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Roger Graef, acclaimed TV documentary filmmaker, dies aged 85 | Television

Veteran documentary filmmaker Roger Graef has died aged 85, Channel 4 has announced on behalf of his family.

The award-winning producer and writer has had a successful career in the US and UK, making films on a wide range of social justice topics for all major UK broadcasters.

Graef died peacefully on Wednesday surrounded by his family, Channel 4 reported.

He was known for documentaries such as One Of Them Is Brett, State Of The Nation: A Law In The Making and Police, and has made over 30 documentaries about the police and justice system in the UK.

Graef received the prestigious Bafta scholarship in 2004.

Roger Graef was famous for his documentaries on social justice issues. Photography: Martin Argles/The Guardian

As well as hard-hitting documentaries, he also directed a number of television specials, including Amnesty International’s first three comedy galas between 1976 and 1979.

He directed the first Secret Policeman’s Ball and co-produced the first Comic Relief with Richard Curtis in 1985.

A visiting professor at Oxford University, Graef was a regular writer for major UK publications including the Guardian and Observer, the Sunday Times, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday.

He was also a regular contributor on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 live.

In 1982 Graef became a founding board member of Channel 4 and also served on the board of the Media Standards Trust.

Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said the director was “one of the most original and influential documentary makers in broadcasting” and believed in Channel 4’s mandate which “in his own words was” committed to creativity and risk-taking in film, ‘drama, comedy, documentaries and news,’ he said.

“Beyond his contribution to Channel 4, his vast documentary legacy has helped inform and change people’s views on some of the most difficult aspects of British society and its private and public institutions.

“Roger was a pleasure to chat with, to be pushed and provoked by and his love for television and culture shone through in every conversation.

“He once said he wanted his epitaph to be that he was making a difference. Without a doubt, Roger did just that.

Graef was born in New York, USA in April 1936 before moving to the UK in 1962. He became a British citizen in 1992.