Winners: Broadcasting Press Guild Awards 2008

Eileen Atkins has won the ‘battle of the Dames’, beating Judi Dench and Maggie Smith to be named best TV actress at the 34th annual Broadcasting Press Guild Awards. She won the award for her performances as Miss Deborah in Cranford and Madama Fidolia in Ballet Shoes.

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Cranford made a clean sweep, winning four awards. The star-studded BBC One drama was named best television drama series, and also picked up the writer’s award (Heidi Thomas) and the prize for best actor (Philip Glenister as Mr Carter, also named for his role as Gene Hunt in Life on Mars).

The BPG awards are voted for by those who write about TV and radio – correspondents, critics and previewers – and are being presented at a lunch today (Friday) at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. It’s sponsored for the second year running by Turner Broadcasting, home to channels CNN International, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies.

The BBC presenter Andrew Marr won two awards. He was named as ‘best TV performer in a non-acting role’ for the Andrew Marr Show and for his History of Modern Britain, which also won the award for best documentary series. Channel 4’s Boy A won the award for best single television drama.

ITV1’s powerful and moving film about living with dementia, Malcolm and Barbara: Love’s Farewell, was voted best single documentary, despite controversy before it aired, over whether or not it showed the actual moment of death. BBC programmes dominated this year’s BPG awards, winning ten of the 15 prizes.

Gavin & Stacey (BBC Two and Three), which has just begun a second series centring on the relationship between an Essex boy and a girl from Barry Island, won the award for best comedy/entertainment programme.

Top Gear (BBC Two) – described by the BPG as “that rare thing, a long-running programme on the top of its game” – was voted best factual entertainment programme.

BBC Radio 5 Live’s Simon Mayo was named radio broadcaster of the year, for his weekday afternoon programme. And a digital station won the award for radio programme of the year – BBC 6 Music’s Adam and Joe Show, starring Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish.

Falklands: the Islanders’ War, on the History Channel, won the award for best multi-channel programme. The Innovation Award was given to the social networking site Bebo, for its drama KateModern, which the BPG said “redefined television drama for the broadband age”.

Phil Redmond, who launched three long-running and influential TV series – Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks – won the Harvey Lee Award for an outstanding contribution to broadcasting. Harvey Lee was a leading light of the BPG, who died at the tragically early age of 41, and the award has been given in his memory every year since 1992.

The Broadcasting Press Guild was founded in 1974 and has more than a hundred members – all journalists who specialise in writing and broadcasting about television, radio and the media in general. They include media correspondents, reviewers, previewers and feature writers from the major national newspapers, broadcasters and leading trade journals. Details of the nominations, previous BPG Awards and the event sponsor, Turner Broadcasting, can be found at: , together with pictures of previous awards ceremonies and more on the history of the Harvey Lee Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting Award.

For more information, or to send a photographer, reporter or crew, please contact: Torin Douglas, Broadcasting Press Guild 07860 422992 Embargo 0001 Friday April 4th 2008

The Winners

Best Single Drama
Boy A
(Cuba Pictures for Channel 4)

Best Drama Series
(BBC Drama and WGBH Boston, in association with Chestermead, for BBC One)

Best Comedy/Entertainment
Gavin and Stacey
(Baby Cow for BBC Two and BBC Three)

Best Single Documentary/Factual Programme
Malcolm and Barbara: Love’s Farewell (Paul Watson for ITV1)

Best Documentary/Factual Series
Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain
(BBC Current Affairs for BBC Two)

Best Factual Entertainment Programme
Top Gear
(BBC production for BBC Two)

Best Actor
Philip Glenister
(Mr Carter in Cranford, Gene Hunt in Life on Mars, for BBC One)

Best Actress
Eileen Atkins
(Miss Deborah in Cranford, Madama Fidolia in Ballet Shoes, for BBC One)

Best TV Performer in a Non-acting Role
Andrew Marr
(The Andrew Marr Show, BBC One, and Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain, BBC Two)

Writer’s Award
Heidi Thomas
(Cranford, Ballet Shoes and Lilies for BBC One)

Radio Broadcaster of the Year
Simon Mayo
(The Simon Mayo Programme, BBC News for BBC Radio 5 Live)

Radio Programme of the Year
Adam and Joe
(BBC Radio production for BBC 6 Music)

Multichannel Award
Falklands: The Islanders’ War
(Point of View for the History Channel)

Innovation Award
(LG15 Studios for Bebo)

Harvey Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting Phil Redmond, Founder & Chief Executive, Mersey Television (Grange Hill, BBC One; Brookside, Channel 4; Hollyoaks, Channel 4)