As Channel 4 may be fighting for its future amid government calls for it to be privatized, the success of one of its dramas – one of the most talked about bits of TV last year – echoes to the undeniable popularity of the channel with viewers.
It’s A Sin leads the pack this year BAFTA TV Awards – with two crafting awards already in the bag and six more up for grabs at Sunday’s ceremony.
The drama, which was set in London from 1981 to 1991, followed the lives of a group of gay men and their friends who lived through the UK’s HIV/AIDS crisis and was written and created by Queer As Folk and Doctor Who screenwriter Russell. T Davies.
Read more: Channel 4 gave us everything from The Big Breakfast to Big Brother
One of the show’s stars, Nathaniel J Hall, told Sky News earlier this year: “A show like It’s A Sin would struggle to be scheduled on a privatized Channel 4. In fact the production was refused by a number of other Channel 4 promotes diverse and engaging television that reflects modern Britain…
“It is the sparkling jewel of the UK’s excellent broadcasting portfolio. Privatization will spell the end of its creativity and fierce independence.”
Channel 4 has 44 nominations in total, with three of It’s A Sin stars Callum Scott Howells, Omari Douglas and David Carlyle competing in the Best Supporting Actor category.
Years and Years singer Olly Alexander is up for Best Lead Actor for his role on the show.
Read more: 2022 BAFTA TV awards nominations
The second most nominated TV show, Landscapers, which is co-produced by Sky and stars Olivia Colman and David Thewlis, has already won three craft awards and is expecting two more in the evening. Sky has 26 BAFTA nominations in total.
Landscapers saw Colman work with her husband, writer Ed Sinclair, and earned her Best Actress.
She told Sky News she would have turned it down if the script wasn’t great: “I might have said I wasn’t available, I’m taking the pom poms out of my tights or something, but I was really excited when I first read It’s just originality and inventiveness.”
Inspired by true events, Colman and Thewlis play a mild-mannered married couple whose lives are turned upside down after bodies are discovered in the back garden of a house in Nottingham.
Away from the future of public sector broadcasting, streaming services are also fighting for their survival. Following a lockdown-related boom in popularity, millions are now canceling subscriptions as they struggle to make ends meet due to the cost of living crisis.
In stark contrast, the BBC iPlayer had its best quarter ever, with programs streamed 1.83 billion times between January and March.
BAFTA TV nominations reflected this trend, with seven nods for Netflix and 47 for the BBC.
Elsewhere, the Virgin Media Must-Have Moment Awards – the only one voted for by the public – looks likely to go to the BBC for its powerful silent dance segment with eventual winner – and first-ever deaf contestant – Rose Ayling-Ellis in Come dance strictly.
One of last year’s Must-See Moment winners, Diversity member Jordan Banjo, told Sky News it shows how the awards reflect public attitudes.
He said, “It really reflects how people feel…It’s a conversation and kind of our culture from that year summed up.”
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Speaking of Ayling-Ellis’ historic performance, Banjo continued: “Rose and Giovanni’s performance, even though it’s a mean performance, and it’s amazing how talented she is – I’m impressed to see her play – the point is that she represents a community that by the general norm wouldn’t be Strictly going on, wouldn’t be there performing, wouldn’t have representation. But Rose is there doing that in one of the most breathtaking and beautiful dance pieces I have ever seen.”
In the evening, Scottish actor and comedian Billy Connolly – affectionately known as the Big Yin – will be named the recipient of this year’s BAFTA scholarship.
Connolly, who said he doesn’t let his Parkinson’s dictate who he is, will be celebrated for a career spanning more than five decades.
George Ezra will also perform.
The Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards ceremony will celebrate the best of British television on Sunday at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Hosted by Richard Ayoade, it is live on BBC1 from 6 p.m.