Under-threat BBC3 wins three at RTS Awards

BBC3 shows Murdered by My Boyfriend, Our World War and Life & Death Row all win at the Royal Television Society Awards

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The future of BBC3 may be unclear, but there is no doubt about the quality of its shows after the channel won three awards at the Royal Television Society Awards.

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BBC3, which faces closure and a move online according to BBC plans, won plaudits for both its drama and factual programming in Tuesday night’s awards ceremony in London.

BBC3’s Murdered by My Boyfriend beat rivals from BBC1 and 2 to win Best Single Drama. Our World War won Best History programme, and Life & Death Row was awarded Best Documentary Series.

In contrast with BBC3’s success, ITV took home just one award, with Billy Connolly winning Best Presenter for his documentary series Billy Connolly’s Big Send Off.

Elsewhere, Claudia Winkleman marked her first series as Strictly Come Dancing co-presenter by winning Best Entertainment Performance, beating Graham Norton and Keith Lemon to top spot.

Sarah Lancashire won Best Female Actor for her starring role in BBC1 crime drama Happy Valley, while Tom Hollander earned Best Male Actor for his performance as Dylan Thomas in BBC2’s A Poet in New York.

In total, BBC won 16 of the 28 awards on the night, while Channel 4 earned six awards for programmes including arts series Grayson Perry: Who Are You, survival show The Island with Bear Grylls and science event Live from Space: Lap of the Planet.

Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse’s comedy Story of the Twos won two awards, Best Scripted Comedy and Best Comedy Writer, while Casualty beat Coronation Street and EastEnders to win Best Soap. The second series of BBC2’s Line of Duty won Best Drama Series.

BBC drama Controller Ben Stephenson won the Judges’ Award, with the panel praising his contribution to “what many are calling a new golden age” in British drama.

In his speech Stephenson urged the television industry to rally round the BBC as it faces criticism and Charter renewal.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Melyvn Bragg. The judges praised his dedication to arts programming, saying, “Tonight’s recipient enjoys multiple careers – novelist, writer of non-fiction, radio broadcaster, member of the House of Lords, campaigner and educator – but first and foremost, he’s a man of television, a great broadcaster and programme maker.

“But even that doesn’t adequately describe the role he has come to occupy in national life – because in Britain, no one is more synonymous with the arts than Melvyn Bragg.”

RTS Awards: the winners in full

Actor – Female Sarah Lancashire, Happy Valley

Actor – Male Tom Hollander – A Poet In New York

Arts Grayson Perry: Who Are You? (Swan Films for Channel 4)

Children’s Fiction 4 O’Clock Club Christmas (CBBC Productions for CBBC)

Children’s Programme The Big Performance 3: Finale (Twenty Twenty Productions for CBBC)

Comedy Performance Reece Shearsmith & Steve Pemberton – Inside No. 9 (BBC Comedy Production London for BBC Two)

Daytime Programme Couples Come Dine With Me (ITV Studios for Channel 4)

Documentary Series Life & Death Row (BBC Documentaries Production for BBC Three)

Drama Serial The Honourable Woman (Drama Republic and Eight Rooks for BBC Two)

Drama Series Line of Duty – Series 2 (World Productions for BBC Two)

Entertainment The Graham Norton Show (So Television for BBC One)

Entertainment Performance Claudia Winkleman – Strictly Come Dancing (BBC Productions for BBC One)

History Our World War (BBC Documentaries Production for BBC Three)

International Fargo (MGM/FX Productions for Channel 4)

Live Event D-Day: The Heroes Return (BBC Event Productions for BBC One)

Popular, Factual and Features The Island With Bear Grylls (Shine TV/Bear Grylls Ventures Co-Production for Channel 4)

Presenter Billy Connolly – Billy Connolly’s Big Send Off (Burning Bright Productions for ITV)

Science and Natural History Live From Space: Lap of the Planet (Arrow Media for Channel 4)

Scripted Comedy Harry and Paul’s Story of the Twos (Balloon Entertainment for BBC Two)

Single Documentary The Paedophile Hunter (Amos Pictures for Channel 4)

Single Drama Murdered By My Boyfriend (BBC Productions for BBC Three)

Soap and Continuing Drama Casualty (BBC Drama Production Wales for BBC One)

Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit Gary Neville (Sky Sports)

Sports Programme The 2014 Ryder Cup (Sky Sports/European Tour Productions for Sky Sports)

Writer – Comedy Harry Enfield, Paul Whitehouse & Charlie Higson – Harry and Paul’s Story of the Twos (Balloon Entertainment for BBC Two)

Writer – Drama Peter Bowker – Marvellous (Fifty Fathoms Productions and Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC Two)

Judges’ Award Ben Stephenson, Controller Drama Commissioning, BBC Television

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Lifetime Achievement Award Melvyn Bragg