Brit drama ‘Hillsborough,’ Bochco’s ‘Blue’ Banff best

BANFF, Alberta — Steven Bochco’s gritty police drama “NYPD Blue” took top honors Monday as best continuing series at the Banff television festival.

U.S. shows won two more Banff Rockie awards at the weeklong TV gabfest: “The Larry Sanders Show,” produced by Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, Columbia Pictures Television and HBO, for best comedy, beating out three-time winner “Frasier”; and “The Gate of Heavenly Peace,” produced by the Long Bow Group in association with ITVS and WGBH, for best social and political documentary. The program examines the 1989 protests at Tiananmen Square in Beijing and its aftermath.

The big winner at the 18th Banff Rockie Awards was Granada Television’s “Hillsborough,” a documentary drama about the death of 96 spectators at a British football match, which earned the grand prize — best of the festival — and best made-for-TV movie.

British producers swept five other categories: best miniseries for Carnival Films’ “The Fragile Heart” (produced for Channel Four); a special jury prize for “Breaking the Code,” produced by the Drama House and the BBC; best performance special for “Theodora,” a U.K./U.S./Italy co-production produced by NVC Arts in association with the Ovation Arts Network, Telepiu Classica for Channel Four and Glyndebourne; best information program to the BBC’s “The Male Survival Guide (The Trouble with Men),” which deals with testicular cancer; and best arts documentary for “The House: Star Struck,” produced by Double Exposure for the BBC.

The award for best animation program went to France’s Fantome for “Insektors,” and the Netherlands’ Bos Bros. Film-TV Prods. and AVRO picked up a Rockie in the children’s program category for “Class Dismissed: An Honest Find,” the story of a girl who finds a purse and wants to return it to its rightful owner over her father’s objections.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s “Night of the Bogongs” took best popular science documentary. It describes the migration of the Bogong moth along the east coast of Australia.

TV veteran Steve Allen opened the festival with a diatribe against vulgarity on television.

The winners were chosen from a field of 76 nominees selected from a record 720 entries from 38 countries.

The festival, which wraps Friday, has drawn about 1,200 delegates from around the world.

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