Two BBC TV dramas have each won three prizes at this year’s Broadcasting Press Guild Awards, voted for by journalists who write about television and radio and sponsored by Virgin Media.
A Very English Scandal (BBC One), about the Jeremy Thorpe affair, has won the award for Best Single Drama/Mini Series and Hugh Grant, who played the former Liberal leader, was named Best Actor. Russell T Davies, who wrote the script from the book by John Preston, won the Best Writer award.
The glossy serial-killer drama Killing Eve (BBC America) has been voted Best Drama Series and its star Jodie Comer was named best actress. It also won the Best Online First/Streaming Award, having been shown as a BBC Three boxed set on BBC iPlayer, ahead of its transmission on BBC One.
The 45th BPG Awards lunch took place today at Banking Hall in the City of London, attended by the winners, BPG members and leading broadcasting executives. (Full list of winners below). The BPG Awards – given only for work commissioned or produced in the UK – are highly prized by programme-makers because they are selected independently by TV and radio correspondents, critics and previewers.
Jake Kanter, BPG Chair, said: “These awards are now a 45-year-old institution, and we think they are the most democratic in the land. No tedious judging panels, no political lobbying, just a list of the best TV and radio shows of 2018, voted for by people whose job it is to write about TV and radio for a living. In fact, this year, we had a record number of votes, which is testament to the enduring qualities of the BPG and the brilliance of the output.
“Drama’s hot streak continued. We had killer antiheroes, political subterfuge, and dangerous trysts.
Elsewhere, five kids from Derry created history in Northern Ireland, two jokers went fishing and hooked an unexpected hit, and the retelling of one unthinkable murder shocked the nation all over again.”
Channel Four has won the award for Best Comedy with Derry Girls and BBC Two’s Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing was named Best Entertainment programme. The Netflix drama Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, created by Charlie Brooker, won the BPG Award for Innovation. Brooker was there to accept his award, as were Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse.
Stephen: The Murder that Changed a Nation (BBC One) was named Best Documentary Series and Grenfell (BBC Two) won the award for Best Single Documentary. Stephen Lawrence’s mother, Baroness Lawrence, and two members of Grenfell United, Karin Mussihy and Kat Sladden collected their respective awards alongside the programme makers.
The Best of Multichannel Award, which goes to one of the non-PSB programmes shortlisted in the drama, documentaries, comedy and entertainment categories, went to the drama Patrick Melrose (Sky Atlantic).
Lauren Laverne was named Radio Broadcaster of the Year, for her work on BBC Radio 6 Music as well as Desert Island Discs and Late Night Woman’s Hour, both on BBC Radio 4.
The chair of the BPG radio jury, Julian Clover, said: “Our winner moves seamlessly between speech and music radio. She’s been tasked with presenting two of the big beasts of Radio 4… and, after presenting the mid morning show on BBC Radio 6 Music, her move to breakfast was described by one of our judges as a big step forward for the music content and a welcome step away from obligatory breakfast banter.”
The award for Radio Programme of the Year went to Tara and George, presented by Audrey Gillan (BBC Radio 4), which explores the lives of two people in their late forties who sleep rough in London. And the Podcast of the Year award went to Hip Hop Saved My Life with Romesh Ranganathan.
Among several special awards made by the BPG executive committee, sports presenter and football pundit Alex Scott won the Breakthrough Award for her work with BBC Sport and Sky Sports.
The BPG Chairman’s Award, chosen by this year’s BPG Chair Jake Kanter, recognised the impact of Big Brother on UK television. The citation said: “The reality TV behemoth gave rise to countless copycat formats and became a training ground for the industry’s top creatives, as well as making household names out of the likes of Dermot O’Leary & Davina McCall. It was a defining hit for Channel 4, gave a fresh lease of life to Channel 5 and proved its durability and value to producer EndemolShine Group.”
Nicholas Parsons CBE received the Harvey Lee Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting, and attended the lunch with members of his family. As previously announced, the award recognises his seven decades of TV and radio entertainment, and in particular his contribution to one of the BBC’s longest-running programmes, Just A Minute on BBC Radio 4, which he has chaired for over 50 years.