True Detective beat Netflix’s shows at the House of Fraser British Academy Television Awards last night on what proved to be a Marvellous night for first time winners.
After winning the International prize in 2014, Netflix was nominated for two awards this year in the same category, with Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards heading up the pack. Sky Atlantic’s True Detective, though, took home the gong, seeing off competition from More4’s The Good Wife.
The biggest star of the night, though, was Marvellous. In the Supporting Actress category, Gemma Jones, who was last nominated in 1977, received her first ever BAFTA, for the feature-length biopic of Neil Baldwin. Marvellous was also successful against strong competition in the Single Drama category.
Also topping the bill was The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, with Jason Watkins receiving a career-first BAFTA in the hotly contested Leading Actor category. The Peter Morgan-scripted drama, which tells the true story of the title character’s false accusation of murder and the media vilification that followed, also received the award for Mini-Series.
They set a trend for first-time BAFTA winners, with six out of seven performance gongs going to newcomers on the BAFTA stage.
In Female Performance in a Comedy Programme, Jessica Hynes received her first BAFTA for her role as PR-jargon queen Siobhan Sharpe in W1A, while Matt Berry toasted his success in Male Performance in a Comedy Programme for Toast of London.
Georgina Campbell won the BAFTA for Leading Actress for her harrowing portrayal of a victim of domestic abuse in the BBC Three drama, Murdered by My Boyfriend. Stephen Rea nabbed Supporting Actor for his role in the BBC’s political thriller, The Honourable Woman.
Other faces were far more familiar. For the second year running, there were two BAFTAs for Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway: a win in the Entertainment Programme category and in Entertainment Performance for Ant and Dec themselves, where the duo were nominated alongside Leigh Francis, Graham Norton and Claudia Winkleman.
The BAFTA for Comedy and Comedy Entertainment Programme was awarded to The Graham Norton Show, with ceremony host Graham handily on-stage to collect the award. The BAFTA for Soap and Continuing Drama, which recognises the talent required to deliver stories that hold an audience over days, weeks and months, was awarded to Coronation Street.
Following his BAFTA win at the British Academy Television Craft Awards a fortnight ago, Mackenzie Crook received the BAFTA for Scripted Comedy alongside Adam Tandy for Detectorists. Also repeating success from the Television Craft Awards was Sally Wainwright who, alongside her co-nominees, received the Drama Series BAFTA for rural kidnap thriller, Happy Valley.
Channel 4 fared well in factual programming: Grayson Perry: Who Are You? won for Specialist Factual, The Island with Bear Grylls was successful in its first series for Reality & Constructed Factual, and long-running architecture series, Grand Designs, received its first BAFTA, for Features. The BAFTA for Single Documentary was awarded to the compelling vigilante documentary, The Paedophile Hunter, while the award for Current Affairs went to Dispatches’ Children on the Frontline.
BBC Three reemphasised its important role in the UK TV landscape with a Factual Series win for Life and Death Row, which gained unprecedented access to US death row inmates. The award for News Coverage went to Sky News Live at Five: Ebola, while BBC Two’s WW1 Remembered – From the Battlefield & Westminster Abbey received the BAFTA for Sport & Live Event.
Included in the ceremony was a short filmed tribute to author, critic and broadcaster Clive James, featuring clips from his long and illustrious career, as well as footage of the presentation of his Special Award earlier this year. The tribute was led by Charlie Brooker.
The Special Award in honour of Alan Clarke was presented to Jeff Pope, one of the UK’s veteran producers and writers, whose career has seen him receive nine BAFTA nominations for titles including Mrs Biggs, Mo, Appropriate Adult, Philomena and this year’s BAFTA-nominated biopic, Cilla.
The Fellowship, the highest accolade the Academy bestows, was presented to journalist, news correspondent and presenter Jon Snow in recognition not just of how much he does know, but of an outstanding career spanning over 40 years in the industry. During that time, Jon Snow has reported to British audiences on many of the defining moments of the 20th and 21st centuries, including the release of Nelson Mandela, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States.
The Radio Times Audience Award, the only award voted for by the public, was won by Sherlock.
Photo: Jim Bridges/HBO