Bafta TV awards: BBC sees off Netflix with surprise victory for Peaky Blinders


The Crown and Netflix struggled at the Bafta Television awards as the BBC’s Peaky Blinders took a surprise win in the best drama category and the big-spending streaming service managed only one major award despite leading the nominations.

Peaky Blinders saw off competition from Channel 4’s profane comic book adaptation End of the F***ing World and BBC’s Line of Duty, which along with The Crown was tipped to take the award.

Claire Foy again missed out in the lead actress category as Molly Windsor won for her performance in Three Girls. Sean Bean won lead actor for his role in the BBC’s Broken, beating Jack Rowan (Born To Kill), Joe Cole (Hang The DJ: Black Mirror) and Tim Pigott-Smith, who received a posthumous nomination for his performance in King Charles III.

Netflix’s only win came in the best supporting actress category, where Vanessa Kirby followed up her nomination last year with a win. Anna Friel (Broken), Julie Hesmondhalgh (Broadchurch) and Liv Hill (Three Girls) were also nominated.

Comedian and presenter Sue Perkins hosted the event and poked fun at The Crown’s gender pay dispute. “I don’t want to ignore the elephant in the room but on such an occasion I think it would be crass to discuss my fee,” she said. “But let me say I’ll just be putting in half the effort.”

She also turned a joke about Love Island into one about the Windrush Generation. “If you haven’t seen [Love Island], it’s about a group of people who are sent home from an island they love, that couldn’t happen in real life.”

There was also room for a joke about Harvey Weinstein and his alleged sexual assaults. “The fantastic Jodie Whittaker became the first female Doctor Who,” she said. “For me Jodie was the perfect choice because if this year has taught us one thing it’s that if anyone can fight off monsters it’s actors.”

Several winners dedicated their prizes to real-life people they portrayed. Brian F O’Byrne dedicated his win in the best supporting actor category, for Little Boy Blue, to the parents of Rhys Jones, the Liverpool school boy who was murdered in 2007.

The cast of Three Girls praised the social workers and police officers who risked their jobs, while accepting their award for the drama, which told the real story of abused and sexually exploited school girls from Rochdale. Murdered For Being Different also won in the single drama category and told the story of Sophie Lancaster who died in 2007 after being attacked by a gang.

It was not a successful night for diverse nominees. All the winners in the acting categories were white and none of the shows with majority black or minority ethnic casts were successful.

In comedy, This Country backed up its nominations with a win for best comedy while its star Daisy May Cooper took home the award for best female performance in a comedy programme. Toby Jones was a popular winner in the male performance in a comedy programme category for his role in Mackenzie Crooks’ The Detectorists. It was his first ever Bafta win.

Blue Planet II lost out in the specialist factual category with the documentary about the American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat taking the award ahead of Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents, Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain and Blue Planet II in a section completely dominated by the BBC.

John Motson was given a special award for his contribution to television on the same day he retired from football commentating. Former Manchester United and England footballer Rio Ferdinand won for his documentary about the death of his wife and coping as a single father.

Earlier, as guests were arriving, police were called when a man in his 20s was stabbed outside the National Theatre on the Southbank, London several hours before the Baftas began at the Royal Festival Hall nearby. The man was taken to hospital. Police said inquiries continue.

Leave a Reply