Nominations for 37th Broadcasting Press Guild TV Awards

ITV1’s Downton Abbey and BBC1’s Sherlock will battle it out for the top honours in the 37th annual Broadcasting Press Guild Awards, to be presented next month at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The two TV hits have been shortlisted for best drama series, the writer’s award, and acting categories.

The BPG awards are highly prized by programme-makers because they are selected independently, by journalists who write about TV and radio – correspondents, critics and previewers.

Downton’s Hugh Bonneville and Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch have been nominated as Best Actor, together with Tom Hollander, for his performances in Rev and Any Human Heart. Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham in Downton, is also named for his role in The Silence, while Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes, is also nominated for Van Gogh: Painted with Words.

Julian Fellowes – now Lord Fellowes – is shortlisted for the Writer’s Award for Downton Abbey, competing with the Sherlock writers, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss & Stephen Thompson. Jo Brand is also nominated, together with fellow-writers Vicki Pepperdine & Joanna Scanlan, for the comedy series, Getting On.

Another Downton stalwart, Dame Maggie Smith, has been nominated as Best Actress, for her role as Violet, the Dowager Duchess of Grantham. She is up against Julie Walters, for her performance as Dr Mo Mowlam, the former Northern Ireland Secretary, in Mo. Helena Bonham Carter is also shortlisted for her role in Toast, as the working-class stepmother of food writer Nigel Slater – a marked contrast to her performance as Queen Elizabeth in the film The King’s Speech, for which she recently won a BAFTA as best supporting actress.

The BPG Awards lunch is sponsored by Dave, the “home of witty banter”, one of ten channels broadcast by leading multi-channel operator UKTV: The event will be attended by the winners, BPG members and leading broadcasting executives.

Downton and Sherlock will compete against Any Human Heart in the best drama series category, while Mo and Toast are both up for best single drama, against Corrie: The Road to Coronation Street. In the best comedy/entertainment category, Rev is shortlisted alongside The Inbetweeners, Miranda and The Trip.

Mary Portas and Professor Brian Cox are both shortlisted for two awards. They are nominated as best non-acting performer – alongside Jamie Oliver and Louis Spence of Pineapple Dance Studio – and their shows are also up for awards. Mary Queen of Shops is shortlisted for best factual entertainment programme, against The Apprentice, Gareth Malone goes to Glyndebourne and Top Gear. Cox’s Wonders of the Solar System is up for best documentary series, against Coppers and The Great Offices of State.

The single documentary award will be contested by Alan Bennett & the Habit of Art, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Requiem for Detroit? and Stephen Fry: Wagner and Me. Fry & Laurie Reunited (GOLD) is up for best multi-channel programme, against two Sky1 programmes – An Idiot Abroad and Thorne.

BBC Two dominates the list with 12 nominations, followed by Channel 4 with seven and BBC One with six.

The shortlists for radio broadcaster of the year and radio programme of the year will be announced separately.

The winners will be announced at the BPG Awards lunch at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on Friday March 25th 2011, together with the Innovation Award and the Harvey Lee Award for outstanding contribution to broadcasting. Winners will be informed in advance and places at the lunch are by invitation only.

The Broadcasting Press Guild was founded in 1974 and has more than a hundred members – journalists who specialise in covering television, radio and the media. They include critics, previewers, media correspondents and feature writers from national newspapers, broadcasters and leading trade journals and websites.

Previous Best Actress winners include Dame Eileen Atkins, Dame Helen Mirren, Gillian Anderson, Vanessa Redgrave, Maxine Peake, Anne-Marie Duff, Dame Diana Rigg, Zoe Wanamaker, Gina McKee and Juliet Stevenson. The Best Actor award has gone to Kenneth Branagh, Colin Firth, Sir Alec Guinness, Albert Finney, Charles Dance, Robert Hardy, Jim Broadbent, Christopher Ecclestone, and Philip Glenister among others (see details and photos on

Further information from Torin Douglas, BPG, 020 8624 9052

The full list of nominations is:

Best Single Drama
Mo (Channel 4)
Corrie: The Road to Coronation Street (BBC Four)
Toast (BBC One)

Best Drama Series
Any Human Heart (Channel 4)
Downton Abbey (ITV1)
Sherlock (BBC One)

Best Single Documentary
Alan Bennett & the Habit of Art (More 4)
Cutting Edge: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (Channel 4)
Requiem for Detroit? (BBC Two)
Stephen Fry: Wagner and Me (BBC Four)

Best Documentary Series
Coppers (Channel 4)
The Great Offices of State (BBC Four)
Wonders of the Solar System (BBC Two)

Best Comedy/Entertainment
The Inbetweeners (E4)
Miranda (BBC Two)
Rev (BBC Two)
The Trip (BBC Two)

Best Multichannel Programme
Fry & Laurie Reunited (GOLD)
An Idiot Abroad (Sky1)
Thorne (Sky1)

Best Factual Entertainment Programme
The Apprentice (BBC One)
Gareth Malone goes to Glyndebourne (BBC Two)
Mary, Queen of Shops (BBC Two)
Top Gear (BBC Two)

Best Actor
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey (ITV1), The Silence (BBC One)
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock (BBC One), Van Gogh: Painted with Words (BBC One)
Tom Hollander, Rev (BBC Two), Any Human Heart (Channel 4)

Best Actress
Helena Bonham Carter, Toast (BBC One)
Dame Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (ITV1)
Julie Walters, Mo (Channel 4)

Writer’s Award
Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine & Joanna Scanlan, Getting On (BBC Two)
Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey (ITV1)
Steven Moffat, Doctor Who (BBC One) & Sherlock (BBC One) with Mark Gatiss & Stephen Thompson

Best Performer in a non-Acting role
Brian Cox, Wonders of the Solar System (BBC Two)
Jamie Oliver, Jamie Does… (Channel 4)
Mary Portas, Mary Queen of Shops (BBC Two)
Louie Spence, Pineapple Dance Studios (Sky1)