BAFTA TV Awards 2020 – Winners and Reaction

The full list of winners is in and the detailed list is below.

After last years show got it so right with big wins for Killing Eve and Patrick Melrose, this years (delayed) BAFTA TV awards may go down as one of the most random and unjust awards shows in recent history. Obviously, everyone has their own personal likes and most of this reaction is specifically from mine, but I have also seen strong industry and public backlash to these awards.

I will write a quick reaction under each category but I need to make clear up here that ‘Fleabag’ losing to ‘Stath Lets Flats’ and therefore finishing without ever winning a best comedy BAFTA, and also the Sky Cricket coverage losing to the ITV Rugby coverage, are both absolutely inexcusable results that make no sense to be and leave a really poor taste in the mouth.

Best Drama Series 

THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD Production Team – Clerkenwell Films, Dominic Buchanan Productions/Channel 4/Netflix

Reaction – While the season didn’t leave up to season 1’s quality, it was still very fun and I don’t mind it winning, but I do feel that ‘Gentleman Jack’ or ‘The Crown’ would have been more deserving of the prize.

Best Single Drama 

THE LEFT BEHIND Alan Harris, Joseph Bullman, Aysha Rafaele, Tracie Simpson – BBC Studios/BBC Three

Reaction – I’m glad the Dominic Cummings propaganda of ‘Brexit: The Uncivil War’ didn’t win here, but it is tough to see ‘Elizabeth Is Missing’ lose out in this category.

Best Mini-Series 

CHERNOBYL Production Team – Sister Pictures, The Mighty Mint, Word Games, HBO/Sky Atlantic

Reaction – Despite the emotional devastation on show in ‘The Virtues’, ‘Chernobyl’ is a masterpiece and very much the inevitable and deserving winner in this category.

Best Soap or Continuing Drama

EMMERDALE Production Team – ITV Studios/ITV

Reaction – With two of the four shows nominated being hospital set dramas, and these awards taking place during an unprecedented global pandemic, I am surprised one of those shows wasn’t rewarded but Emmerdale is a solid winner.

Best Lead Actor

JARED HARRIS Chernobyl – Sister Pictures, The Mighty Mint, Word Games, HBO/Sky Atlantic

Reaction – This was very much a two horse race, and while I cannot fault Jared Harris’ win here after the great performance he gave in ‘Chernobyl’, Stephen Graham is long overdue a BAFTA and you would be hard pressed to find a more heart breaking and human performance that what Graham delivered in ‘The Virtues, and it is a shame he wasn’t rewarded for it.

Best Lead Actress

GLENDA JACKSON Elizabeth is Missing – STV Productions/BBC One

Reaction – All the women in this category would have been deserving of the awards but the legendary Jackson’s return to TV after decades away was always going to be a big deal, but her performance as an aging woman battling dementia was remarkable and absolutely deserved the win.

Best Supporting Actor

WILL SHARPE Giri/Haji – Sister Pictures/BBC Two

Reaction – Stellan Skarsgard or Josh O’Connor, specifically O’Connor, can feel very hard done by here, but congratulations to Sharpe on his win.

Best Supporting Actress

NAOMI ACKIE The End of the F***ing World – Clerkenwell Films, Dominic Buchanan Productions/Channel 4

Reaction – I think Naomi Ackie is a talented actress and it wasn’t a particularly strong category, but I didn’t like her specific performance in this show that much, but I am not surprised she got the win.

Best Male Comedy Performance

JAMIE DEMETRIOU Stath Lets Flats – Roughcut TV/Channel 4

Reaction – Ncuti Gatwa was absolutely robbed.

Best Female Comedy Performance

SIAN CLIFFORD Fleabag – Two Brothers Pictures/BBC Three

Reaction – Sian Clifford’s performance in ‘Fleabag’, especially season two, is pure comedic perfection and I am so delighted she was rewarded for that here.

Best Scripted Comedy

STATH LETS FLATS Jamie Demetriou, Tom Kingsley, Seb Barwell, Ash Atalla – Roughcut TV/Channel 4

Reaction – This is the biggest robbery in the show. ‘Fleabag’ ending without a best comedy win will go down as one of the biggest shocks ever, and even if they didn’t want to give it to give it to ‘Fleabag’ then the equally superb ‘Derry Girls’ is right there.

Best Comedy Entertainment Programme

TASKMASTER Alex Horne, Andy Devonshire, Andy Cartwright, James Taylor – Avalon Television/Dave

Reaction – No issues with this win but personally would have given it to the always great ‘The Graham Norton Show’.

Best Entertainment Performance

MO GILLIGAN The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan – Expectation, Momo G/Channel 4

Reaction – A win for Frankie Boyle would’ve been not only totally deserved but sent shockwaves through the awards body itself.

Best Entertainment Programme

STRICTLY COME DANCING Production Team – BBC Studios/BBC One

Reaction – The inevitable winner.

Best Factual Series

LEAVING NEVERLAND Dan Reed – Amos Pictures/Channel 4

Reaction – The inevitable winner but hugely controversial nevertheless.

Best Specialist Factual 

YORKSHIRE RIPPER FILES: A VERY BRITISH CRIME STORY Liz Williams, Jasmine McNabb, Nancy Bornat, Leanne Klein – Wall to Wall Media/BBC Four

Reaction – ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’ was a stunning achievement and just because these high quality Attenborough narrated documentaries are becoming so frequent, shouldn’t mean we take them for granted.

Best Single Documentary 

THE LAST SURVIVORS Production Team – Minnow Films/BBC Two

Reaction – N/A

Best Feature 

THE MISADVENTURES OF ROMESH RANGANATHAN Emily Hudd, Morgan Roberts, Christopher Cottam – Rumpus Media/BBC Two

Reaction – Romesh seems to be everywhere right now and fair play to him for earning a win here.

Best Reality and Constructed Factual 

RACE ACROSS THE WORLD Production Team – Studio Lambert/BBC Two

Reaction – Not a particularly strong category but a deserving winner.

Best Live Event 

BLUE PLANET LIVE Production Team – BBC Studios Natural History Unit, Open University, BBC Learning/BBC One

Reaction – The obvious and deserved winner.

Best News Coverage 

HONG KONG PROTESTS Production Team – Sky News/Sky News

Reaction – The BBC coverage of the Prince Andrew scandal was spectacular TV and remarkable that Emily Maitlis’ triumph wasn’t rewarded.

Best Current Affairs 

UNDERCOVER: INSIDE CHINA’S DIGITAL GULAG (EXPOSURE) Robin Barnwell, David Henshaw, Guy Creasey, Gesbeen Mohammad – Hardcash Productions/ITV

Reaction – Any winner in this strong category would have been well deserved.

Best Sport 

2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP FINAL: ENGLAND V SOUTH AFRICA Phil Heslop, David Francis, Mark Demuth, Paul McNamara – ITV Sport/ITV

Reaction – This is one of the most undeserved wins in BAFTA history, as the iconic Sky coverage of one of the most remarkable sporting moments in history (England’s win in the Cricket World Cup final Super Over) is somehow defeated by the entirely underwhelming Rugby coverage, and feels like it was voted on by people who never watched either event.

Best Short Form Programme

BRAIN IN GEAR Gbemisola Ikumelo, Fergal Costello, Inez Gordon – BBC Studios/BBC iPlayer

Reaction – No issues with this winner.

Best International Programme

WHEN THEY SEE US Production Team – Participant Media, Tribeca Productions, Harpo Films, Array Filmworks/Netflix

Reaction – A really strong and important winner from a packed category.

Must-See Moment

GAVIN AND STACEY Nessa Proposes to Smithy – Baby Cow Productions/BBC One

Reaction – The moment that had most of the nation shocked on Christmas Day and is the only winner that there could have been here.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005) – TV Review

‘It’s Always Sunny’ is now the joint (and soon to be) longest running live action sitcom in American history, but if you had told me or anyone watching or involved in the show that this would be the case fifteen years after that first season, not one person would have believed you.

The season is incredibly low budget, shot in an almost documentary observational style with very gritty visuals, and features story lines so potentially offensive and controversial that you would imagine no show could get away with it, especially in the first season.

However, the two things that makes that really gripped me and made me instantly a big fan of the show is the really clever writing and the brilliant chemistry of the lead cast.

Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, and Kaitlin Olson all have much instant and natural comedic energy, and bounce off each other so well that it is often hard to take your eyes off the screen. Day in particular here really has a special and live-wire energy to him that feels entirely new and exciting.

As the seasons progress, the show becomes one of the most genuinely well written and hilarious American shows ever made, but for many the first season is the one you have to “get through” before it gets really good. However, don’t rule out some of the memorable moments from this first season.

Now time for season 2 and the appearance of a certain Mr. DeVito…

Rating = 3/5

Hillary (2020) – TV Review

Hillary Clinton is one of the most recognisable and divisive figures in political history, and since the the remarkable media firestorm of the 2016 election she has taken a back seat in recent years, but she comes storming back to popular culture here with this four part documentary from director Nanette Burstein.

The story flits back and forth in the timeline from present day to past as it goes through, but it does also gradually tell the story of her life from college through to the 2016 election. It’s a story many people already know but seeing it all presented this way can still be effective (and the opening credits feature a brilliant song choice and great visuals).

One thing about the documentary is it confirms Hillary hasn’t changed at all, and will for her supporters confirm the fact she is the best President America never had, and for her detractors will just further re-enforce how stubborn and adamant in her own beliefs she can be.

The series cleverly shows how Hillary spent much of her life as a liberal pushing for huge change that often seemed hugely controversial at the time (she is often referred to as constantly being 20 years ahead of her time) but by the time she had her big moment to run for President in 2016 she somehow ended up as the centrist candidate stuck between two incredibly passionate and divisive leaders, in far left socialist Bernie Sanders and far right racist Donald Trump. This ended up with Hillary failing to truly capture the public imagination despite the opportunity to be the first ever female president, and somehow lost the election to the hugely incompetent Trump.

The series also focuses heavily on the media’s relationship with Hillary and the non-stop double standards and extra pressure women have to face in every aspect of their life, especially in politics and public life in general.

Also addressed is Hillary’s multiple decisions to stand by and cover up the behaviour of her husband Bill Clinton, and we get multiple explanations from both of them as to what was really happening at these major moments, especially the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It’s really interesting what they have to say and Bill in particularly seems to speak from the heart and express real guilt for his past. It’s left up to us whether we really believe what they have to say.

This isn’t the sort of documentary that breaks real ground and unveils secrets or completely changes your perception of a person you think you know, but it doesn’t have to be. It is still a well made series that really captures the width and importance of Hillary Clinton’s impact on America throughout the years, and will be especially informative and gripping viewing for those who know little about her or the US political landscape.

Rating = 3.5/5

Killing Eve (2018) – TV Review

Following her enormous success with 2016s ‘Fleabag’, Phoebe Waller-Bridge turned her talent to a hugely different project, this time an adaptation of Luke Jennings’ Villanelle novels, and remarkably she found even more success.

I am doing a weekly rewatch of the three seasons of the show and will post a review of the particular season when I get to the end of each specific season, I will review it.

‘Killing Eve’ is a perfect blend of comedy, drama, sex, and tension. Instead of being a cat and mouse game between two men or a man and woman, this is very much the story of two very different women who develop a sudden and unmistakable obsession for each other.

It has the trappings of a classic spy thriller with the stylish assassin killing people in exotic locales and sleeping with people whenever she feels like it, but it also massively subverts the genre by making the agent chasing her an ‘ordinary’ woman, who is also an Asian woman in her 40s, as opposed to the classic mid 30s white guy.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s writing here is superb, as you can feel that influence of ‘Fleabag’ in some of the more memorable and surprising lines, especially from Villanelle, but she also shows what great range she has by building a genuinely great tension and spy mystery that is packed full of shocks and surprises.

The whole cast is great, with legendary performers like Fiona Shaw and Kim Bodnia thriving in supporting roles, but this is very much about its lead two.

After over a decade on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, many would’ve felt it was tough to see Sandra Oh in another major role, but she absolutely destroys that opinion here with her brilliant lead performance. She has that charming ‘normal person in extraordinary situation’ vibe, per toy nails Eve’s dark and unusual sense of humour, and is also perfect at portraying the confusion and fear she feels due to her growing obsession with Villanelle.

As for Villanelle, she burst onto the scene and instantly became one of the most iconic characters in modern tv, and much of that is due to Jodie Comer’s performance. After making waves as a young star on British TV, this is Comer’s big break.

She imbues Villanelle with such a remarkable sense of fun, childishness, and also genuine evil that it is tough to keep up. Just like Eve Polastri feels towards her, the audience is never quite sure whether they should be terrified of her, feel sorry for her, or fall madly in love with her.

This show has such a great sense of style (costumes and locations) and it really feels like great escapism every time you sit down to watch the twisted games of Eve and Oksana.

*I’m doing a weekly rewatch of all episodes of the show so my review of the season season will go up in a couple of months time.

Rating = 4.5/5

Broadchurch (2013) – TV Review

Due to the slowdown in content caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, ITV decided to show weekly reruns of ‘Broadchurch‘ season 1 in the very time slot on a Monday evening that it aired in 7 years ago.

The show seemed just like your standard British crime drama, and in many ways it was as it stuck to the tried and tested cliches, but the difference is that it perfected them.

It maintained a strong mystery throughout (even though by the final episode the killer was obvious to most) and carefully unravelled people’s individual secrets, it treated the stunning location like a truly key part of the narrative and used it exceptionally well.

The thing that really helps set the shoe apart is that whilst it is a crime drama, it has its focus very much on the characters and their inner life, mixes effective melodrama into the mix to create a potent blend.

The casting here is simply perfect. The whole ensemble does good work and it features all sorts of British character actors that really improve every scene (David Bradley, Arthur Darvill, Andrew Buchanan etc), but this show is really about three cast members, even though it was advised to be about its two stars.

I will start with the surprise package from this show, the current ‘Doctor’, Jodie Whittaker. Years before she would reunite with Chris Chibnall to tackle the first female time lord, she absolutely shone as the devastated mother of the 11 year old murder victim. She portrays such agony and desperation while never making it seem like over-acting. This is was a brilliant breakthrough performance to the mainstream for Whittaker.

Moving on to another star here with (Academy Award Winner) Olivia Colman. We all know now that Colman is one of the greatest British acting talents of the century, but back in 2013 she was more seen as a great comedy actress with little dramatic experience, but this all changed here. She is incredibly charismatic, deeply empathetic, and more than holds her own comedically too with Tennant.

That brings us on to the main man, who was very much the big name going into the show on the back of his time as the ‘Doctor’ (a lot of Doctor Who connections here) and it’s a very different performance than people were used to from Tennant. He is grizzled, depressed, and rude to everyone, and if played by anyone else, deeply unlikable. But Tennant brings a real humanity and even humour to the role that really makes him one of the all time great ‘TV Detectives’.

This was a real cultural moment in Britain at the time, and the show still stands up exceptionally well even after seven years. Brilliant TV.

Rating = 4.5/5

Peter Kay’s Car Share: Finale (2018) – TV Review

Following the devastating cliffhanger to what was intended to be the final ever episode of ‘Car Share’, Peter Kay and Sian Gibson returned to their characters for one final go around to conclude the story.

Instead of feeling like the ‘fans demanded a new ending’ story that it actually is, this episode just flows naturally as a continuation of the narrative and a suitable conclusion.

The episode doesn’t quite follow the usual pattern of just Kay and Gibson in the car, reacting to events and create random situations, as this is much more focused on resolving the specific narrative relating to a potential relationship between John (Kay) and Kayleigh (Gibson), but it doesn’t harm the show as you are so engaged in the two of them by now.

The ending is very satisfying without ever feeling like pandering or out of character, and it also manages to pay a great homage to ‘The Graduate’ right at the end.

This isn’t the challenging and hilarious triumph like ‘Phoenix Nights’, but this is an absolute triumph for Kay as it is a smart concept with absolute perfect execution for the entire family to enjoy.

Rating = 4.5/5

Miracle Workers: Dark Ages (2020) – TV Review

Following the strong viewership numbers for the first season, TBS (the show is available on Sky Comedy in the UK) decided to move forward with another season of ‘Miracle Workers’ but instead of being a traditional follow up, they are turning the show into an anthology, with the same cast returning with a new story.

This time, we find the cast in the ‘Dark Ages’ and playing very different kinds of characters.

Geraldine Viswanathan is very much the centre of the story here and she continues to grow in stature as a very impressive comedic actress, and I really hope Hollywood carries on giving her the opportunities she deserves.

Daniel Radcliffe is the comedic stand point this time around, with his comic timing inch perfect and him really being able to let loose. Following his decade long role as Harry Potter, Radcliffe has spent the last decade doing increasingly bizarre and interesting roles, and he is absolutely nailing it.

This time around, we also get to see more of Steve Buscemi as he is very much a main character and you can never go wrong with Buscemi, and he elevates every scene he is in.

Karan Soni, Jon Bass, and Lolly Adefope all return from the first season and while they are good actors, they don’t have too much to do here. Peter Serafinowicz is a guest star here and bounces off Radcliffe really well.

This isn’t the sort of prestige, brilliantly written comedy like ‘Fleabag’ etc, but it’s a very well acted and light heartedly amusing show that I really hope returns for a season 3.

Rating = 3.5/5

Cursed (2020) – TV Review

Originally sold with the fascinating pitch of “what if the sword chose a queen” and promising a take on the Excalibur story from the perspective of The Lady of the Lake instead of King Arthur, it all sounded great. However, the final product is actually just some sort of prequel to the King Arthur story.

The reason this is disappointing is that the muddled reason for the shows existence means it fails to be a proper prequel to the King Arthur story whilst also failing as an effective spin off focused on the origins of the Lady of the Lake.

The show does have some impressive production values and a long take sequence in the first episode made me really think that we could be in for something special. In general, the show is watchable, but that isn’t the greatest compliment and that is about where the positives end.

The most startling issue with the show is that very few cast members in this expensive show are any good. I’m not saying they are bad actors, but they are just not good in the roles. Even Katherine Langford, who was so compelling in the first season of ‘13 Reasons Why’ really doesn’t pull off the troubled warrior queen here and gives quite a wooden performance.

Devon Terrell does his best in a quite poorly written role of ‘Arthur’, Gustaf Skarsgard grows into the role of ‘Merlin’ but struggles to recover from playing him like a magical Jack Sparrow, and Lily Newmark actually makes for the most engaging screen presence, despite her quite limited screen time.

The show also has ridiculous scene transitions that become animated all of a sudden, and while I’m sure it is done to make it more resemble the graphic novel on which it is based,

The final episode provides multiple ‘twists’ on who characters actually are and sets the stage for a more conventional Arthurian adaptation (which is a story I love to see usually) but I simply don’t want to see this creative team tackle that.

Rating = 2.5/5

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