Red Production Company’s It’s a Sin took home three prizes at last night’s Royal Television Society Programme Awards, with BBC Studios’ Strictly Come Dancing landing the RTS Judges’ Award.

The Outstanding Contribution to British Television Award 2022 went to screenwriter Jack Thorne, for creating some of the most compelling and important pieces of television of the past few years.

This year, having been unable to collect his Outstanding Contribution Award in 2020 due to COVID, Graham Norton was honoured for helping to pave the way for TV entertainment over his 30 year career.

Chair of the RTS Programme Awards Kenton Allen said: “To be reunited in person this evening at the RTS Programme Awards, amongst the incredible community of talent from the television industry, is a truly remarkable moment. All of tonight’s winners are fantastic examples of the outstanding content that has been produced in the UK and has resonated with audiences not only here but globally. A huge congratulations to all of tonight’s winners and nominees; it’s a wonderful chance to recognise the creative and hardworking people behind British television.”

The RTS Programme Awards seeks to recognise programmes which have made a positive contribution to their genre that year, worthy of acclaim by the industry and UK viewers.

A full list of winners and nominees below:

Actor (Female)

WINNER – Gabrielle Creevy – In My Skin (Expectation for BBC)

The judges described this performance as “really very special. The actor’s skilfully nuanced work in this piece was quite exceptional.”

Nominees:

– Sharlene Whyte – Stephen (HTM Television for ITV)

– Keeley Hawes – It’s A Sin (Red Production Company, a StudioCanal Company, for Channel 4 in association with HBO Max)

Actor (Male)

WINNER – Callum Scott Howells – It’s A Sin (Red Production Company, a StudioCanal Company, for Channel 4 in association with HBO Max)

The judges called the actor’s work in this piece “a really fine performance of profound tenderness and subtlety – a performance that lives long in the mind.”

Nominees:

– Tahar Rahim – The Serpent (Mammoth Screen for BBC in association with Netflix )

– Olly Alexander – It’s A Sin (Red Production Company, a StudioCanal Company, for Channel 4 in association with HBO Max)

Arts

WINNER – Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story (Passion Pictures for BBC)

In the opinion of the judges, the winning programme “showed a real honesty, great depth and felt like a genuine appointment to view.”

Nominees:

– African Apocalypse (Inside Out Films & Lemkino Pictures for BBC )

– Freddie Mercury: The Final Act (Rogan Productions for BBC)

Breakthrough Award

WINNER – Adjani Salmon – Dreaming Whilst Black (Big Deal Films for BBC)

The judges described the winner as “giving a performance that supported the writing really deftly…a performer whose work is charismatic and charming…a star in the making.”

Nominees:

– Callum Scott Howells – It’s A Sin (Red Production Company, a StudioCanal Company, for Channel 4 in association with HBO Max)

– Anjana Vasan – We Are Lady Parts (Working Title Television, which is a part of Universal International Studios, for Channel 4)

Children’s Programme

WINNER – The Rubbish World of Dave Spud (The Illuminated Film Company for CITV)

The judges called this programme, “original, surprising, modern and unpatronizing. It has a fresh approach that really appeals to its audience.”

Nominees:

– Newsround: Let’s Talk About Periods (BBC)

– The World According to Grandpa (Saffron Cherry Productions for Milkshake! Channel 5)

Comedy Entertainment

WINNER – The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan (Expectation & Momo G for Channel 4)

The winning show, said the judges, “has a real sense of occasion, and is full of brilliantly entertaining format beats.”

Nominees:

– The Graham Norton Show (So Television for BBC)

– The Last Leg (Open Mike Productions for Channel 4)

Comedy Performance (Female)

WINNER – Anjana Vasan – We Are Lady Parts (Working Title Television, which is a part of Universal International Studios, for Channel 4)

“Original, authentic and very funny”, said the judges of the winner. Her performance “was full of little touches that made the script even funnier.”

Nominees:

– Sophie Willan – Alma’s Not Normal (Expectation for BBC )

– Katy Wix – Stath Lets Flats (Roughcut Television for Channel 4)

Comedy Performance (Male)

WINNER – Samson Kayo – Bloods (Roughcut Television in association with Sky Studios for Sky One)

The judges described the performance by the winner as “one of real heart, warmth and originality.”

Nominees:

– Nick Mohammed – Intelligence (Expectation for Sky One)

– Adeel Akhtar – Back to Life (Two Brothers Pictures for BBC)

Daytime Programme

WINNER – The Great House Giveaway (Chwarel for Channel 4)

The winning programme, said the judges, “offered a refreshing new take and felt like a relevant, welcome addition to the daytime schedule.”

Nominees:

– Expert Witness (Rare TV for BBC)

– Richard Osman’s House of Games (Remarkable TV for BBC)

Documentary Series

WINNER – 9/11: One Day in America (72 Films for National Geographic/Hulu)

“An exceptional series, amazingly well produced and with exceptional storytelling” said the judges.

Nominees:

– Undercover Police: Hunting Paedophiles (BBC Studios for Channel 4)

– Liverpool Narcos (Blast! Films and Sky Studios for Sky Documentaries)

Drama Series

WINNER – In My Skin (Expectation for BBC)

“You felt like you were there with them…a piece that was moving, powerful and authentic” said the judges.

Nominees:

– Manhunt The Night Stalker (Buffalo Pictures for ITV)

– Unforgotten (Mainstreet Pictures for ITV)

Entertainment

WINNER – The Big Breakfast (Lifted Entertainment for Channel 4)

The winning show, the judges said, “felt both joyful and timely, with a special chemistry all of its own.”

Nominees:

– Big Zuu’s Big Eats (Boom for Dave)

– The Masked Singer (Bandicoot Scotland for ITV)

Entertainment Performance

WINNER – AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan (The Big Breakfast Lifted Entertainment for Channel 4)

“Playful and generous, funny and warm” said the judges.

Nominees:

– Rosie Jones – Trip Hazard (Studio 71 for Channel 4)

– Victoria Coren Mitchell – Only Connect (RDF Television West & Parasol for BBC)

Formatted Popular Factual

WINNER – The Dog House (Five Mile Films for Channel 4)

“This is a great format which is incredibly well cast and includes a bit of stealthy learning along the way” commended the judges.

Nominees:

– The Repair Shop (Richochet for BBC)

– The Rap Game UK (Naked (A Fremantle Label) for BBC)

History

WINNER – Uprising (Rogan Productions, Lammas Park and Turbine Studios for BBC)

The judges described the winner as “a landmark piece: impactful, intelligent, and a piece of contemporary history told with real skill.”

Nominees:

– 9/11: Life Under Attack (Brook Lapping for ITV in association with France Télévisions, the History Channel and VPRO)

– 9/11: Inside the President’s War Room (Wish/Art Films for BBC and Apple TV+)

Limited Series

WINNER – It’s A Sin (Red Production Company, a StudioCanal Company, for Channel 4 in association with HBO Max)

The judges called this drama “a devastating story grippingly told…a triumph of distinctive writing, great production and fine performances.”

Nominees:

– Time (BBC Studios for BBC)

– Stephen (HTM Television for ITV)

Live Event

WINNER – The Earthshot Prize 2021 (BBC Studios for BBC)

“Technically stunning, totally engaging, and a compelling narrative,” said the judges of the winning production.

Nominees:

– The Funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (BBC Studios for BBC)

– YouTube Pride 2021 (JA Films for YouTube Originals)

Presenter

WINNER – Munya Chawawa – Race Around Britain (Expectation and Munz Made It for YouTube Originals)

The winning presenter, the judges said, “skilfully unpacks serious points with a light and mischievous touch, making tricky subject matter really accessible.”

Nominees:

– Steph McGovern – Steph’s Packed Lunch (Expectation North & Can Can Productions for Channel 4)

– Joe Lycett – Joe Lycett Vs the Oil Giant (Rumpus Media for Channel 4)

RTS Network of the Year

WINNER – BBC One

The winning network, said the judges, “is impressive because of its sheer quality…it is quite simply, the best in class.”

Nominees:

· ITV

· Sky Arts

Science and Natural History

WINNER – David Harewood – Why Is Covid Killing People of Colour? (Twenty Twenty for BBC)

Of the winning production, the judges said, “this was broad, expansive and intelligent, and brought a different way of approaching science programme making.”

Nominees:

– Horizon Special: The Vaccine (Wingspan Productions for BBC)

– Baby Surgeons: Delivering Miracles (Wonderhood Studios for Channel 4)

Scripted Comedy

WINNER – Alma’s Not Normal (Expectation for BBC)

Selecting the winner, the judges said of this show, “it’s laugh out loud funny but at times profound and heart breaking, with wonderful writing throughout.”

Nominees:

– Bloods (Roughcut Television in association with Sky Studios for Sky One)

– We Are Lady Parts (Working Title Television, which is a part of Universal International Studios, for Channel 4)

Single Documentary

WINNER – Rape: Who’s on Trial? (Hardcash Productions for Channel 4)

“An extraordinary programme,” said the judges. It was “…affecting, memorable and powerful – a truly admirable achievement in storytelling and access.”

Nominees:

– The Return: Life After ISIS (Alba Sotorra Productions and MetFilm for Sky Documentaries)

– Grenfell: The Untold Story (BBC Studios for Channel 4)

Single Drama

WINNER – Help (The Forge Entertainment and One Shoe Films for Channel 4)

The judges called this drama “a beautiful, poignant piece of work with exquisite performances at its heart.”

Nominees:

– Death of England: Face to Face (National Theatre in association with Sabel Productions and Cuba Pictures for Sky Arts)

– Romeo & Juliet (National Theatre in association with Sabel Productions and Cuba Pictures for Sky Arts)

Soap and Continuing Drama

WINNER – Hollyoaks (Lime Pictures for Channel 4)

“It constantly finds new story areas and fresh, relevant narratives,” said the judges of the winning title, adding that “…it continues to be loved by its large and loyal audience.”

Nominees:

– Coronation Street (ITV Studios for ITV)

– Casualty (BBC Studios for BBC)

Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit

WINNER – Gary Neville – Sky Sports Premier League (Sky Sports)

The judges described the winner as a broadcaster who “consistently performs at the very highest level with detailed, knowledgeable insight and analysis.”

Nominees:

– Emma Hayes – UEFA Euro 2020 (ITV Sport for ITV)

– Gabby Logan – London Marathon (BBC Sport for BBC)

Sports Programme

WINNER – Tokyo 2020 Olympics (BBC Sport for BBC)

The judges described the winning coverage as “a production of huge scale but with consummate production values, and rich diversity throughout both the action and analysis.”

Nominees:

– The Hundred (Sky Sports for Sky Sports Cricket)

– The Paralympics: Tokyo 2020 (Whisper for Channel 4)

Writer (Comedy)

WINNER – Nida Manzoor – We Are Lady Parts (Working Title Television, which is a part of Universal International Studios, for Channel 4)

The judges commended writing that “was unpredictable, subverted stereotypes and kept you laughing throughout.”

Nominees:

– Mae Martin & Joe Hampson – Feel Good (Objective Fiction for Netflix)

– Holly Walsh, Helen Serafinowicz & Barunka O’Shaughnessy – Motherland (Merman Television and Twofour for BBC)

Writer (Drama)

WINNER – Russell T Davies – It’s A Sin (Red Production Company, a StudioCanal Company, for Channel 4 in association with HBO Max)

Commenting on the writer’s work on this series, the judges said that “this was writing at its most powerful – all at the same time full of rage, joy, sadness, fun and humanity.”

Nominees:

– Richard Warlow – The Serpent (Mammoth Screen for BBC in association with Netflix)

– Jack Thorne – Help (The Forge Entertainment and One Shoe Films for Channel 4)

Judges’ Award

WINNER – Strictly Come Dancing 2021

“This year the recipient of this prestigious honour is a television series which broke new ground in 2021. That’s an extraordinary achievement in itself, given that it’s by far the most popular entertainment show on British television, and now in its nineteenth season. But in the series last Autumn, Strictly Come Dancing’s producers created two new milestones – both of them as a consequence of the inclusive casting policy that’s become one of the show’s many defining hallmarks.

Strictly’s first Deaf contestant appeared in 2021 – Rose Ayling-Ellis, of course, and the nation was enchanted by her. Rose’s silent dance with her partner Giovanni Pernice was a genuine moment of landmark television: we looked on in awe at her skill, grace and determination. In dancing her way to becoming the first ever disabled winner of the glitterball trophy, Rose demonstrated just what’s possible when the barriers to opportunity are removed – and talent is allowed to flourish and shine.

Similarly, the casting of the show’s first male dance couple in John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, coming a year after the first same sex couple in Nicola Adams and Katja Jones, showed just how hard the producers strive to keep Strictly Come Dancing fresh, modern, and ultimately reflective of its vast, diverse and appreciative audience.

What a tremendous series it was…”

Outstanding Contribution to British Television 2022

WINNER – Jack Thorne

“[This award] is for someone whose combination of a voracious work ethic and dazzling talent has made him one of the most sought-after writers in television today…and what an incredible body of work he’s built already. It was just fifteen years ago that he made his first foray into television writing with an episode of Shameless for Channel 4, followed by numerous episodes of the teenage drama Skins. Two years later he created Cast Offs, a comedy drama following six disabled people sent to a remote island for a reality television show – exploring themes around disability he’d develop further later on.

Jack began collaborating with Shane Meadows on This Is England in 2010, together writing three series of it over the next five years. This Is England was raw and visceral, showing the bleakness and boredom of provincial life in the second half of Thatcher’s decade – while at the same time celebrating the infectious spirit of belonging to a teenage tribe. From that point on, Jack’s output became prolific – one or two big projects a year, all with something new and interesting to say…and across the dramatic genres: there was a supernatural narrative in The Fades; an action-adventure in Sinbad; a murder mystery in Glue; a crime thriller in The Last Panthers.

The real events of Operation Yewtree inspired him to write National Treasure in 2016, where Robbie Coltrane gave a tour-de-force performance as a once-celebrated TV comedian now accused of sexual assault. In 2018 came Kiri starring Sarah Lancashire, and the following year he collaborated again with Shane Meadows, this time on The Virtues starring Stephen Graham. Incredibly, in the same year he also brought to the screen both The Accident for Channel 4 AND a major Sunday night series for BBC One with Philip Pullman’s opus His Dark Materials.

In 2021, with the pandemic raging, Jack Thorne wrote Help – I’m pleased to say, one of the winners tonight. It was a blistering piece…not only confronting the challenge of living with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, but a scorching indictment too of the reality unfolding in Britain’s care homes as COVID ripped through

them. Severely underpaid care workers, denied the most basic protection to care for their patients safely, were abandoned by a Government that simply looked the other way. When care worker Sarah, played by Jodie Comer, broke the fourth wall and addressed viewers directly about living in a country where foodbanks had become the norm for people like her – it was a cry from the heart and soul.

Last August Jack gave the MacTaggart Lecture at Edinburgh and addressed how disabled people have been woefully let down by television. He spoke of how as an industry, we’ve abjectly failed to tell disabled stories and employ disabled talent. His words were a real wake up call – and one that’s still to be fully acted upon. It’s a subject Jack expounded on just last week, when BBC Two aired his latest project, Then Barbara Met Alan, a piece co-written with Genevieve Barr. It told the moving story of two founders of the campaigning group the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network, who fall in love while fighting for disability rights through civil disobedience. It was a story in which the personal and political were inextricably entwined – a characteristic of much of Jack’s work.

In his MacTaggart, Jack said that watching Alan Bleasdale’s drama The Boys from the Blackstuff was the most important cultural event of his life – but it’s clearly now true that Jack’s own writing can be seen to be part of the same great tradition: work which reflects the real impact that distant political decisions have on ordinary lives. As Bleasdale did before him, he writes human stories about the issues that stalk the times we live through – stories about class, race, sex, guilt, innocence and justice. And he does so with a passion, an intensity and a searing honesty that makes his work so compelling, relevant and vital.”

Outstanding Contribution to British Television 2020

WINNER – Graham Norton

“The Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to British Television 2020 is presented to a performer who over the last few years has become more than any other THE face of entertainment on BBC One.

Graham Norton grew up in West Cork in Ireland and moved to London in the late Eighties to train as an actor. His ability to make people laugh with his infectious sense of irreverence was evident early. Graham made his debut at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1991, where his show was called Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s Farewell Tour. In it, he appeared as the sainted nun reciting the words of Madonna’s song Like A Virgin.

In 1996 he was cast in Channel 4’s breakout comedy Father Ted, playing the young Father Noel Furlong, and television began to sit up and take notice of Graham’s comedic talents. He was one of the first faces to make an impact on the new Channel 5, where he hosted the panel show Bring Me The Head of Light Entertainment. It was here too that when standing in one night for Jack Docherty, Graham demonstrated that more than anything he was a talk show host just waiting for a talk show.

And so it came to be the following year, when So Graham Norton debuted on Channel 4. Graham showed himself to be the most perfect host for a talk show – welcoming, unstuffy and above all, funny. Word went around the talent community quickly – Graham’s show was a blast to be a guest on, and the show became a hot ticket. So hot in fact, that in 2002 Graham switched to thrice-nightly for a show called V Graham Norton; only one host had ever made a three-times-a-week show succeed in the past – and that was Terry Wogan…more of whom later.

For the last couple of decades Graham has made the BBC his television home, where he seamlessly transitioned from late night Channel 4 comedian to the primetime ringmaster of the nation’s biggest entertainment events. He established himself as Mr Saturday Night when he hosted Andrew Lloyd Webber’s

search for the next generation of stage stars with How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria, Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything! and did the same for Cameron Mackintosh with Over The Rainbow and then again with Take That for Let It Shine.

When his fellow Irishman Sir Terry Wogan announced in 2008 that he was stepping down as the UK’s voice – of The Eurovision Song Contest…well, Graham’s time had come. Receiving the the Eurovision microphone from Sir Terry after his thirty five years of being synonymous with the event may have daunted any other broadcaster – but it’s a true mark of Graham’s talent how quickly and completely he made Eurovision his own. After Sir Terry died in 2015, Graham was also the natural choice to take up the baton on the other event with which he was so closely involved, the Children In Need telethon.

Alongside the big events like hosting the BAFTA Awards, the Saturday night successes and his adventures with RuPaul on BBC Three, one constant has been the hit with which Graham’s most strongly associated, his Friday night talk show. Superbly produced, fantastically booked, but more than anything, brilliantly hosted – it’s Graham in his natural habitat, surrounded by star names he disarmingly persuades to park their egos at the door for an unrestrained hour of laughs. Now in its fifteenth year, the show feels as fresh as ever, the perfect Friday night treat.

It works because at its heart the show mirrors Graham’s own personality: warm, cheeky, mischievous – but at the same time, gracious, kind and fun. And always very, very funny. It’s an alchemy that makes him so loved by audiences, one of the most popular and beloved broadcasters in television today.”

Pippa Considine

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