The TV BAFTAs were held last night at the Theatre Royal, in London’s Drury Lane. The event showcased some incredible talent, winners, runners-up and some very important speeches. Here is the full round-up, with the nominees who scooped the trophy and those I think ‘was robbed’…
Nominees: Murdered By My Boyfriend, Common, A Poet In New York, Marvellous
My Winner: Murdered By My Boyfriend
Marvellous was, unsurprisingly, marvellous. Plus, the acceptance speech given was one of many that chimed beautifully with current events, highlighting the contribution to society that anyone can and should make. But for me, Murdered By My Boyfriend stood out. A profoundly moving and, at times quite innovative, drama.
Nominees: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries, Our World War, Prey, Cilla
Winner: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries
My Winner: Cilla
I have a confession – I never even knew The Lost Honour existed! That one completely passed me by! And here I am pretending to know stuff about TV. Let’s slap me on the wrist and move on. But Cilla was my winner – a lovely, heart-warming drama with a glorious lead, Sheridan Smith.
Nominees: Adeel Akhtar Utopia, James Norton Happy Valley, Ken Stott The Missing, Stephen Rea The Honourable Woman
Winner: Stephen Rea
My Winner: Stephen Rea
On the rarest of nights, when the moon and the planets and the stars all align in a precise and delicate formation, BAFTA and Graham Eveleigh agree on something! And last night it happened! Rea is an amazing actor, in turns impish, other-worldly, sharp and sweet. His role was one of the stand out elements of last year’s The Honourable Woman, and he was absolutely right to praise Hugo Blick in his speech for masterminding the drama, too. (Special mention to James Norton who made a harrowing villain in Happy Valley.)
Nominees: Vicky McClure Line of Duty, Amanda Redman Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This, Charlotte Spencer Glue, Gemma Jones Marvellous
Winner: Gemma Jones
My Winner: Gemma Jones
Looking quite resplendent in a sort of Aztec frock is one of the many reasons to love Gemma Jones. Marvellous was one, Madame Pomfrey is another, but to me she will always be Bridget Jones’s hilarious mother. Well-deserved.
Nominees: Peaky Blinders, Happy Valley, Line of Duty Series 2, The Missing
Winner: Happy Valley
My Winner (snubbed!): The Honourable Woman, Doctor Who
Yes, BAFTA is fond of a ‘snub’, and both of the above dramas were neglected in this category. This is especially cruel as the amazing Maggie Gyllenhaal was left out of the Leading Actress shortlist, and Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman were ignored too. They and their shows deserved that recognition.
However, Happy Valley caught unprecedented attention and it did have a spark about it, so it is a worthy winner. Special mention to Valley’s excellent director, Euros Lyn.
(For my full review of Peaky Blinders Series 1, go to: https://grahameveleigh.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/the-bad-seeds/.)
Nominees: Cilla, EastEnders, Game of Thrones, The Great British Bake Off, The Missing, Sherlock Series 3, Strictly Come Dancing
Winner: Sherlock Series 3
My Winner: EastEnders
The only award here voted for by the viewers at home! Sherlock is a juggernaut of a drama, but personally I would have liked to see Strictly with the trophy (in tribute to Claudia’s inaugural year on the show), or EastEnders. The show’s 30th anniversary, their live week and Lucy whodunnit, produced drama as bold, special and thrilling as any other show this year. It was a tremendous achievement and I’m saddened that the soap was not honoured for it.
For an article that does honour EastEnders at 30, go to: https://grahameveleigh.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/happy-birthday-eastenders/
Nominees: Sarah Lancashire Happy Valley, Georgina Campbell Murdered By My Boyfriend, Keeley Hawes Line of Duty, Sheridan Smith Cilla
Winner: Georgina Campbell
My Winner: ALL
As last year, all of these actresses deserved the award. Hawes in particular is always such a strong presence on screen, and Smith and Lancashire are mainstays of this category – which proves their continuing significance and outstanding contribution to British drama. I’m sure we’ll be seeing Smith in this category again next year for the recent C Word, in which she was glorious. Congratulations to rising star Campbell.
Nominees: Toby Jones Marvellous, Jason Watkins The Lost Honour, James Nesbitt The Missing, Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock
Winner: Jason Watkins
My Winner: Benedict Cumberbatch
Before we move onto the comedy awards, the BAFTAs paid tribute to some extraordinary talents who left us in the last year. Special mention goes to the supremely underrated Lynda Bellingham, EastEnders‘ John Bardon, Warren Clarke, Rik Mayall, a wonderful Marple Geraldine McEwan, and the Weatherfield One: Anne Kirkbride. Always remember, jelly shouldn’t run, it should wobble!!!! All will be missed.
Comedy Entertainment Programme
Nominees: Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe, The Graham Norton Show, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, Would I Lie To You?
Winner: The Graham Norton Show
My Winner: Undecided…
Graham Norton is fantastic. Charlie Brooker I never really watch, but I think that’s because as a handsome writer and critic he is everything I’m not and want to be, so I sort of hate him. Stewart Lee I really enjoy, but it’s Would I Lie To You?, out of them all, that I’m most likely to stick on for a laugh.
Nominees: Harry & Paul’s Story of the Twos, Detectorists, Moone Boy, The Wrong Mans
Winner: Harry & Paul’s Story of the Twos
My Winner: Harry & Paul’s Story of the Twos
In case W1A didn’t fill your appetite for self-reflexive BBC comedy, Harry and Paul gave us more. These comedy are a testament to the extent to which the BBC is both a cornerstone of British culture, and a sound modern institution that can broadcast its own criticisms. This was one of those ‘finds’ on iPlayer for me. You’re looking for something to watch and you stumble upon it, not having read a write-up or been directed there. And what a find!
Male Performance In A Comedy
Nominees: Tom Hollander Rev, Matt Berry Toast of London, Brendan O’Carroll Mrs Brown’s Boys, Hugh Bonnerville W1A
Winner: Matt Berry
My Winner: Hugh Bonneville
^ He should have won for this hilarious moment alone. But no, W1A is a brilliant comedy and Bonneville is an important part of that. More and more on the show he is proving he is not just the Straight Man to the funny ensemble. (Yes, no, brilliant. So that’s all good.)
Also, I would have loved to have been a fly on the BAFTA meeting room wall when they sat around debating whether or not the cross-dressing Mrs Brown falls in this category or the next. Maybe he/she should have been nominated in both?
For my full review of W1A Series 1 go to: https://grahameveleigh.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/how-much-we-value-the-idea-of-valuing-values/
Female Performance In A Comedy
Nominees: Tamsin Greig Episodes, Olivia Colman Rev, Catherine Tate Catherine Tate’s Nan, Jessica Hynes W1A
Winner: Jessica Hynes
My Winner: All, but above all: Jessica Hynes
This is one of those categories where all of the shortlisted nominees deserved to win. I adore Catherine Tate (recently at the top of her game in The Vote), Tamsin Grieg is a star, and there’s no point complimenting Olivia Colman because any superlative has already been used for her, hundreds of times. But for her hilarious turn in W1A, and especially for what she said in her speech, Jessica Hynes deserved this.
Hynes – like most of the Theatre Royal by the sounds of it, and it seems most of the country – is worried. There were a few vague references to the election, but it was Hynes who took a stand. “I am from a single-parent family, and my mum was a full-time worker to support me,” she told us. “I’m really worried about the cuts that are coming to state education for people in low-income families. Because I don’t think low income means low talent or low education or low intelligence.” Hynes used her speech to direct us straight to an organisation that is working against this, Arts Emergency. “Without organisations like that, [and the] people who have supported me all the way through my career, I wouldn’t be here.”
Hynes’s brave words were not unfounded, nor were they mere scaremongering, as has been so rife in the news of late. The Arts are always under threat by a public who under-appreciates them, especially when purses are squeezed. And by “The Arts”, I am not being lofty. I’m talking about EastEnders, your TV, your comedies, your already-cut-to-the-bone British film industry, your theatres, your education and your enlightenment. These are fundamental parts of who we are and how we live; drama can be respite and remedy, and without the right systems in place to allow all to participate – and all to enjoy – it is compromised.
Which brings me onto a related worry, or “Leftie rant” as the ignorant might call it. In presenting the award for Mini Series, Jason Isaacs gave a brilliant speech about the merits of short drama and, essentially, the British mode of drama. This is a theme always prevalent in these ceremonies – I wrote about it at length last year and I have no qualms about doing so again. These perceptions are dangerous. The perception that a TV drama is not worth our time if it does not last for 24 (or even 12) episodes a year. Or that it will not be a good TV drama if it does not have billions of dollars behind it. Or simply that it will not be as good if it is not American, or Nordic. There is some incredible, bold, diverse, talent-soaked, dynamic drama coming out of Britain. I don’t just mean the ones for which the US give their stamp of approval (Doctor Who, Sherlock). I don’t just mean the ones the critics tell us to like, Happy Valley or Broadchurch. It’s things like Murdered By My Boyfriend. With minimal fanfare, this show snuck onto BBC Three at 10pm, but it is wonderful. British TV drama, particularly the stellar stuff coming from the BBC, is under threat from cuts and these cuts, in part, come from ignorance.
That’s why the BAFTAs are important; tonight, we defend the institution, and we celebrate.
For the round-up of last year’s awards, go to: https://grahameveleigh.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/television-baftas-2014-my-winners-and-losers/