The BBC’s “Peaky Blinders” triumphed at BAFTA’s British Academy Television Awards, which were handed out Sunday night. The crime drama won best drama series, beating out Netflix’s “The Crown,” which missed out on the big prize for the second consecutive year.
“The Crown’s” Claire Foy, who plays Queen Elizabeth II, was also passed over for the second year running as the leading actress award went to Molly Windsor for BBC true-life miniseries “Three Girls,” about three young girls who were groomed, sexually abused and trafficked by a group of men. “Three Girls” also took home the award for best miniseries, adding to the three awards it won at the BAFTA Craft Awards in April.
Windsor praised the real girls on whose story the show was based for their bravery in speaking out. “‘Three Girls’ was born out of the courage of the real three girls and the real Holly, Amber and Ruby that told this story over and over and over,” said Windsor. “And I just want to say thank you to everyone for recognizing how selfless that is and how brave that is.”
It was not a total shutout for “The Crown,” as Vanessa Kirby picked up the best supporting actress award for her portrayal of Princess Margaret. The Netflix show went home empty-handed in 2017 having gone into the ceremony as the leading nominee with five nominations, including for Foy and Kirby. This year it received three nominations. The third season, which is currently in production, sees a new cast take over, led by three-time BAFTA winner Olivia Colman as the queen.
Kirby dedicated her award to the late Princess Margaret. “I felt like the luckiest person in the world to play somebody that was so colorful and vivid and brave and strong,” Kirby said.
Sean Bean was named best leading actor for his role as a Catholic priest in BBC drama “Broken.” Bean praised “the great mind and great writing” of creator Jimmy McGovern, who he said was “an inspiration” and “an incredible man who shines a light on some of the darker aspects of our society.”
Best supporting actor went to Irish actor Brian F. O’Byrne for ITV Studios’ “Little Boy Blue.”
“Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight said the “only cloud” over the show’s triumph was the lack of nominations for its cast. “I just wish that the people who have created some iconic TV characters – Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson – that soon, maybe, they will be here as wellm because I think they deserve to be,” said Knight.
The Caryn Mandabach Productions and Tiger Aspect production returns for a fifth season next year, with two further seasons already confirmed.
Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” claimed the BAFTA for best international series. The drama beat out heavyweight competition from HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” FX’s “Feud: Bette and Joan” and PBS documentary series “The Vietnam War.”
One surprise of the night came when acclaimed natural history series “Blue Planet II” lost out in the specialist factual category to BBC Studios’ documentary “Basquiat: Rage to Riches,” about U.S. artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. However, there was consolation for the “Blue Planet II” team as they took home the must-see moment award, which is voted for by the public. “Planet Earth II” had won the award the previous year.
Daisy May Cooper took home the award for female performance in a comedy for “This Country,” while she and her brother Charlie Cooper won best scripted comedy for the BBC show. The pair already won a BAFTA Craft award last month for Breakthrough Talent for writing the comedy series.
It was a good year for BAFTA’s Breakthrough Brits initiative, which sees 20 newcomers each year selected for a year-long mentoring and guidance program aimed at supporting and showcasing the next generation of British creative talent. Both the Coopers and Molly Windsor were past participants in the program, which has been running since 2013.
BAFTA chair Jane Lush told Variety in April that the nominations for Breakthrough Brits participants this year were particularly special. “BAFTA puts a lot of time, effort, and resources behind encouraging new talent, so it is brilliant to see that,” said Jane Lush.
Toby Jones won male performance in a comedy program for the BBC’s “Detectorists.”
Both the BBC’s “Line of Duty” and Netflix’s “Black Mirror” went home empty-handed having entered the night with three nominations each – matching “The Crown” and “Three Girls.”
The ceremony, hosted for the second year by Sue Perkins, took place at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Sunday night.
FULL WINNERS LIST:
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
Molly Windsor, “Three Girls”
Sean Bean, “Broken”
Vanessa Kirby, “The Crown”
Brian F. O’Byrne, “Little Boy Blue”
Female performance in a comedy program:
Daisy May Cooper, “This Country”
Male performance in a comedy program:
Toby Jones, “Detectorists”
“Murdered for Being Different”
“Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad”
Comedy entertainment program:
“Murder in Successville”
Graham Norton, “The Graham Norton Show”
“Britain’s Got Talent”
“Basquiat – Rage to Riches”
Reality & constructed factual:
“Cruising With Jane McDonald”
“Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets” (“Panorama”)
“World War I Remembered: Passchendaele”
“The Rohingya Crisis,” Sky News
Short form program:
“Morgana Robinson’s Summer”
Soap & continuing drama:
“The Grand National”
Virgin TV’s must-see moment (voted for by the public)
“Blue Planet II” – Mother Pilot Whale Grieves
BAFTA Fellowship (previously announced):
Special award (previously announced):