The historical drama “Wolf Hall,” which was swept aside by “Olive Kitteridge” at last year’s Emmys, leads the nominees for this year’s BAFTA television awards with four bids including Best Drama Series. Recent Oscar champ Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) contends for his leading performance as Thomas Cromwell, adviser to Henry VIII. Claire Foy is up for Best Drama Actress for her portrayal of the doomed Anne Boleyn and Anton Lesser is cited for his featured turn as Thomas More.
“Wolf Hall,” which contended at the Emmys as a limited series, is classifed as a drama series by BAFTA as its six episodes just cross that threshold which goes up to 19 installments. It vies for that prize against “Humans,” “The Last Panthers” and “No Offense.”
Missing from that line-up is “Downton Abbey,” which has not contended in any BAFTA categories (including the crafts) for the past three years save for a production design nomination in 2013. Since then, it has won the SAG Awards ensemble prize twice and reaped three Emmy bids for Drama Series as well as 10 nominations for its series regulars.
While the small juries who decide these nominees once again spurned the most successful British TV export ever, BAFTA did honor the series with a special evening last fall, which was televised on both ITV and PBS.
The catch-all drama acting categories pit the players in telefilms, miniseries and series against each other.
Among the current crop of Emmy contenders, the five-part “London Spy” picked up a Best Miniseries bid and star Ben Whishaw is up for Best Actor along with Rylance, Emmy-eligible Idris Elba (“Luther“) and Stephen Graham (“This is England ’90”). At the most recent BAFTA film awards, Rylance won Best Supporting Actor for “Bridge of Spies” over, among others, Elba for “Beasts of No Nation.”
The Best Mini-Series (defined as two to five episodes) line-up also includes “Doctor Foster,” “The Enfield Haunting” and “This is England ’90.”
Vying for Best Single Drama are “The C-Word,” “Cyberbully,” “Don’t Take My Baby” and “The Go-Between.”
Foy faces off against Suranne Jones (“Doctor Foster”), Ruth Madely (“Don’t Take My Baby”) and Sheridan Smith (“The C-Word”).
Lesser is cited alongside Emmy-eligible Ian McKellen for “The Dresser,” as well as Tom Courtenay (“Unforgotten”) who created the role played by McKellen in the original 1980 production of Ronald Harewood‘s play, and Cyril Nri (“Cucumber”).
The Supporting Drama Actress nominees are Chanel Creswell (“This is England ’90”), Michelle Gomez (“Doctor Who”), Lesley Manville (“River”) and Eleanor Worthington-Cox (“The Enfield Haunting”),
On the comedy front, the series nominees are: “Chewing Gum,” “Peep Show,” “People Just Do Nothing” and “Peter Kay’s Car Share.”
The Comedy Actress lineup includes “Chewing Gum” star Michaela Coel and “Car Share” passenger Sian Gibson as well as writer/performers Miranda Hart (“Miranda”) and Emmy-eligible Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe“).
And “Car Share” creator Peter Kay is up for Comedy Actor as are Hugh Bonneville (“W1A”), Toby Jones (“The Detectorists”) and Javone Prince (“The Javone Prince Show”).
BAFTA TV Craft Awards 2016:
‘Wolf Hall’ tops craft nominations, followed by ‘London Spy’ & ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’
Graham Norton, who will once again be hosting the kudocast on BBC, vies for the Entertainment Performance prize for his eponymous talker against Leigh Francis (“Celebrity Juice”), Stephen Fry (“QI”) and Romesh Ranganathan (“Asian Provocateur”).
Fry’s show is also up for Comedy Entertainment Programme against “Charlie Brooker’s Election Wipe,” “Have I Got News For You” and “Would I Lie to You?”
The International category pits three dramas — “The Good Wife,” “Narcos” and “Spiral” — against the comedy “Transparent.”
And the nominees for the Soap & Continuing Drama prize are “Coronation Street,” “EastEnders,” “Emmerdale” and “Holby City.”
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