Upon first watching the annual television Bafta’s last night, I couldn’t help but thinking that Bafta had possibly given into the temptation of dumbing down in order to reach a broader audience. In the first few seconds of the BBC coverage, we see an appropriately overdressed Amy Childs (of The Only Way It Essex fame) playing up to the VIP treatment of the red carpet as if the government was about to put a ban on it. Fortunately the jokes were gotten out of the way quickly as our amusing, if not really laugh-out-loud, host Graham Norton immediately dealt with them and the mob from My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding thus sweeping them under the rug. The only other chance they had to exhibit the chemical disposal facilities they call faces was during the Audience award. And, typically, the public badly let itself down again by voting for those walking sex shop manikins.

Speaking of the audience award, I’m not sure whether the BBC were putting an enormous amount of faith in the public by asking them to vote for a Danish drama (an expertly crafted Danish drama , but a non English speaking programme none the less) or just conceding defeat to that juggernaut of fake tanned exploitation. Either way though kudos to them for using this as an opportunity to get everyone to see that it exists. Now lets just hope the Essex crowd are willing to take a chance on a program that has female characters who don’t adorn their pubes with jewellery.

One of the big winners of the night was a BBC4 drama documenting the creation of one of ITV’s most iconic programmes, Coronation Street. It also happened to star on of the most iconic actresses of the BBC’s own legendary soap, Eastenders. Yes Jessie Wallace was nominated for best supporting actress, and from what I could gather, deservedly so.
However it did seem to start a trend for a heavily pro BBC night. The Road to Coronation Street won best single drama but Coronation Street lost to Eastenders for Best Soap. In fact the only ITV shows that won on Sunday were ITV News and The Cube. And even The Cube I’m imagining  was a consolation prize to make up for the rest of the night. I mean, is The Cube really better than Have I Got News For You?

Trevor McDonald did win the Fellowship though. I believe this can be seen as a victory for ITV, seeing as he became its most recognisable flagship presenter. Who do they have now?No one that’s who. Although I can’t believe he wasn’t already a member.

Oh and briefly returning to Best Supporting Actress, the eventual winner for that was Lauren Socha for Misfits. Misfits got a lot of nominations on that night. I can’t believe there is a British superhero drama that completely passed me by. What is the point doing massive urban advertising for only the second season of a show?

Sherlock had a good night earning two of the best writers in British media (Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat) with well deserved statuettes. Martin Freeman also earned the show another gong, possibly because he is the best Watson ever and not just because Gatiss and Moffat are two of the only writers who have ever written the character with the proper respect he deserves. Benedict Cumberbatch lost best drama actor however, to a fantastic Daniel Rigby for Eric and Ernie. He didn’t so much do an impression of Eric Morcambe as disappeared behind the man’s legendary glasses.

Shock of the night for me was The Trip losing out to Rev for best drama. After seeing Coogan and Brydon take to the stage to present the first award I thought the entire night would be one long celebration of my favourite comedy of the year. But it was good to see Steve Coogan get Best Male Comedic Performance even if his partner was left out in the cold for best supporting actor. One thing however. Where was Him & Her? Practically the only thing giving BBC3 any reason to exist, apart from reruns of American Dad. And don’t get me started on Being Human because that’s shit.

The only other category that stood out for me was once again, Single Drama. Mostly because I’ve never heard of half of them. And that’s the big takeaway of the evening for me. How on Earth can I not go through an entire day without hearing one reference to The Only Way Is Essex and have never once heard of I Am Slave? I know I can’t keep up with Television like I used to but for God sake surely something is wrong with the way the channels market their programmes?

Lee Hazell


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