Poldark star Aidan Turner has won the Breakthrough prize at today’s Broadcasting Press Guild Awards.
His gong was collected by one of his Poldark co-stars Heida Reed at a ceremony held on Friday lunchtime at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
But once again the Irish hearthrob failed to scoop the elusive best actor gong for his role as Ross Poldark at the BPG awards which are voted for by journalists who write about TV and radio.
Turner’s prize follows the Impact Award he won at January’s National Television Awards, not least thanks to the spectacular shirtless scything scene in the hit drama.
Today’s BPG best actor award went to Mark Rylance for his role as Thomas Cromwell in BBC2 drama Wolf Hall, which also won best drama series. That award was received at the ceremony by director Peter Kosminksy and co-stars Claire Foy and Mark Gatiss.
The annual BPG award for innovation went to Russell T Davies, for the multiplatform series Cucumber, Banana and Tofu (C4, E4 and All 4).
Channel 4 hit Catastrophe was voted best comedy and its writers Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan won the BPG award for best writers.
Suranne Jones won the award for best actress for her performance as Gemma Foster in Doctor Foster on BBC1. Her award was collected by Adam James who played her lover Neil Baker in the hit drama.
Best single drama went to BBC1’s adaptation of JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls. Two of its stars, Miranda Richardson and Ken Stott, collected the award.
The BPG Awards – presented only for work commissioned in the UK – are highly prized by programme-makers because they are selected independently by TV and radio correspondents, critics and previewers.
Channel 4 won both the documentary awards. My Son The Jihadi was voted best single documentary and The Murder Detectives won best documentary series.
The award for best entertainment or factual entertainment show went to BBC1’s The Great British Bake Off, and the award was collected by Mary Berry.
Comedy writer and performer John Finnemore was named Radio Broadcaster of the Year for John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme.
The Harvey Lee award for an outstanding contribution to broadcasting, which is in the gift of the BPG executive committee, recognised the comedy writer, producer and presenter John Lloyd.
Lloyd helped create many of Britain’s most innovative and enduring comedy series on radio and television, including The News Quiz, The News Huddlines, Quote Unquote, To The Manor Born, Not the Nine O’Clock News, Blackadder, Spitting Image and QI. He currently presents The Museum of Curiosity on BBC Radio 4.
At the ceremony, many of the prize winners spoke out in defence of the BBC.
Rylance, who is appearing in a play in New York, recorded a thankyou in which he said no broadcaster other than the BBC could have made Wolf Hall.
The drama’s director, Peter Kosminsky said British broadcasting was “under sustained attack on all fronts. The BBC is being clobbered and Channel 4 threatened with privatisation. A lot of this feels ideological, a bit doctrinaire. Our heads are down”.
Russell T Davies joined in the defence of the BBC and Channel 4 when he picked up his award.
He said his drama “didn’t particularly work, it wasn’t a huge success, and when they privatise Channel 4 this is exactly the sort of risk-taking that will cease to exist. That’s what’s under attack, a strange ideological attack”.
BBC presenter Sue MacGregor, who picked up best radio programme for Radio 4’s The Reunion, added: “I have been working for the BBC for four decades so I have seen the BBC go through all sorts of crises, but this I think is the most dangerous time for the BBC.”