BBC prison drama Time was the big winner at the 2022 television Baftas on Sunday, landing best miniseries and best actor for Sean Bean, in an in-person ceremony where social issues took centre stage.
In another triumph for social realism, Help, about the care home crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic, won two awards. Jodie Comer won best actress for her role as a care worker, taking her second Bafta after winning for her role in Killing Eve in 2019, while best supporting actress went to Cathy Tyson for her portrayal of a resident.
Speaking after she received her award, Comer said the show had enabled her to “realise the power we have in the stories we tell and that we choose to tell, and [the importance of] not shying away from difficult subject matters”.
Collecting the award for Time as best miniseries, Stephen Graham praised "a phenomenal cast of young working-class men", adding that they had made the show "an absolutely joy to be a part of". Graham, who played a prison officer in the drama, said that as a child he had dreamed of working on "stories with a social commentary".
Tyson used her speech to thank Channel 4: “I remember being a teenager when Channel 4 was born and it had so many good things to do with it like diversity and it was a voice for people who were unheard at the time.”
The other big winner was Big Zuu, who collected his two Baftas for best feature and entertainment performance for Big Zuu’s Big Eats with a look of incredulity. “This is mad, this is actually not normal,” he told a press conference.
He made the case for representation in a powerful speech. “Mans come from humble beginnings. Representation is so important. Growing up, there weren’t many chefs or people that looked like me on telly. And now there’s young people watching us doing our ting thinking you know what? If these wastemen can win a Bafta, surely we can!”
Sunday’s ceremony in the Royal Festival Hall in London’s South Bank marked the first in-person awards since 2019 as well as the television Baftas’s 75th anniversary. Crowds gathered on nearby Hungerford Bridge as stars of British television gathered on the red carpet.
Setting the tone for the rest of the night, Bafta chair Krishnendu Majumdar opened the show with a political speech in which he made a powerful case for public service broadcasting in a direct challenge to the government's plans to privatise Channel 4, as well as praising colleagues' work in Ukraine and calling for more diversity among decision-makers in the industry.
In the international category, Amazon Prime's The Underground Railroad, an adaptation of Colston Whitehead's Pulitzer-prize-winning novel about escaping slavery, beat off tough competition from hit shows Succession, Mare of Easttown, Squid Game and Call My Agent.
In a winners' press conference, actor Sheila Atim praised the counsellors on set for looking after cast members' wellbeing. "It's a real testament to the fact you can have really safe and protective work environment while still creating brilliant work."
In a further echo of this ceremony’s focus on topical social issues, Steve McQueen took home a Bafta in the factual category after missing out on an award for Small Axe last year, for his documentary Uprising, about the New Cross fire of 1981, which foreshadowed future racial injustices including Grenfell.
'It's really important we do save Channel 4 and use this platform to say it'
McQueen told a press conference that for too long “black British history has been swept beneath the carpet”.
He also made an impassioned plea for Channel 4 to help sustain UK creativity. “Other people have more money than us, the Americans, but we have great ideas and that’s what makes us who we are.”
In another signal of the importance of inclusion on television, the reader-voted Virgin Media Must-see Moment went to Strictly Come Dancing for when contestant Rose Ayling-Ellis, who is deaf, danced with partner Giovanni Pernice in silence. She said was thrilled that her dance had led to "better deaf awareness". "We've still got a long way to go but it's such a great start," she said.
However, the 1980s-set Aids drama It’s a Sin, which had six nominations, the most of any show, failed to win any awards.
The creators of lockdown drama Together, starring Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy, which won best drama, used their speech to read a statement from Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, who said they had been "ignored, lied to and gaslighted by a government seemingly too busy partying", and called for a Covid inquiry to be launched.
Matthew Macfadyen took home the award for best supporting actor for his role in Succession. Creator Jesse Armstrong accepted the award, telling a press conference that his chemistry with actor Nicholas Braun had been written in the script, but was chiefly due to the fact "the actors like working together and they feed off it and we feed off how they perform it and it's a happy merry-go-round".
For scripted feature, Motherland took its first Bafta win for its final series. Gogglebox took home best reality and constructed factual, while best drama series went to teen angst series In My Skin.
The best comedy performances went to Jamie Demetriou in the male category for Channel 4's Stath Lets Flats, while Sophie Willan accepted her trophy in an expletive-laden speech for her role in BBC Two's Alma's Not Normal.
Mo Gilligan, who took home the award for best comedy entertainment programme for The Lateish Show, said he owed his career to Channel 4 taking a chance on him. “I went to lots of meetings and they said: “You’re good but we don’t know what to do with you …” It’s really important we do save Channel 4 and use this platform to say it.” – Guardian
Bafta TV awards 2022: Full list of winners
An Audience With Adele (ITV)
Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway (ITV) WINNER
Life & Rhymes (Sky Arts)
Strictly Come Dancing (BBC One)
Cathy Tyson – Help (Channel 4) WINNER
Céline Buckens – Showtrial (BBC One)
Emily Mortimer – The Pursuit of Love (BBC One)
Jessica Plummer – The Girl Before (BBC One)
Leah Harvey – Foundation (Apple TV+)
Tahirah Sharif – The Tower (ITV)
Big Zuu's Big Eats (Dave) WINNER
Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing (BBC Two)
Sort Your Life Out (BBC One)
The Great British Sewing Bee (BBC One)
Alma's Not Normal (BBC Two)
Motherland (BBC Two) WINNER
Stath Lets Flats (Channel 4)
We Are Lady Parts (Channel 4)
Callum Scott Howells – It's a Sin (Channel 4)
David Carlyle – It's a Sin (Channel 4)
Matthew Macfadyen – Succession (HBO/Sky Atlantic) WINNER
Nonso Anozie – Sweet Tooth (Netflix)
Omari Douglas – It's a Sin (Channel 4)
Stephen Graham – Time (BBC One)
Reality and constructed factual
Gogglebox (Channel 4) WINNER
Married at First Sight UK (E4)
RuPaul's Drag Race UK (BBC Three)
The Dog House (Channel 4)
Female performance in a comedy programme
Aimee Lou Wood – Sex Education (Netflix)
Aisling Bea – This Way Up (Channel 4)
Anjana Vasan – We Are Lady Parts (Channel 4)
Natasia Demetriou – Stath Lets Flats (Channel 4)
Rose Matafeo – Starstruck (BBC Three)
Sophie Willan – Alma's Not Normal (BBC Two) WINNER
It's a Sin (Channel 4)
Landscapers (Sky Atlantic/HBO)
Time (BBC One) WINNER
The Detectives: Fighting Organised Crime (BBC Two)
9/11: One Day in America (National Geographic)
Undercover Police: Hunting Paedophiles (Channel 4)
Uprising (BBC One) WINNER
Male performance in a comedy programme
Jamie Demetriou – Stath Lets Flats (Channel 4) WINNER
Joseph Gilgun – Brassic (Sky Max)
Ncuti Gatwa – Sex Education (Netflix)
Samson Kayo – Bloods (Sky One)
Steve Coogan – This Time With Alan Partridge (BBC One)
Tim Renkow – Jerk (BBC Three)
Alison Hammond – I Can See Your Voice (BBC One)
Big Zuu – Big Zuu's Big Eats (Dave) WINNER
Graham Norton – The Graham Norton Show (BBC One)
Joe Lycett – Joe Lycett's Got Your Back (Channel 4)
Michael McIntyre – Michael McIntyre's the Wheel (BBC One) Sean Lock – 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4)
Virgin Media must-see moment
An Audience With Adele – Adele is surprised by the teacher who changed her life (ITV)
I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! – Ant and Dec dig at Downing Street's lockdown parties (ITV)
It's a Sin – Colin's devastating Aids diagnosis (Channel 4)
RuPaul's Drag Race UK – Bimini's verse 'UK Hun?' (BBC Three)
Squid Game – red light, green light game (Netflix)
Strictly Come Dancing – Rose and Giovanni's silent dance to Symphony (BBC One) WINNER
Comedy entertainment programme
The Graham Norton Show (BBC One)
The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan (Channel 4) WINNER
Race Around Britain (Munz Made It/YouTube)
The Ranganation (BBC Two)
In My Skin (BBC Three) WINNER
Manhunt: The Night Stalker (ITV)
Vigil (BBC One)
David Thewlis – Landscapers (Sky Atlantic/HBO)
Hugh Quarshie – Stephen (ITV)
Olly Alexander – It's a Sin (Channel 4)
Samuel Adewunmi – You Don't Know Me (BBC One)
Sean Bean – Time (BBC One) WINNER
Stephen Graham – Help (Channel 4)
Denise Gough – Too Close (ITV)
Emily Watson – Too Close (ITV)
Jodie Comer – Help (Channel 4) WINNER
Kate Winslet – Mare of Easttown (Sky Atlantic/HBO)
Lydia West – It's a Sin (Channel 4)
Niamh Algar – Deceit (Channel 4)
Black Power: A British Story of Resistance (BBC Two)
Freddie Mercury: The Final Act (BBC Two)
The Missing Children (ITV) WINNER
Silenced: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain (BBC Two)
The Brit Awards 2021 (ITV)
The Earthshot Prize 2021 (BBC One) WINNER
The Royal Legion Festival of Remembrance (BBC One)
Short form programme
Hollyoaks Saved My Life (YouTube)
Our Land (Together TV) WINNER
People You May Know (Financial Times)
Please Help (Tiger Aspect Pro)
Fearless: The Women Fighting Putin (ITV) WINNER
Four Hours at the Capitol (BBC Two)
The Men Who Sell Football (Al Jazeera English)
Trump Takes on the World (BBC Two)
9/11: Inside the President's War Room (BBC One)
Grenfell: The Untold Story (Channel 4)
My Childhood, My Country – 20 Years in Afghanistan (ITV) WINNER
Nail Bomber: Manhunt (Netflix)
Death of England: Face to Face (Sky Arts)
Help (Channel 4)
I Am Victoria (Channel 4)
Together (BBC Two) WINNER
Soap and continuing drama
Casualty (BBC One)
Coronation Street (ITV) WINNER
Holby City (BBC One)
Channel 4 News: Black to Front (Channel 4)
Good Morning Britain: Shamima Begum (ITV)
ITV News at Ten: Storming of the Capitol (ITV) WINNER
Sky News: Afghanistan: Endgame (Sky News)
The Chase WINNER
Richard Osman's House of Games
Steph's Packed Lunch
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1) WINNER
ITV Racing: The Grand National (ITV)
Tokyo 2020 Olympics (BBC One)
Uefa Euro 2020 Semi-final: England v Denmark (ITV)
Call My Agent! (Netflix)
Mare of Easttown (Sky Atlantic/HBO)
Squid Game (Netflix)
Succession (Sky Atlantic/HBO)
The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime) WINNER