PALERMO — Britain’s reputation for quality TV programming took a hit Friday when the U.K. nabbed only one key prize at the Prix Italia, which wrapped Saturday.
The news was even worse for the home country, which didn’t manage a single win.
For the second year running, Scandinavian broadcasters had much to be pleased with, carrying off three honors in the prestigious competition. But overall, winners were spread across a wide range of territories.
Surprisingly, the BBC, which in previous years has dominated the Prix, failed to score in the main categories. The pubcaster had to make do with a nod for the Web site of BBC1 Religion and Ethics.
U.K. niche station Channel 4 won the TV movie and miniseries drama award for “Sunday,” a documentary-style account of the events in Northern Ireland on Jan. 30, 1972, when British paratroopers shot dead 13 civilians in Derry, scripted by Jimmy McGovern.
The prize for drama serials went to “Julia’s Truth,” a coming-of-age saga about a 16-year-old girl made for Finland’s YLE.
In the doc section, Danish pubcaster DR won with “The Valo Man,” a portrait of an autistic man, while current affairs kudos went to France’s FR2 for “Murder on a Sunday Morning,” the story of a black teenager charged with the murder of a white woman.
DR added to its tally by winning the radio docu prize with “The Infidel Poet,” about an Iranian poet’s death in a Copenhagen hospital.
France’s Arte secured the music and arts docu award with a profile of pianist Marta Argerich.
German pubcaster ZDF carried home the Granarolo Special Prize for “Alison’s Baby,” a docu depicting a handicapped woman facing pregnancy and daily life with her healthy baby.
The results of the 54th Prix Italia confirmed the view of many who attended the festival that the event is becoming increasingly European and less Anglocentric.
“Five years ago, British programs were setting standards in both drama and documentaries,” said a Prix veteran. “That is no longer the case. The rest of the world has caught up and, in some cases, overtaken the Brits.”
(Cecilia Zecchinelli contributed to this report.)