Who will triumph at British TV’s biggest night of the year?

2012 was an explosive year for television - but who will be the winners and losers at this year's Baftas, asks Alison Graham

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It’s television’s big night, possibly the only time in the TV calendar when everyone who is anyone both in front of and behind the cameras gathers under one roof to celebrate the best of British broadcasting.

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You can be sure that nominees have been practising their “losing” faces in the mirror because no one wants to look churlish under a merciless spotlight when his or her name isn’t announced. It’s usually best to go for that generic brave-but-rueful-and-grateful-just-be-nominated smile.

The most exciting category for viewers is the Radio Times Audience Award because it’s the only one decided by the likes of you and me, the people who actually watch television.

You’ve been voting in your legions for your favourites on an eclectic shortlist drawn up by television critics that crosses every spectrum – Call the Midwife, Game of Thrones, Great British Bake Off, Homeland, the Olympics Opening Ceremony and Strictly Come Dancing.

The excellent and remarkably energetic Graham Norton returns to host the evening for the seventh time and he’ll make sure the starry night will thunder along with caustic wit and some good jokes.

While everyone at the Royal Festival Hall in London will be strapped into their best frocks and most unstable shoes (and that’s just the men), viewers can sprawl in front of the television in slipper socks and pyjamas as the awards are presented. It’s always a good night for torrid living room arguments, or even shouting at the television as the winners are announced. There are always surprises, actors or shows you feel sure will walk away with a golden Bafta mask, only to be usurped when that envelope is opened on stage. Oh the disappointment!

Still, it should be a good night for our cover star Olivia Colman, nominated twice for roles that are worlds apart – lovelorn Sally in Twenty Twelve (Female Comedy Performance) and a bereaved mother in Accused (Supporting Actress). Maybe, too, the brilliant Peter Capaldi will need a rucksack to carry home two trophies for his two similarly wildly different nominated performances, as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It (Male Comedy Performance) and newsman Randall Brown in The Hour (Supporting Actor).

The various leaders in the field are Jimmy McGovern’s Accused, Sally Wainwright’s Last Tango in Halifax, The Girl and Twenty Twelve, each of which has four nominations. So prepare to rattle your best pretend-diamonds at the screen because, for all kinds of reasons, it’s going to be a thrilling evening.


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Watch the British Academy Television Awards on Sunday at 8:00pm on BBC1