British Academy Television Awards 2008 – the winners/our picks

by | Apr 20, 2008 | All, Reviews

Boy A, Cranford, Peep Show, The Street, The Apprentice, Harry Hill, Gavin & StaceyBest actor
Winner Andrew Garfield: Boy A (Channel 4)
Tom Hardy: Stuart: A Life Backwards (BBC Two)
Matthew Macfadyen: Secret Life (Channel 4)
Antony Sher: Primo (BBC Four)
David’s pick: I can’t separate Macfadyen, Hardy and Garfield, so as a tiebreaker I’ll plump for Hardy because of his other stellar performance as Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist.
Luke’s pick
: Mathew Macfadyen was convincing in Secret Life as a released paedophile who struggled to slip back into society and bizarrely made you feel for the character.
Paul’s pick: Andrew Garfield moved me most as the man who had killed as a child and, although rehabilitated, was not forgiven. Macfadyen had a similar role as a released paedophile but didn’t quite have the same impact.Best actressWinner Eileen Atkins: Cranford (BBC One)
Judi Dench: Cranford (BBC One)
Gina McKee: The Street (BBC One
Kierston Wareing: It’s A Free World (Channel 4)
David’s pick: Kierston Wareing brought the right contrast of confusion and delusional resolve as an out-of-her-depth gangmaster in It’s A Free World, but such was the maelstrom of compassion, austerity and charisma of Eileen Atkins in Cranford, I’ll vote for her.
Luke’s pick
: I’d be willing to put money on Dame Judi’s name being read out.
Paul’s pick: Eileen Atkins only appeared in two episodes of the wonderful Cranford but she stole the show as the prim spinster who disapproved of sucking oranges – and just about everything else.Best entertainment performance
Simon Amstell: Never Mind The Buzzcocks (BBC Two)
Alan Carr and Justin Lee Collins: The Friday Night Project (Channel 4)
Stephen Fry: QI (BBC Two)
Winner Harry Hill: Harry Hill’s TV Burp (ITV1)David’s pick: As the Friday Night Project has admitted Girls Aloud, it is as irradiated as Chernobyl, so that’s those two out of the running. Fry and Amstell are both so familiar that their wit – erudite and snide respectively – has almost become almost part of the furniture. Which is why Harry Hill is the clear winner for me.Luke’s pick: All these nominees are deserving. But I’d like to see Simon Amstell take it. I’ts not often that a show can replace a host and it feel comfortable. I’ve not missed Mark Lamarr at all and, if anything, I’ve enjoyed the recent series of Never Mind the Buzzcocks more than ever.Paul’s pick: I love all five nominees, but Harry’s good-natured comedy is more deserving than the barbed, wacky and bookish efforts of the others.
Best comedy performance
Peter Capaldi: The Thick of It (BBC Four)
Winner James Corden: Gavin and Stacey (BBC Three)
Stephen Merchant: Extras Christmas special (BBC One)
David Mitchell: Peep Show (Channel 4)
David’s pick: Capaldi and Merchant only appeared in about one episode apiece this year (and The Thick of It has palled a little). James Corden was fantastic in Gavin & Stacey, but as I identify more with David Mitchell’s monstrously miserable Mark, he’s my choice.
Luke’s pick
: Another strong list of deserving winners. I’d like to see David Mitchell win. The last series of Peep Show may not have been as strong as the previous three but David is a true comic genius. I would’ve picked Stephen Merchant but he didn’t feature enough in the Extras special.
Paul’s pick: I predict David Mitchell will make a very witty winner’s speech when he pips the other three talents in this well-contested category (which should have had Screenwipe’s Charlie Brooker among the contenders).Best single drama
Boy A (Channel 4)
Coming Down The Mountain (BBC One)
Winner The Mark Of Cain (Channel 4)
The Trial of Tony Blair (More 4)
David’s pick: The Tony Blair drama was more an indulgent, albeit entertaining, act of fulfilling a frustrated wish, Mark of Cain was harrowing, but Boy A was near perfect drama in which every character seemed to be detailed down to their last atom.Luke’s pick: This has to go to Coming Down The Mountain. It was a drama that could have been quite soppy and corny but the story was told with a great deal of realism without being patronising or over-sentimental.Paul’s pick: Blair doesn’t compare to the other dramas which left a deep emotional impact without being manipulative. Coming Down The Mountain – starring Nicholas Hoult and Tommy Jessop as his brother with Down’s syndrome – was just that little more special, a fine TV drama debut for novelist Mark Haddon.
Best drama serialWinner Britz (Channel 4)
Cranford (BBC One)
Five Days (BBC One)
Murphy’s Law (BBC One)
David’s pick: A strong category with four worthy nominations, but it’s between Five Days – which was inventive in that it focused on the impact of a murder case on the people affected rather than the inquiry itself – and, my choice, the sublime Cranford – a classic, proving that not all family dramas need to be sentimental and pander to audience expectations.Luke’s pick: This is quite a weak list, I think. Again I think Cranford’s a safe bet but it’s a list that doesn’t leave much to choose from.Paul’s pick: Sunday evening serials crammed with bodices, candles and horse-drawn carts are usually pretty but dreadul but trend-bucking Cranford should be a shoo-in. None of the others particular impressed.Best drama series
Life on Mars (BBC One)
Rome (BBC Two)
Skins (E4)
Winner The Street (BBC One)David’s pick: I’ve never got Life on Mars (or Ashes to Ashes). The first episode of the new series of Skins was one unquestionably celestial TV, replete with harps and angels but it remains maddeningly inconsistent. I’ll choose Rome for the flawless acting, the exquisite detail and for that oddly moving scene when Pullo sat with Cicero in his garden before executing him and nailing his hands to the senate door – nothing segues between beauty and brutality with the same verve and relish as Rome.Luke’s pick: Life On Mars has been raved about but I think this prize should go to The Street. It’s gritty, real and to the point, which is what I like in TV drama. Let’s just hope we get a third series.Paul’s pick: The first two are overrated; the third is underrated; the last is highly regarded, rightly so, and should be the winner after a superb second series of torrid tales stretching the talents of Britain’s best actors.
Best continuing drama
The Bill (ITV1)
EastEnders (BBC One)
Emmerdale (ITV1)
Winner Holby City (BBC One)David’s pick: The last time I watched a soap was when I was entrapped in the vortex of having my tea at the same time as Neighbours in 1991, so I care less about this than which factory-line earnest (fe)male ‘singer/songwriter’ is topping the charts this week.Luke’s pick: Waterloo Road should have made the list. I’d predict a win for the always smiley folk of Albert Square, though.Paul’s pick: Don’t watch any of these much. But Sun Hill will always have a place in my heart so it’s The Bill I’m backing. Waterloo Road should be on this list – and at the top of it.Best factual series
Meet The Natives (Channel 4)
Paul Merton in China (Five)
Tribe (BBC Two)
Winner The Tower: A Tale of Two Cities (BBC One)David’s pick: Meet The Natives, for the way in which it reflected back at Western society its petty absurdities and needless etiquette.Luke’s pick: Again this isn’t the best list but Tribe will always be a favourite of mine for never failing to be interesting and compelling. Meet The Natives was good but I preferred Five’s Return Of The Tribe which had a similar premise.Paul’s pick: Not an impressive shortlist – all good, none of them great. Tribe is always compelling, though, and deserves to win, but Meet The Natives probably will.Best entertainment programme
Britain’s Got Talent (ITV1)
Winner Harry Hill’s TV Burp (ITV1)
Have I Got News For You (BBC One)
Strictly Come Dancing (BBC One)
David’s pick: Strictly Come Dancing is punk for people dead from the neck up, Britain’s Got Talent is punk for people who are dead all over and want to take the whole world with them. Have I Got News… STILL needs a permanent host – Boris Johnson can only appear so many times before that joke isn’t funny anymore. Thank God for Harry Hill, the most consistently funny show of the year, and much like Cranford, it’s a ‘family’ show – which may soon become a byword for exemplary quality rather than staid, stale, stolid swill.Luke’s pick: It has got to be Britain’s Got Talent even though it annoys me that Piers Morgan will be holding an award.Paul’s pick: Britain’s Got Talent was a sensation – that baton-swirling boy provided one of my favourite TV moments of 2007. But as some odious folk were involved (Cowell, Morgan), I hope Harry Hill goes home happy. Best situation comedy
Benidorm (ITV1)
The IT Crowd (Channel 4)
Winner Peep Show (Channel 4)
The Thick of It (BBC Four)
David’s pick: Benidorm is an ITV1 sympathy nomination, The Thick of It wasn’t as strong as previously (but still very good) so it’s between The IT Crowd – during the second series, Graham Linehan instilled some of that Father Ted magic surrealism – and Peep Show, which keeps getting better and better, making it my choice.
Luke’s pick
: I seem to be alone in enjoying Benidorm so I know it won’t win. I’d go for The Thick Of It but I think Gavin & Stacey deserves to be nominated, too.
Paul’s pick: The Thick Of It will win. I won’t complain but I’d rather Peep Show earned more recognition for its insightful brilliance. The IT Crowd’s second run was much improved; Benidorm sucked and should have been replaced by Lead Balloon on the shortlist.Best comedy programme
The Armstrong & Miller Show (BBC One)
Winner Fonejacker (Channel 4)
Russell Brand’s Ponderland (Channel 4)
Star Stories (Channel 4)
David’s pick: A bizarrely weak category, Star Stories is too aligned with Heat to be worthwhile no matter how caustic the parody; Fonejacker is 10 years out of date; Russell Brand had its moments but needs more editorial discipline, and so it’s the quite good Armstrong & Miller for me (God look at me, I’m beginning to adopt the asinine non-committal critical cowardice of Late Review).Luke’s pick: This list is the worst of the lot for me. Armstrong & Miller were entertaining but, as ever with a sketch show, it was hit and miss. I didn’t crack a smile at Star Stories and I find Brand and Fonejacker slightly irritating.Paul’s pick: I detest Brand; I’m a bit bored with sketch comedy; and I thought Star Stories stuttered, so it’s Fonejacker for me. Made me laugh more than any other comedy in 2007.
Audience award
The Apprentice (BBC Two)
Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain (BBC Two)
Britain’s Got Talent (ITV1)
Cranford (BBC One)
Winner Gavin & Stacey (BBC Three)
Strictly Come Dancing (BBC One)
David’s pick: Because we’re not usually enamoured by costume drama, I’ll go with Cranford as it crossed the genre barrier with the same insouciant valour and brilliance as Nirvana’s Nevermind.Luke’s pick: The audience will go with Britain’s Got Talent but I’d like to see The Apprentice get the award. Gavin & Stacey would do better in the comedy section.Paul’s pick: I’m crazy for Cranford so that’s the one I want to win. I hope Strictly Comes Dancing doesn’t but won’t complain if any of the others triumphs.
Best single documentary
Beautiful Young Minds (BBC Two)
Winner Lie of the Land (Channel 4)
Malcolm and Barbara: Love’s Farewell (ITV1)
Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives (BBC Four)
David’s pick: Malcolm And Barbara: Love’s Farewell is the best in a strong category that seems soaked with tragedy.Luke’s pick: Malcolm and Barbara was moving but went on a bit. I think Beautiful Young Minds would be a deserving winner.Paul’s pick: Beautiful Young Minds was the most fascinating; Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives was interesting; the other two disappointed me.
Best feature
Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection (BBC Two)
Winner Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (Channel 4)
The Secret Millionaire (Channel 4)
Top Gear (BBC Two)
David’s pick: With cooking the surly black shirt menace of modern TV, I’m ruling out Blumenthal and Ramsay. But Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear dogma is rapidly becoming the consensual voice of a generation of society with the same cultural and philosophical perspective as the barbarians who savagely pillaged Rome. The Secret Millionaire, by default.
Luke’s pick
: Anything that brings me close to tears deserves an award and so Secret Millionaire has to win this.
Paul’s pick: The Secret Millionaire made me cry so that’s the winner for me. Hate Top Gear, bored with cooking.
Best international show
Californication (Five)
Family Guy (BBC Three)
Winner Heroes (BBC Two)
My Name Is Earl (Channel 4)
David’s pick: As none of these shows has captivated me to the point of systematic addiction, I’ll go with Heroes for the thrilling last episode (but even that was almost ruined by the plastic pathos between Peter and Nathan).Luke’s pick: Family Guy is an all-time favourite of mine. I know it doesn’t stand a chance against the mighty Heroes, but it’s nice it gets mentioned.Paul’s pick: Heroes is the only nominee that I enjoyed – and even that bored me towards the end. It should win; Californication better not. Dexter was the best import of 2007 and should have been shortlisted – along with Prison Break, Entourage and The Office.
Best special factualWinner Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain (BBC Two)
Earth: The Power of the Planet (BBC Two)
The Genius of Photography (BBC Four)
The Relief of Belsen (Channel 4)
David’s pick: Modern Britain and Belsen were exhausting, exhaustive reinterpretations of historical events, but reinterpretations all the same. But I’ll choose Earth: Power of the Planet which sought to teach you something new and astonishing, and Dr Iain Stewart’s schoolboy enthusiasm grew on us with each episode.
Luke’s pick
: Earth was spectacular. I think it’s a winner!
Paul’s pick: Marr was entertaining but my choice goes to the spectacular Earth, a natural history documentary not tarnished by Titchmarsh. Shouldn’t The Choir have made this list?
Best current affairsWinner China’s Stolen Children: A Dispatches Special (Channel 4)
Dispatches: Fighting The Taliban (Channel 4)
Honour Kills (BBC Three)
Panorama: Dog-Fighting Undercover (BBC One)
David’s pick: Another category that rightly rewards tackling often unpleasant subjects, and of the three we saw China’s Stolen Children was the most powerful.Luke’s pick: I didn’t see any of the nominees but I’ll be happy as long as Panorama doesn’t win.Paul’s pick: Fighting The Taliban was the stand-out documentary from this list. Panorama has so lost its way that I hope it doesn’t win.
Best news coverage
BBC Ten O’Clock News: War in Afghanistan (BBC One)
Channel 4 News: Iraq: The Surge (Channel 4)
ITV Evening News: Zimbabwe: The Tyranny and the Tragedy (ITV1)
Winner Sky News: Glasgow Airport Attack (Sky News)David’s pick: I don’t watch Sky News on principle that I might be ideologically poisoned, ITV News bulletins are little better than spiteful gossip columns with the readers furrowing their brows as hard as they can to project pseudo-compassion, Channel 4 News is an exasperatingly tiresome beacon of banality for guilt-ridden liberals to absorb while sipping a glass of expensive red wine, and the BBC correspondents have spent the last month desperately searching for tree-crushed cars to give their reports on bad weather some human substance. None of them deserve an award until they stop letting public opinion determine what is newsworthy and what isn’t and decide for themselves instead of relying on a wasted generation of emotionally wizened wastrels who are hanging pathetically off the teat of Heat ‘magazine’.Luke’s pick: Normally the BBC can’t be beaten but the Sky coverage from Glasgow is the one that stands out for me.Paul’s pick: Despite being a bit of sensation up against three very worthy reports, the Sky coverage from Glasgow gets my vote.
Best sport
Boat Race (ITV1)
Winner ITV F1: Canadian Grand Prix Live (ITV1)
Rugby World Cup 2007: England v France semi-final (ITV1)
Wimbledon: The Men’s Final (BBC One)
David’s pick: The fact that three of these nominations – Grand Prix, Boat Race and Wimbledon – serve almost as great a purpose as a sickening social séance for the obscene and the obscenely wealthy immediately disqualifies them, leaving the Rugby World Cup to triumph.Luke’s pick: I’m not a sports fan – I’m just happy wrestling didn’t make the cut!Paul’s pick: ITV deserves the award for its excellent rugby coverage. If only it could tackle football as well.
Best interactivity
Big Art Mob (Channel 4)
Doctor Who Comic Maker (BBC One)
Winner Spooks Interactive (BBC One)
The X Factor (ITV1)
David’s pick: Is this necessary?
Luke’s pick
: Shouting at The X Factor was about as an interactive as I got.
Paul’s pick: Spooks gets my vote – although I must admit I didn’t get interactive with any of these four.

Special award
Paul Watson


Bruce Forsyth

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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