BBC Two drama series Parade’s End has won four prizes at the 39th annual Broadcasting Press Guild Awards, voted for by journalists who write about TV and radio.

BBC Two also won four of the other awards, which are being presented today (Thursday) at a lunch in the Gladstone Library at One Whitehall Place in central London.

Benedict Cumberbatch was named best actor, for his roles as Christopher Tietjens in Parade’s End and Sherlock Holmes in BBC One’s Sherlock. Rebecca Hall was voted best actress for her role as Tietjens’ wife Sylvia, in the First World War drama.

Parade’s End also won the award for best drama series and the BPG writer’s award, which went to Sir Tom Stoppard, who adapted the novels by Ford Madox Ford. Cumberbatch, Hall and Stoppard are all due to attend the awards lunch, with executives from the BBC and Mammoth Screen, which produced the series.

The ITV documentary which exposed Jimmy Savile and helped plunge the BBC into crisis, won the award for best single documentary. Exposure: the Other Side of Jimmy Savile led to a national inquiry into child abuse and a chain of events that resulted in the departure of the BBC director-general George Entwistle.

John Humphrys, whose interview with Mr Entwistle on Radio 4’s Today was instrumental in the director-general’s resignation that evening, won the Harvey Lee Award for an outstanding contribution to broadcasting. Humphrys has been a BBC reporter, presenter and interviewer for more than 40 years, and the citation says “his tenacious interviewing of politicians and others in the news has made his name a byword for fearless inquisition.”

Humphry’s colleague Charlotte Green, who has stepped down after 25 years as a Radio 4 newsreader and announcer, was named radio broadcaster of the year. The award for best radio programme also went to Radio 4, for the series Soul Music which explores music with a powerful emotional impact.

Three awards marked the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012. The BBC won the innovation award for its live and catch-up coverage of all 304 events at the Olympics, across multiple platforms and devices. Presenters Huw Edwards and Gabby Logan are due to attend the lunch and receive the award with senior BBC executives responsible for the output.

The BBC Two comedy series Twenty Twelve – showing how preparations for the Olympics could go horribly wrong, with what the judges called “an uncanny ability to predict real-life events” – won the best comedy/entertainment award.          

And Channel 4’s Adam Hills won the breakthrough award for his nightly Paralympics show, The Last Leg, which gave an alternative view of the day’s events.

BBC Two also won the awards for best single drama (The Hollow Crown: Richard II), best documentary series (Inside Claridge’s) and best factual entertainment (Great British Bake Off).

The multichannel award went to Dynamo: Magician Impossible, featuring Steve Frayne, on UKTV’s Watch channel.

The awards are sponsored by Discovery Channel which is part of Discovery Networks.

The invitation-only ceremony at One Whitehall Place is attended by the winners, BPG members and leading broadcasting executives.

Tim Dams

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