Television nominations for this year’s BPG Awards revealed: Women’s roles and stories lead the shortlists

Glenda Jackson, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Laura Kuenssberg, Lesley Manville and Suranne Jones lead the nominations for this year’s Broadcasting Press Guild TV Awards, sponsored by Virgin Media.

This year’s shortlists are dominated by women’s stories in drama, comedy and factual programmes. They include documentaries about Margaret Thatcher, Jade Goody and the female experience of war (For Sama); dramas Catherine The Great, Gentleman Jack and Elizabeth is Missing; and returning comedies Fleabag, Derry Girls and Mum.

The BPG Television and Radio Awards – for work commissioned or premiered in the UK and screened in 2019 – are prized by programme-makers because they are chosen independently by TV and radio correspondents, critics and previewers. The 46th annual BPG Awards lunch will be held at Banking Hall in the City of London on Friday March 13th 2020.

Glenda Jackson has been nominated for her first screen appearance in 27 years, playing a woman with dementia in Elizabeth is Missing on BBC One.  She is shortlisted for the BPG Best Actress award, alongside Suranne Jones for Gentleman Jack (BBC One), Lesley Manville for Mum (BBC Two) and World on Fire (BBC One), and Emily Watson for Chernobyl (Sky Atlantic + HBO).

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg is nominated for The Brexit Storm: Laura Kuenssberg’s Inside Story (BBC Two), which has been shortlisted for Best Single Documentary/Mini-Series with three Channel 4 programmes: For Sama; Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain; and Leaving Neverland (C4+ HBO). In the Best Documentary Series category, Thatcher: A Very British Revolution (BBC Two) is shortlisted alongside Damien Lewis: Spy Wars (A+E Networks) and three BBC One series: Seven Worlds, One Planet; Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History; and The Repair Shop.

Strong male performances are also recognised in the shortlists. Competing for the BPG Best Actor award are Andrew Scott (Fleabag and Black Mirror), Jared Harris (Chernobyl), Stephen Graham (The Virtues, Line of Duty and A Christmas Carol), and Ncuti Gatwa (Sex Education).

Ncuti Gatwa is also nominated for the BPG Breakthrough Award, alongside another Netflix nominee, Erin Doherty (The Crown), and Youssef Kerkour (Home, Criminal, Sex Education and Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special).

The Best Writer category is also hotly contested, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) competing against Russell T Davies (Years and Years), Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials and The Virtues), Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and Joe Barton (Giri/Haji), for writing series which have been shortlisted in the drama and comedy categories.

The Virtues (C4), Elizabeth is Missing (BBC One), Guilt (BBC Two) and Catherine The Great (Sky Atlantic) are nominated for the Best Single Drama/Mini-Series. In the Best Drama Series category, Chernobyl (Sky Atlantic + HBO) and Giri/Haji (BBC Two) are shortlisted with three BBC One series – Years and Years, World on Fire and The Capture.

For the BPG Comedy award, Mum (BBC Two), Fleabag (BBC Three + Amazon Prime Video) and Derry Girls (C4) will compete with Brassic (Dave) and the Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special (BBC One). BBC One’s The Graham Norton Show and Michael McIntyre’s Big Show head the nominations for the BPG Entertainment award, alongside Mortimer & Whitehouse Gone Fishing (BBC Two), Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK (BBC Three) and Taskmaster (Dave).

This year, programmes which were shown first online are nominated and voted for alongside broadcast channel commissions originating in the UK. Programmes which win in the Non-PSB (public service broadcasting) categories in the first round of voting, then compete with streaming and PSB shows.

The Awards lunch will be attended by the winners, BPG members and leading broadcasting executives and sponsored for the fourth year by Virgin Media.

David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media, said: “We’re proud to have sponsored the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards for the past four years, and to have celebrated so much talent within the industry in that time. 2019 was a standout year for television, from unmissable dramas to TV favourites frequenting our screens once again, and this year’s BPG nominations truly highlight the strength and breadth of great TV.”

For more information about Virgin Media visit

Further information from Torin Douglas, BPG, 07860 422992

Notes to editors:

  1. The winners will be announced at the 46th BPG Awards lunch at Banking Hall in the City of London on Friday March 13th 2020, sponsored by Virgin Media. The Harvey Lee Award for outstanding contribution to broadcasting and the BPG Jury Prize are in the gift of the BPG Executive Committee and will be presented as well. Winners will be informed in advance and places at the lunch are by invitation only.
  2. Virgin Media offers four multi award-winning services across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline. Its interactive TV service brings live programmes, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and the best apps and games in a set-top box, as well as on-the-go for tablets and smartphones. It launched the world’s first virtual mobile network and is also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the UK and Ireland. Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company, connecting over 11 million customers through operations in 6 countries across Europe.
  3. The shortlists for Audio Broadcaster of the Year, UK Podcast of the Year and Radio Programme of the Year will be announced in a week’s time.
  4. The Broadcasting Press Guild was founded in 1974 and has more than 175 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 online publishers.
  5. Past BPG Best Actress winners include Dame Eileen Atkins, Dame Helen Mirren, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Gillian Anderson, Vanessa Redgrave, Maxine Peake, Anne-Marie Duff, Dame Diana Rigg, Zoe Wanamaker, Gina McKee, Dame Julie Walters, Olivia Colman, Keeley Hawes, Sheridan Smith and Juliet Stevenson.
  6. The BPG Best Actor award has been awarded in previous years to Sir Mark Rylance, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Colin Firth, Sir Alec Guinness, Albert Finney, Charles Dance, Robert Hardy, Jim Broadbent, Christopher Ecclestone, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Jones and Dominic West among others (see more details and photos at


The full list is:

BPG Awards 2020 TV Nominations


Best Single Documentary/Mini-Series

For Sama (C4)

Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain (C4)

Leaving Neverland (C4 + HBO)

The Brexit Storm: Laura Kuenssberg’s Inside Story (BBC Two)


Best Documentary Series

Damien Lewis: Spy Wars (A & E Networks)

Seven Worlds, One Planet (BBC One)

Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History (BBC One)

Thatcher: A Very British Revolution (BBC Two)

The Repair Shop (BBC One)


Best Single Drama/Mini-Series

Catherine the Great (Sky Atlantic)

Elizabeth is Missing (BBC One)

Guilt (BBC Two)

The Virtues (C4)


Best Drama Series

Chernobyl (Sky Atlantic + HBO)

Giri/Haji (BBC Two)

The Capture (BBC One)

World on Fire (BBC One)

Years and Years (BBC One)


Best Comedy

Brassic (Sky One)

Derry Girls Series 2 (C4)

Fleabag Series 2 (BBC Three + Amazon Prime Video)

Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special (BBC One)

Mum Series 3 (BBC Two)


Best Entertainment

The Graham Norton Show (BBC One)

Michael McIntyre’s Big Show (BBC One)

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing Series 2 (BBC Two)

Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK (BBC Three)

Taskmaster (Dave)


Best Actress

Emily Watson – Chernobyl

Lesley Manville – Mum Series 3/World on Fire

Glenda Jackson – Elizabeth is Missing

Suranne Jones – Gentleman Jack


Best Actor

Andrew Scott – Fleabag/Black Mirror

Jared Harris – Chernobyl

Ncuti Gatwa – Sex Education

Stephen Graham – The Virtues/Line of Duty Series 5/A Christmas Carol


Best Writer

Craig Mazin – Chernobyl

Jack Thorne – His Dark Materials/The Virtues

Joe Barton – Giri/Haji

Phoebe Waller Bridge – Fleabag Series 2

Russell T Davies – Years and Years


BPG Breakthrough Award

Erin Doherty – The Crown Series 3

Ncuti Gatwa – Sex Education

Youssef Kerkour – Home/Criminal/Sex Education/Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special