Television critics love television. Which might be stating the flipping obvious, but it needs to be said, or at the very least reinforced every now and again. We might wear smarty-pants and revel in irreverence, but take our telly away and we’d go feral, living in the woods and acting out scenes from Happy Valley just to keep sane.
So shutting 12 or so of us in a room at Bafta’s headquarters in Piccadilly in London and refusing to let us out until we’d drawn up a shortlist for the Radio Times Audience Award meant there was bound to be trouble.
Blood was not drawn, of course – we’re not violent – but the air juddered with electricity and quite a bit of anger. We all had our favourites – and we’re talking here of critics from The Times, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and This Morning among many others – and we all wanted them on the list. And we wanted our non-favourites quite firmly off.
But when the doors were unlocked and we were allowed to see daylight and be reunited with our families, the final shortlist was as good as it gets.
It’s a fair mix of so-obvious-it-had-to-be-there, such as Poldark and The Great British Bake Off, whose final was watched by 13 million – the biggest television audience of the year – and the “what’s that, I’ve never heard of it?”, represented by the cult Netflix documentary hit Making a Murderer. Just days after the critics’ session I heard two men in my train carriage debating this programme at heated length, and its fanbase is wide and devoted.
It’s easy to vote – click here!– and I would politely urge you to take part. This is the only Bafta award decided by the magnificent members of the public who actually watch television. It’s all yours, so please go ahead.