‘Happy Valley’ wins big at BAFTAs – ‘The Crown’ loses out at TV awards

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Actress Joanna Lumley poses with her Fellowship Award at the British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall in London on May 14. (AP)

LONDON, May 15, (RTRS): BBC police drama ‘Happy Valley’ was the big winner at Britain’s BAFTA awards recognizing excellence in television, beating on Sunday heavily-tipped Netflix drama ‘The Crown’.

The series took the Best Drama prize, and its leading actress Sarah Lancashire also pipped ‘The Crown’ star Claire Foy to the best actress award at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards.

The Netflix royal drama had been nominated for five awards, but failed to pick any up on the night, with actors John Lithgow, Jared Harris and Vanessa Kirby losing out in their respective acting categories.

US actor Cuba Gooding Jr. was on hand to accept the International award on behalf of “The People Vs. OJ Simpson: American crime story,” in which he played the title role, beating out Netflix’s critically-acclaimed “Stranger Things”, and Amazon’s “Transparent”.

Adeel Akhtar took the honours for best actor in “Murdered By My Father”, a BBC drama focused on an honour killing in a British-Asian family. He beat out competition from actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Robbie Coltrane.

Actress Joanna Lumley accepted the BAFTA Fellowship award, a prize for lifetime achievement, from her “Absolutely Fabulous” co-star Jennifer Saunders, and delighted the crowd by briefly slipping into her character from the show during her acceptance speech.

Speaking to reporters on the red carpet before the event, Lumley hailed the standards in the modern television industry.

“Terrific standards both in acting and production values and everything so really thrilling — really, really good. It’s just that I think it’s so diffused now, so spread out that sometimes you go through rather sulkily going ‘Oh there’s nothing on television tonight’. What? Look again,” she said.

Foy came away empty-handed for a second consecutive year in the leading actress category, having been nominated last year for “Wolf Hall” but losing to “Doctor Foster’s” Suranne Jones. In her acceptance speech, Lancashire acknowledged Foy, a Golden Globe winner for her role as a young Queen Elizabeth II, saying: “Claire Foy, you’ve given me my best 10 hours under a duvet.”

It was a good night for the BBC’s “Planet Earth II.” The natural history program, which is presented by David Attenborough, won the award for Specialist Factual and also BAFTA’s Must See Moment award, the only prize decided by the public.

BBC one-off drama “Damilola, Our Loved Boy,” also claimed two awards. The Minnow Films production won in the best single drama category and took best supporting actress for Wunmi Mosaku.

Tom Hollander won best supporting actor for his role in “The Night Manager,” which had been the acclaimed drama’s only nomination. Hollander beat out “The Crown’s” Lithgow and Harris, who had been nominated for their roles as Winston Churchill and King George VI, respectively. Daniel Mays had also been nominated for “Line of Duty.” “This was a really fun job and a great part,” said Hollander.

Host Sue Perkins, presenting the awards show for the first time, drew early attention to industry and public surprise at “The Night Manager’s” lack of nominations when they were announced on April 11. Talking about what a strong year it had been for television, the former “Great British Bake-Off” co-host received strong applause when she said, “’The Night Manager’ was a hell of a show. It’s not nominated, but it was a hell of a show.”

Steve Coogan won best male performance in a comedy program. It was Coogan’s fifth BAFTA Television Award and his third for playing Partridge, following wins in 1998 and 2013. He also won a BAFTA Film Award for adapted screenplay in 2014, alongside Jeff Pope, for “Philomena.”

Full Winners List

* Leading actor: Adeel Akhtar — “Murdered by My Father”

* Leading actress: Sarah Lancashire — “Happy Valley”

* Supporting actor: Tom Hollander — “The Night Manager”

* Supporting actress: Wunmi Mosaku — “Damilola, Our Loved Boy”

* Drama series: “Happy Valley”

* Comedy & comedy entertainment programme: “Charlie Brooker’s 2016 Wipe”

* Entertainment performance: Michael McIntyre — “Michael McIntyre’s Big Show”

* Entertainment programme: “Michael McIntyre’s Big Show”

* Male performance in a comedy programme: Steve Coogan — “Alan Partridge’s Scissored Isle”

* Female performance in a comedy programme: Phoebe Waller-Bridge — “Fleabag”

* Reality & constructed factual: “Muslims Like Us”

* Scripted comedy: “People Just Do Nothing”

* Features: “Who Do You Think You Are?”

* Current affairs: “Teenage Prison Abuse Exposed”

* Factual series: “Exodus: Our Journey to Europe”

* International: “The People v OJ Simpson”

* Live event: “The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration”

* Mini-series: “National Treasure”

* News coverage: “Victoria Derbyshire”

* Single documentary: “Hillsborough”

* Single drama: “Damilola, Our Loved Boy”

* Soap & continuing drama: “Emmerdale”

* Specialist factual: “Planet Earth II”

* Sport: “The Open”

* Virgin TV’s must-see moment: “Planet Earth II” — Snakes vs Iguana Chase”


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