BAFTA TV Awards Preview: Programs

With its convoluted nomination process trying to predict what will contend for the BAFTA TV prizes when nominations are announced on April 30 is more of a lottery than with most other award shows. (Winners will be revealed on May 27.)

The favorite for Best Situation Comedy is last year’s winner “Rev.” which stars Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman who are both probable nominees. (See performer contenders report here.)

Other frontrunners for top laffer are “Twenty Twelve,” “Fresh Meat,” “Outnumbered” and “Spy.” 

“Stella” (which could be entered as a drama), “Friday Night Dinner,” “Him & Her,” “Mrs. Brown’s Boys,” “Pete versus Life,” “Phoneshop” and Ricky Gervais‘ “Life’s Too Short” are longer shots.

1993 champ “Absolutely Fabulous” aired two specials during the eligibility period but may have better chances in the performance categories. Likewise for comedy-drama “Roger & Val Have Just Got In” which aired its first two episodes of the current season before the deadline and could reap bids for Alfred Molina and Dawn French.

The rules for the drama races have changed this year, possibly due to “Sherlock” beating favorite “Downton Abbey” for the Best Drama Series award last year. Best Single Drama stays the same but now a drama with two to five episodes will be eligible in the new Best Mini-series category even if it is a returning show while Best Drama Series entrants include any programs airing between six and nineteen episodes.

Best Single Drama contenders include “Page Eight,” “United,” “Holy Flying Circus,” “London’s Burning,” “Christopher and his Kind,” “The Man Who Crossed Hitler,” “The Night Watch,” “Random” and “We’ll Take Manhattan.”

Best Mini-series is one of the most competitive categories with top-notch contenders “Appropriate Adult,” “The Crimson Petal and the White,” “Birdsong,” “This Is England ’88,” “Exile,” “Top Boy,” “Great Expectations,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and “Black Mirror” alongside returning shows “Sherlock,” “Luther” and “Mad Dogs.”

The much maligned Best Drama Series award, which for many years in the last decade didn’t even make the edited telecast, has been further weakened by the changes. However, it  picked up one quality mini-series “The Shadow Line” which aired seven episodes. It would be particularly ironic if that ended up beating “Downton Abbey” this year.

Other contenders are “The Hour,” which was more popular in America than at home, “The Fades,” “Scott & Bailey,” “Case Histories,” “Misfits,” “Shameless,” “Doctor Who” and the final series of “Spooks.”

“Stella” could be submitted as a comedy or drama. “Silk” aired five of its six episodes in the qualifying period as did “Call the Midwife” while “Being Human,” which has been nominated for the past two years, screened the final two episodes of season three and the first two episodes of season four during that timeframe.

Another major change this year is the new Best Reality and Constructed Factual category which brings together many types of reality shows such as “Don’t Tell The Bride,” “The Only Way Is Essex,” “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!,” and “The Apprentice” that had previously been fitted into other categories.

International programs are only eligible in the International category unless they are co-productions in which case they must be aired first in the UK. That rule excludes BBC’s “Torchwood” from all categories except for Best International Program where it is very unlikely to feature.

American shows have dominated this category in the last five years with only one nominee coming from elsewhere. That was Danish drama “The Killing” which won last year. The second season is eligible this year but it may have competition from another Danish show “Borgen.” Australian dramas “The Slap” and “Cloudstreet” could be contenders and a possible long-shot entry could be the South African documentary series “Have You Heard From Johannesburg?” 

The American domination will probably continue however with many strong contenders including “Modern Family,” “American Horror Story,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Game of Thrones,” “Treme,” “Justified,” “Dexter” and even “Wilfred.”

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