Tessa Mayes is a BAFTA award-winning writer and film reporter, director and producer. She specialises in privacy, free speech, freedom, the criminal justice system and politics.
Tessa has produced many scoops and brokered exclusive access to stories and interviewees. For example she was the first journalist in 2012 to film an interview with Abdel Hakim Belhaj, former leader of Tripoli's Military Council, in Libya. For The Sunday Times Tessa interviewed the first British-based kidney transplant patient to go public about buying a kidney abroad, an illegal practice in Britain. Her BBC Panorama documentary told the story of how criminal justice reforms continued to harm justice for people wrongly accused of serious crimes and who spoke about their experiences publicly for the first time on television.

Her first documentary feature film THE QUEEN & US (in post-production) is about the monarchy and democracy. It was chosen by Sheffield Documentary Festival for their training scheme at BAFTA (2009), was one of 10 feature films selected for Britdoc’s first matchmaking event at the Frontline Club (2011) and was selected by Sheffield Documentary Festival's Power Hour (2013).

Tessa won a BAFTA as part of a team for the BBC's Short Change investigative consumer series, won a Special Mention prize in Cosmopolitan magazine's Women of Achievement awards, and a George Weidenfeld International Journalism Programme award to work at Die Welt newspaper in Berlin, Germany. She co-authored a book which won a Japanese Festival book award, and was nominated for the Commission for Racial Equality's Race in the Media award (youth section) for an article published in The Guardian.

As a television reporter, director and associate producer Tessa has worked on investigative documentaries for BBC Panorama, BBC Short Change, ITV The Investigators, ITV The Cook Report, Channel 4 Sleepers undercover series, Channel 4 Cutting Edge, Channel 4 Lapdance Wars and Five Vampire Killers. Her news reports have been broadcast on Sky News, BBC Radio Foyle and LBC Radio.

Tessa is a guest contributor on BBC 4 Dinner with Portillo, BBC News, CNN, Sky News, More 4 and, BBC Radio 4 Start the Week, The Moral Maze and The Message.

She worked for several years for The Sunday Times, investigating stories for News, Insight and News Review. Tessa's news reports, investigative features, interviews, blogs and commentary appear in Wired magazine, The Times, The Guardian, The Observer, The Telegraph, The Spectator, New Statesman, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Criminal Bar Quarterly, British Journalism Review, Ethical Space, Die Welt, Spiked and Culture Wars. 

Tessa has given talks on free speech, privacy and politics at or by the Battle of Ideas conference at the Royal College of Art (RCA) and the Barbican, Westminster Media Forum, Adam Smith Institute, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London School of Economics (LSE), Lincoln University Department of Journalism, Edinburgh Book Festival, Edinburgh International TV Festival, the Global Summit on Data Protection, and the George Weidenfeld International Journalism Programme conference in Germany.

Campaigning reports on free speech, privacy and rights by Tessa Mayes include Disclosure: media freedom and the privacy debate after Diana, and Restraint or Revelation: free speech and privacy in a confessional age. 

Tessa has a BSc. in Politics and Philosophy. She is a graduate of City University's Department of Journalism in London and is currently finishing an MSc. in Research Methods. As a student Tessa was directed by Matthew Warchus at the Edinburgh Festival. She has attended Initialize Film's documentary feature film narrative course, the Dov S-S Simens Hollywood Film Institute Film Producer and Director course and, Raindance Film Festival's Screenwriters' Summit. She is a trained Apple FCP editor and Sony EX3 HD cameraman.