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Wolf Hall and This Is England '90 score double wins at BAFTA TV Awards (2016)

Story by Jack Foley

BBC costume drama Wolf Hall (pictured) and Shane Meadows’ This Is England ’90 both picked up two prizes at this year’s BAFTA Television Awards (2016).

The former saw Mark Rylance continue a memorable year so far with a win for leading actor for his role as Thomas Cromwell in the BBC-2 historical drama. It also won the coveted drama prize.

This Is England ’90, meanwhile, picked up awards for best mini-series and Chanel Cresswell as best supporting actress.

Peter Kay’s Car Share also emerged as a double winner on the night – picking up trophies for best scripted comedy and best male comedy performance for Kay. Ironically, the comedy-drama started life on the iPlayer. And its success clearly took Kay by surprise.

He said, upon picking up his trophy: “It was just two people in a car talking – who’d have thought it in this day and age?”

Another of the night’s top prizes was won by Suranne Jones, who was crowned best leading actress for her role in the BBC One marital drama Doctor Foster.

While Michaela Coel won the BAFTA for best female comedy performance for E4’s Chewing Gum, beating Miranda Hart, Sharon Gibson and Sharon Horgan. She began her acceptance speech by paying tribute to the memory of late comedian Victoria Wood.

Sir Tom Courtenay won the best supporting actor prize for his role in ITV’s crime drama Unforgotten.

While Have I got News For You won the best comedy programme award.

And Channel Four News won the news coverage award for its coverage of the Paris attacks, prompting its recipient Jon Snow to say: “It was the most testing evening I’ve known in news television – it ripped the heart out of Paris.”

The soap prize went to EastEnders, which beat last year’s winner Coronation Street, as well as Emmerdale and Holby City, while the best entertainment performance went to Leigh Francis for Celebrity Juice on ITV2, beating host Graham Norton.

Poldark won the Radio Times Audience Award – the only award decided by the public, prompting its star, Aiden Turner, to thank the “supportive and loyal” fans.

And the evening was capped when Sir Lenny Henry picked up the special award for his outstanding contribution to TV.

The comedian and actor used to his speech to renew his call for the BBC to include diversity as part of its charter.

This year’s ceremony, which was hosted by Graham Norton, took place at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Sunday night (May 8, 2016), and came just days before the government prepares to publish a white paper that sets out the BBC’s future role, function and structure.

Hence, some of the speculation surrounding what might lie in store for the BBC prompted several of the winners to defend the impartiality of the BBC and to issue warnings against any government intervention that might compromise this.

Rylance, for instance, used his acceptance speech to say: “Whoah to any government that tries to get between the British people and their love of a good story… a good joke… and the incredible variety of pop culture in this country.”

While Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky warned that the impartiality of the BBC was “under threat”, adding that government appointees might sit on the editorial board. He added: “This is scary stuff folks… it’s not their BBC – it’s your BBC.”

And Have I Got News For You winner Ian Hislop also joined those in defending the BBC’s value by saying: “I’d like to thank the BBC who have allowed Have I Got News For You to be very rude about governments of all persuasions and about the BBC itself.”

See the winners in full