, wrote: "It is quite simply the best documentary series on British television for aeons. It's a privilege to be able to show it."
THE DEATH OF YUGOSLAVIA won 16 major awards including: the duPont Gold Baton (of which only one is awarded each year), the Royal Television Society’s Judges' Award (of which, again, only one is awarded each year), Broadcast magazine’s best independent producer award, the Indie award for the best independent production, the San Francisco Golden Spire, the Broadcasting Press Guild best documentary series award, a Peabody Award for, in the words of the citation, "a unique journalistic achievement which is perhaps the definitive record of the events associated with the dissolution of a nation", a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award, a New York Gold Medal, the top award of the International Federation of Television Archives, and several more.
IRAN & THE WEST was first broadcast on BBC2 in February 2009. It dissects the key moments in the thirty years of the West’s turbulent relationship with Iran told by the key participants themselves including President Jimmy Carter, Iran’s President Rafsanjani and Khatami, 8 foreign ministers, their generals and top advisers. Best Documentary Series - Grierson Awards, Television Documentary Award - One World Media, Best Current Affairs Series - History Makers New York, Peabody.
Other productions broadcast internationally include:
ELUSIVE PEACE; ISRAEL AND THE ARABS (2005 3 x 60 minutes) in which Bill Clinton, Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat, Ehud Barak and their generals, ministers and advisers tell what happened behind closed doors as peace talks gave way to the violence of the intifada). Voted 2005 Programme of the Year by the Royal Television Society, also won a duPont award.
THE FALL OF MILOSEVIC (2003, 3 x 90 minutes) on the Serb President and how he came to trial in The Hague).
AVENGING TERROR (2002, 2 x 60 minutes) on how Bush and his cabinet first decided then implemented their response to 9/11, with insider accounts from world leaders including President Putin, President Musharraf, Tony Blair, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. Shown in 25 countries and winner of Royal Television Society journalism award for International Current Affairs.
ENDGAME IN IRELAND (2001, 4 x 60 minutes) (in which three British Prime Ministers, four Irish, one US President and the leaders of the parties and the terror movements in Northern Ireland describe the road to peace) .
PLAYING THE CHINA CARD (1999, 2 x 60 minutes) (on how Nixon and Mao Tse Tung - and successors - bridged their ideological divide. Peabody Award)
HOSTAGE (3 x 60 minutes) (on the seizure of westerners in Beirut and how their governments responded.
THE 50 YEARS WAR, ISRAEL AND THE ARABS. (1998, 6 x 60 minutes on the Arab-Israeli conflict from 1948 to 1998).
THE MONEY CHANGERS (3 x 60 minutes) (on the history of Monetary Union in Europe)
DEATH OF APARTHEID (3 x 60 minutes) (on the deals and clashes that brought Mandela from prison to power)
FALL OF THE WALL (3 x 60 minutes) (on the Berlin bouleversement of November 1989)
THE WASHINGTON VERSION (3 x 60 minutes) (in which President George Bush Senior's war cabinet told the inside story of how they managed the 1991 Gulf War)
COUNTDOWN TO WAR 90 minute drama, based on transcripts of meetings between leaders before the 2nd World with Ian McKellan as Hitler ITV 1989.
Brook Lapping’s documentaries on British politics have a comparable record of telling unique, exclusive insider stories.
GORDON BROWN: WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG? (2008 – Channel 4) In the first account of its kind on television, Andrew Rawnsley, examines the pivotal moments of Gordon Brown’s first year as Prime Minister. It features exclusive interviews with Cabinet ministers, intimates and opponents who reveal how Gordon Brown reacted to the challenges of moving to No. 10.
THE RISE AND FALL OF TONY BLAIR (2006 - Channel 4 and PBS) revealed that Cherie Blair had repeatedly advised her husband to sack his Chancellor, Gordon Brown; it included a senior official saying that for anyone in the Treasury to co-operate with Number 10 was “the kiss of death”; and Tony Blair’s chief political adviser saying he was unsure if his government would win a key Commons vote, because he did not know “whether Gordon is going to instruct his supporters to vote for the measure or not.”
MAGGIE: THE FIRST LADY (2003 – ITV and PBS, New York Festivals, Gold WorldMedal) has girls who went to school with Margaret Thatcher describe how humourless, ambitious and cold she was. When her music teacher said she was lucky to win a piano-playing prize, young Maggie replied, “I deserved it.”) Her personal assistant in 10 Downing Street, Cynthia Crawford, quotes Mrs T telling her, after defeating Arthur Scargill in the miners’ strike: “People tell me I shouldn’t gloat. Well I am gloating.”
The company’s growing output of non-political programmes includes:
OCEAN OF FEAR (2007), gave Discovery its highest-rated premiere Shark Week episode for over 20 years (also broadcast by Channel 4).
THE FLIGHT THAT FOUGHT BACK (2005), a docudrama about United Airlines Flight 93 on 9-11, won Discovery US the third highest audience in its history (also broadcast in the UK by Five).
The BBC, in reviewing its own plans for the future, described Brook Lapping’s programmes as "a genre of documentary which retells momentous events from the recent past with meticulous objectivity and with most or all of the principal actors recording their version of what happened: the narratives that emerged were revelations."
9/11, DAY THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, a feature-length documentary commissioned by ITV1, the Smithsonian Channel US, France 3 and NHK Japan for the 10th anniversary was ITV’s third highest rating documentary for 2011. In the US it trebled the usual audience for the slot and the repeat in Japan secured their highest audience of the year and is among the highest in NHK’s programme history. The story of September 11 2001 was told first-hand by America’s chief decision-makers and included interviews with Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Rudy Guliani and Laura Bush. The Times (UK): “This is the one to watch. Made by the peerless Brook Lapping production company, it gives an electrifying inside account, minute by minute, of how the US Administration reacted to the unfolding events of 9/11. ... There is even footage from inside Air Force One. This is an unfamiliar and jaw-dropping perspective on the day that changed the world. “ The Wall Street Journal: “Out of memories, quiet reflection - and of course the pictures - the history of that day, which fills American hearts with an enduring rate, comes to searing life."
Brook Lapping Radio was launched in 2004, chiefly producing programmes for BBC Radio 4.
LENNON THE WENNER TAPES, presented by Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner and Yoko Ono, showcased unbroadcast tapes of John Lennon - probably the most revealing interview of his career. It won a Sony Gold in the UK and a Gold Music Feature Award at the New York Festivals Radio Programming Awards in 2006. ‘Not No One: The Story of the Unknown Soldier’, broadcast on Radio 4 on Armistice Day, won a Silver for History in the same competition.
Brian Walden’s A POINT OF VIEW, which took over from Alistair Cooke’s high-profile ‘Letter From America’ slot ran for three series.
FALKLANDS: WAR AT THE WHITE HOUSE - was broadcast on the 25th anniversary of the conflict, and went on to win a Silver Historyaward at the International Radio Broadcasting Awards in 2008.
I SHOULD BE PROUD, which explored soul music in the context of Civil Rights and the Vietnam war, was the overall winner of the 2008 International Radio Broadcasting Awards in New York and collected both Gold and Grand awards.