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BAFTA TV Awards 2024

Top Boy, Happy Valley and The Sixth Commandment were the big winners at this year’s BAFTA TV Awards, taking home two prizes apiece.

The final season of the critically acclaimed Netflix series Top Boy was named best drama, with star Jasmine Jobson also named best supporting actress for her portrayal of Jaq Lawrence.

Happy Valley picked up the award for most memorable moment, the only prize voted for by the public, while star Sarah Lancashire was named best actress once again for her portrayal of no-nonsense police sergeant Catherine Cawood – after first winning the prize for the role in 2017.

The Sixth Commandment picked up the awards for best limited drama and best actor for its star, Timothy Spall.

Despite leading the nominations race with eight nods in total, royal drama The Crown left empty-handed.

‘You changed my life’

Crime drama Top Boy follows the lives of Sully (Kane “Kano” Robinson) and Dushane (Ashley Walters) and deals with themes of crime, drugs and violence on the Summerhouse estate in Hackney, east London.

Picking up the best drama award ahead of Happy Valley, Slow Horses and The Gold, producer Charles Steel paid tribute to stars Walters and Robinson.

Jobson also took the chance to tell the BAFTAs audience: “I just want to say I am the woman who has been standing in a group full of men, you have shown me what it is to be strong and independent and how important it is to stand out in a crowd full of people where it’s easy to be invisible.

“Netflix, Top Boy, you changed my life.”

Yorkshire-based crime drama Happy Valley was another show that came to an end in 2023, bringing to a close the story of Sgt Cawood and Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), the criminal who destroyed her family.

Accepting the award for best actress, Lancashire said it was an honour to win and praised Sally Wainwright, the writer and creator of the show.

“I would like to acknowledge my fellow nominees and their tremendous work,” she said. “Sally Wainwright, I shall forever be grateful to you for this opportunity.

“I feel very, very privileged to have been surrounded by these brilliant actors and I thank each and every one of you.”

The series also won the memorable moment award for her character’s explosive final kitchen showdown with Royce, beating fellow shortlisted moments including David Beckham teasing wife Victoria about her “working class” roots in the Beckham documentary, and Logan Roy’s death in Succession.

‘Look it up on IMDB’

Picking up the leading actor award for The Sixth Commandment, a true crime drama exploring the murders of Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin in Buckinghamshire in 2014 and 2017, as well as the subsequent investigation and trial, veteran British star Timothy Spall joked: “Look it all up on IMDB [movie database] and you will see who was involved because to each and every soul of them, they are brilliant.”

He continued: “Acting is a stupid thing, it’s a soppy old thing, standing up pretending to be someone and p*ssing around in costume. Sixty-seven and you think ‘am I still doing this?’

“But sometimes you get the chance to play people that have had a terrible thing happen to them and all they wanted was love, and it’s a beautiful thing to be able to tell a story about that. It’s about crimes but it’s also about love.”

Looking at his award, he added: “I’ve always wanted one of these. I’m just so pleased to be amongst you lot.”

Elsewhere, Matthew Macfadyen won in the supporting actor category for his performance in the final series of Succession, the conclusion of the drama about the struggle for power in a media dynasty, while Strictly Come Dancing won the best entertainment prize in its 20th year on the air.

Tess Daly, who co-hosts with Claudia Winkleman, described the win as “the best birthday present”.

Squid Game: The Challenge was named best reality TV series, while last year’s Eurovision Song Contest won the award for live event coverage.

And there was a surprise in the international category, when French series Class Act beat huge shows including The Bear and Succession.

Comedy prizes include the hosts

In the comedy categories, Mawaan Rizwan won the award for best male performance for his role in Juice, about a young gay man who desperately wants to be the centre of attention as his family continuously steals his thunder, while Gbemisola Ikumelo won the female performance award for Black Ops.

Accepting his award, Rizwan said: “Thank you to my therapist – we had a conversation last week where we said I had to stop relying on external forms of validation.”

There was even an award for the ceremony hosts, comedians Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan, who took home the comedy entertainment prize for Sky show Rob And Romesh Vs.

Former Play School children’s presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin was presented with BAFTA’s highest honour, the Fellowship, by newsreader Clive Myrie, while daytime TV queen Lorraine Kelly was also honoured with a special prize, presented by Succession’s Brian Cox.

“Don’t pull up the ladder” to those from working-class backgrounds, Kelly told the crowd as she accepted her prize.

The ceremony also paid tribute to the stars of TV we have said goodbye to in the past year, including talk show host Sir Michael Parkinson, Lord Of The Rings actor Bernard Hill, newsreader George Alagiah, Hairy Biker Dave Myers, film and TV director Roy Battersby and Friends star Matthew Perry.

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