‘Scandal’ and ‘Sin’ head this year’s Broadcasting Press Guild Awards

Two TV dramas – A Very British Scandal and It’s A Sin – have taken top honours at this year’s Broadcasting Press Guild Awards, chosen by critics and journalists who write about TV and radio.

It’s a Sin (Channel 4) was named Best Drama Series and its creator, Russell T Davies, won the BPG award for Best Writer, in the teeth of competition from Jimmy McGovern (Time), Sarah Phelps (A Very British Scandal), Chris Lang (Unforgotten) and Neil Forsyth (Guilt).

A Very British Scandal (BBC One) was voted Best Drama Mini-Series and its star Claire Foy was named Best Actress, ahead of Olivia Colman (Landscapers), Jodie Comer (Help) and Lydia West (It’s A Sin).

Stephen Graham won the award for Best Actor for his performances in Help (C4) and Time (BBC One), in another strong shortlist with Sean Bean (Time), Sanjeev Bhaskar (Unforgotten) and Olly Alexander and Callum Scott Howells (It’s A Sin).

The 48th BPG Awards lunch, sponsored for the first time by YouTube, took place today at The Brewery in the City of London, attended by the winners, BPG members and leading broadcasting executives. (Full list of winners below). The BPG Awards are given for TV, streaming and audio productions commissioned or premiered in the UK and screened in 2021. They are highly prized by programme-makers because they are selected independently by TV and radio correspondents, critics and previewers.

Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse won the BPG Best Entertainment award for the third time with Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing (BBC Two), ahead of Michael MacIntyre’s The Wheel, Strictly Come Dancing (both BBC One), Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable (Dave) and The Masked Singer (ITV). The Best Comedy award went to Alma’s Not Normal (BBC Two), in competition with Sex Education (Netflix) Stath Lets Flats (C4) and Starstruck (BBC Three).

The BBC Two series Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution was named Best Documentary Series, ahead of Clarkson’s Farm (Prime Video), David Attenborough’s A Perfect Planet (BBC One) and Grayson’s Art Club (Channel 4). Peter Jackson’s Disney+ series The Beatles: Get Back was voted Best Documentary Mini-Series, in competition with Grenfell: The Untold Story (Channel 4) and two BBC Two series – Four Hours at the Capitol and Gods of Snooker.

Grant Tucker, the chair of the BPG, said: “In their 48th year, the BPG awards remain true to the values on which they were founded: celebrating the best work on TV and radio, voted for by those whose job is to write about broadcasting.

“2021 was a fantastic year for British television. The industry bounced back from the worst days of the pandemic with record levels of investment and programming, and our winners announced today are testimony to that creative explosion.

“It is also evident that, despite reports of their death, our public service broadcasters are very much alive and thriving. “

Aasmah Mir of Times Radio was named as BPG Audio Presenter of the Year, for her performance on the station’s breakfast show, Aasmah Mir and Stig Abell with Times Radio Breakfast. The other nominees were Amol Rajan (BBC Radio 4), Iain Dale (LBC), Petroc Trelawny (BBC Radio 3) and Vick Hope (BBC Radio 1).

Jamz Supernova won the Radio Programme of the Year award, for her BBC 6 Music show Jamz Supernova on 6, ahead of Aasmah Mir and Stig Abell with Times Radio Breakfast (Times Radio), The Eco Show (Marlow FM 97.5), Uncanny with Danny Robins (BBC Radio 4), and Woman’s Hour (BBC Radio 4).

The UK Podcast of the Year was Things Fell Apart – Jon Ronson (BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds), in competition with Backlisted (Unbound), Finding Q: My Journey into QAnon (Audible), Sweet Bobby (Tortoise Media) and The Rest Is History (Goalhanger Films)

Scott Bryan, chair of the audio jury, said: “It has been another exceptional year for audio. For much of the time, many of us were apart and radio and podcasts continued to keep us together. It is notable that whilst the internet has continued to change the way we live our lives, the intimacy of radio and audio has been retained and even enhanced.”

As announced earlier this week, Jon Snow of Channel 4 News won the Harvey Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting.

The BPG Breakthrough Award went to the actor and writer of BBC Three’s Starstruck, Rose Matafeo. She was up against the creator of We Are Lady Parts (C4), Nida Manzoor, and the ‘Pink Palace’ cast members of C4’s It’s A Sin – Omari Douglas, Olly Alexander, Callum Scott Howells, Lydia West and Nathaniel Curtis.

A new award, the BPG Emerging Creators Award for video creativity on social media platforms, was given to Chunkz (YouTube), in competition with Francis Bourgeois (TikTok), Lucy Edwards (TikTok), Michael Dappah (YouTube) and Rosie Holt (Twitter).

The BPG Innovation in Broadcasting award went to Channel 4 for its Black to Front project and ongoing inclusion initiatives. Also on the shortlist were Albert, BAFTA’s sustainable production certificate, and Lights Up, the virtual theatre festival in lockdown (BBC Four).

Further information from Torin Douglas, BPG, 07860 422992 or torindouglas@aol.com.

Notes to editors:

  1. The awards are being announced at the 48th BPG Awards lunch at The Brewery in the City of London on Friday March 25th 2022 and simultaneously on Twitter @BPGPress #BPGAwards.
  2. The Broadcasting Press Guild was founded in 1974 and has more than 150 members. They are journalists who specialise in covering television, radio and the media, and include critics, previewers, media correspondents and feature writers from national newspapers, broadcasters and leading trade journals and websites.
  3. Harvey Lee (1950-1991) – after whom the award is named – was the media correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and a leading light in the BPG throughout the 1980s. Previous winners of the BPG’s Harvey Lee Award, for an outstanding contribution to broadcasting, include Sir Lenny Henry, Moira Stuart, John Humphrys, Nicholas Parsons, Sir Terry Wogan, Cilla Black, Melvyn Bragg, Andrew Davies, Sir David Frost, Michael Grade, Norma Percy, Biddy Baxter & Edward Barnes, Phil Redmond, Beryl Vertue, Tony Warren, Anne Wood, John Lloyd and Charles Wheeler. See more details at http://www.broadcastingpressguild.org/bpgawards/harvey-lee/
  4. The 48th BPG Awards are sponsored by YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing platform, owned by Google. Launched in 2005, YouTube’s mission is to give everyone a voice and show them the world. They say: We believe that everyone deserves to have a voice, and that the world is a better place when we listen, share and build community through our stories. https://www.youtube.com

The full list of BPG TV and Radio Awards winners is:

Best Documentary Series
Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution
A BBC Studios Documentary Unit Production for BBC Two

Best Documentary Mini-Series
The Beatles: Get Back
Apple Corps Ltd. & WingNut Films Productions Ltd. for Disney+

Best Drama Mini-Series
A Very British Scandal
A Blueprint Television production for BBC One

Best Drama Series
It’s a Sin
A RED Production Company production for Channel 4 and HBO Max in association with All3Media International

Best Entertainment
Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing Series 4
An Owl Power Television production for BBC Two

Best Comedy
Alma’s Not Normal
An Expectation production for BBC Two

Best Actor
Stephen Graham
For his roles as:
   Tony in Help
   The Forge Entertainment and One Shoe Films for Channel 4
and as
   Eric McNally in Time
   BBC Studios Drama Productions for BBC One

Best Actress
Claire Foy
For her role as Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, in A Very British Scandal
A Blueprint Television production for BBC One

Best Writer
Russell T Davies
It’s a Sin
A RED Production Company production for Channel 4 and HBO Max in association with All3Media International

Audio Presenter of the Year
Aasmah Mir
Times Radio Breakfast, a Times Radio production

Radio Programme of the Year
Jamz Supernova on 6
A BBC Audio production for BBC Radio 6 Music

Podcast of the Year
Things Fell Apart – written and presented by Jon Ronson
A BBC Audio production for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds

BPG Innovation in Broadcasting Award
Channel 4’s Black to Front Project and ongoing inclusion initiatives

BPG Breakthrough Award
Rose Matafeo
Writer and Actor, Starstruck
An Avalon production for BBC Three and HBO Max

BPG Emerging Creators Award
Amin Mohamed aka Chunkz
for YouTube

Harvey Lee Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting Award
Jon Snow
Channel 4 News