Media release: RTS announces winners of Programme Awards 2018

RTS logo

THE  Royal Television Society (RTS) has announced the winners of the RTS Programme Awards 2018, in partnership with Audio Network, at a ceremony hosted by Vernon Kay at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London, on Tuesday 20 March 2018.

The RTS Programme Awards, chaired by Wayne Garvie, honours excellence across all genres of television programming and recognise exceptional actors, presenters, writers and production teams, as well as the programmes themselves.

The BBC scooped 17 awards for its programmes and talent, and also won the coveted RTS Channel of the Year award.

BBC’s comedy series This Country (BBC Three) won three awards: Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper took home the Writer – Comedy and Comedy Performance prizes, and the show also secured the Scripted Comedy award. BBC One’s powerful drama, Three Girls, won two out of its three nominations, collecting the Mini-Series award and celebrating a win for Nicole Taylor in the Writer – Drama category.

Sinéad Keenan and Stephen Graham won the Actor (Female) and Actor (Male) awards for their work on Little Boy Blue (ITV), while Daniel Lawrence Taylor was presented with the Breakthrough Award for his performance in Timewasters (ITV2).

The acclaimed Planet Earth II (BBC One) was a popular winner of the Science & Natural History award, while Paula Rego: Secrets and Stories (BBC Two) took the Arts award. Hospital (BBC Two) won the Documentary Series prize, and the Single Documentary accolade went to Rio Ferdinand Being Mum and Dad (BBC One).

The Drama Series award saw a hard-fought category that was won by Channel 4’s The End of the F***ing World, while Murdered for Being Different (BBC Three) was rewarded in the Single Drama category. ITV’s Coronation Street brought the Soap and Continuing Drama award back to Weatherfield.

Channel 4 followed its 2017 success with a consecutive win for Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe (The Last Leg, Channel 4) in the Entertainment Performance category. The Entertainment programme award went to Love Island (ITV).

Anita Rani won the Presenter category for My Family, Partition and Me: India 1947 (BBC One), and Michael Johnson (World Athletics Championships, BBC One and BBC Two) took the title of Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit. Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko (Sky Sports) successfully fought off the competition for the Sports Programme award.

Other winners included Inside My Head: A Newsround Special (CBBC) in the Children’s Programme category, Muslims like Us (BBC Two) for Formatted Popular Factual, and Moving On – Eighteen (BBC One) for Daytime Programme. Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents secured the History award and World War One Remembered: Passchendaele – For The Fallen won the Live Event award – both produced for BBC Two.

The RTS also presented three special awards on the night. The RTS Award of Special Recognition was presented to The Crown. The Judges’ Award went to Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones for Black Mirror.

Finally, Jimmy McGovern was recognised for his body of work with the Lifetime Achievement award.

A full list of winners appears below. For more information, visit:

The winners:

Actor (female)

Sinéad Keenan – Little Boy Blue, ITV Studios for ITV

“Compelling and heart breaking. She brought the whole story alive.”


Wunmi Mosaku – Damilola, Our Loved Boy, Minnow Films for BBC One

Thandie Newton – Line of Duty, World Productions for BBC One

Actor (male)

Stephen Graham – Little Boy Blue, ITV Studios for ITV

“Unquestionably brilliant, showing extraordinary range and skill.”


Sean Bean – Broken, LA Productions for BBC One

Jack Rowan – Born To Kill, World Productions for Channel 4


Paula Rego: Secrets and Stories, Kismet Films for BBC Two

“An exceptional piece of film making, brilliantly evoking the dramatic sweep of the artist’s life.”


Basquiat – Rage to Riches, A BBC Studios Production for BBC and PBS with THIRTEEN Productions for BBC Two

Grayson Perry: Divided Britain, Swan Films for Channel 4

Breakthrough award

Daniel Lawrence Taylor – Timewasters, Big Talk Productions for ITV2

“Creating a world that didn’t exist before – original, clever and insightful. Clearly we’ll see much more of this talent in the future.”


Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper – This Country, BBC Studios Comedy for BBC Three

Molly Windsor – Three Girls, BBC Studios in association with Studio Lambert for BBC One

Children’s programme

Inside My Head: A Newsround Special, CBBC Productions for CBBC

“Supremely well researched, an important piece of television.”


Jamie Johnson/ End Game, Short Form Film Company for CBBC

Apple Tree House/ Talking Books, Five Apples for CBeebies

Comedy performance

Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper – This Country, BBC Studios Comedy for BBC Three

“Charming, endearing and warm… giving this funny show genuine heart.”


Tom Davis – Murder In Successville, Tiger Aspect in association with Shiny Button Productions for BBC Three

Michaela Coel – Chewing Gum, Retort for E4

Daytime programme

Moving On – Eighteen, LA Productions for BBC One

“Massively watchable, diverse and inclusive.”


The Question Jury, Monkey Kingdom for Channel 4

Good Morning Britain, ITV Studios for ITV

Documentary series

Hospital, Label 1 for BBC Two

“Wide ranging, challenging programmes with difficult subjects handled confidently, and a series able to prompt national discussion.”


The Detectives: Murder on the Streets, Minnow Films in association with the OU for BBC Two

Catching A Killer, True Vision for Channel 4

Drama series

The End of The F***ing World, Clerkenwell Films and Dominic Buchanan Productions for Channel 4

“Beautifully-written and directed, with performances that were through the roof… taking huge creative risks.”


Ackley Bridge, The Forge for Channel 4

The Crown, Left Bank Pictures for Netflix


Love Island, ITV Studios/Motion Content Group for ITV2

“This series…has evolved into a uniquely contemporary watch – it makes its own rules and is a compelling and spellbinding viewing.”


Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, ITV Studios and Mitre Television for ITV

Murder in Successville, Tiger Aspect in association with Shiny Button Productions for BBC Three

Entertainment performance

Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe – The Last Leg, Open Mike Productions for Channel 4

“The genuine warmth, imagination and sense of fun just shines through.”


Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly – I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, ITV Studios for ITV

Claudia Winkleman – Strictly Come Dancing, BBC Studios for BBC One

Formatted popular factual

Muslims like Us, Love Productions for BBC Two

“The winning programme was innovative, nuanced, and exceptional in its breadth of casting.”


Rich House, Poor House, Hat Trick Productions for Channel 5

The Big Life Fix with Simon Reeve, Studio Lambert for BBC Two


Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents, 72 Films for BBC Two

“A visually rich piece which told new stories in an arresting style.”


My Family, Partition and Me: India 1947, Wall to Wall Media for BBC One

Black & British A Forgotten History, BBC Studios for BBC Two

Live event

World War One Remembered: Passchendaele – For The Fallen, BBC Studios for BBC Two

“A remarkable event beautifully executed, telling THE story as well as lots of others in an innovative and accessible way.”


One Love Manchester, BBC Studios/SB Projects for BBC One

ITV News Election Night: The Results, ITN/ITV News for ITV


Three Girls, BBC Studios in association with Studio Lambert for BBC One

“Incredible, raw performances in a sensitively handled and ultimately devastating story.”


The State, Archery Pictures and Stonehenge Films for Channel 4

Born To Kill, World Productions for Channel 4


Anita Rani – My Family, Partition and Me: India 1947, Wall to Wall Media for BBC One

“This broadcaster told a personal story with an approach that was both authoritative and deeply emotional.”


Grayson Perry – Grayson Perry: Divided Britain, Swan Films for Channel 4

Gordon Ramsay – Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine, Studio Ramsay/Objective Media Group for ITV

RTS Channel of the Year


“Commissions wide ranging, challenging programmes that still push at the boundaries, and with an astonishing mix of quality.”



Channel 5

Science and natural history

Planet Earth II, BBC Studios The Natural History Unit production with BBC America, ZDF, Tencent and France Television for BBC One

“Two words sum it up…simply phenomenal.”


Guy Martin vs The Robot Car, North One Television for Channel 4

Dogs: An Amazing Animal Family, Offspring Films for Sky One

Scripted comedy

This Country, BBC Studios Comedy for BBC Three

“Authentic, clever and with characters and a setting that felt completely fresh.”


People Just Do Nothing, Roughcut TV for BBC Three

Chewing Gum, Retort for E4

Single documentary

Rio Ferdinand Being Mum and Dad, Only The Best Productions for BBC One

“A profoundly brave personal journey told with incredible emotional honesty.”


Chris Packham: Aspergers and Me, Raw for BBC Two

The Accused, Brinkworth Films for Channel 5

Single drama

Murdered for Being Different, BBC Studios for BBC Three

“Bold and powerful. A gut-wrenching watch.”


Damilola, Our Loved Boy, Minnow Films for BBC One

King Charles III, Drama Republic for BBC Two

Soap and continuing drama

Coronation Street, ITV Studios for ITV

“Some astonishing performances, but always grounded, confident and utterly believable.”


EastEnders, BBC Studios for BBC One

Holby City, BBC Studios for BBC One

Sports presenter, commentator or pundit

Michael Johnson – World Athletics Championships, BBC Sport for BBC One and BBC Two

“Someone who brings the viewer a uniquely authoritative perspective combined with excellent insight.”


Osi Umenyiora – NFL This Week, The NFL Show, Whisper Films for BBC Two

Kelly Cates – Friday Night Football, Sky Sports

Sports programme

Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko, Sky Sports for Sky Sports Box Office

“A perfectly executed piece of stand out coverage,” said the judges, “It was stunning!”


2017 FA Cup Final Coverage, BBC Sport for BBC One

UEFA Women’s EURO – England v Netherlands Semi-Final, Whisper Films for Channel 4

Writer – comedy

Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper – This Country, BBC Studios Comedy for BBC Three

“Was both warm and poignant in a world rarely represented… a brilliantly funny piece.”


Steve Stamp and Allan Mustafa – People Just Do Nothing, Roughcut TV for BBC Three

Michaela Coel – Chewing Gum, Retort for E4

Writer – drama

Nicole Taylor – Three Girls, BBC Studios in association with Studio Lambert for BBC One

“It would be hard to overstate the intellectual dexterity, cultural sensitivity and raw emotional force…the writer is an exceptionally rare talent.”


Charlie Covell – The End of The F***ing World, Clerkenwell Films and Dominic Buchanan Productions for Channel 4

Jeff Pope – Little Boy Blue, ITV Studios for ITV

RTS Award of Special Recognition

The Crown

“The RTS presented an award of Special Recognition to a production for an outstanding contribution to the reputation of British television around the world. British programmes have been seen overseas for decades – since Lew Grade first got on a plane in the ’60s in fact – and British shows have always been admired abroad for their sheer quality. The list of British big international hits is long and distinguished –

“Downton Abbey, Planet Earth, Inspector Morse, Top Gear, Monty Python… even The Benny Hill Show, back in the day.

“This has a truly vast global audience in 190 countries – and more than any other, has shown the world British production expertise at its absolute finest. It has also brought huge international investment into British drama, changing the landscape for high-end production. With its very British story, British creative and technical talent behind the camera, and an almost exclusively British cast – the series has put feature film production values onto the small screen for the world to see and done so with a style and on a scale unlike any other.

“Its epic sweep across the second half of the 20th century is much more than an historical account of our Queen’s reign – it’s the story of Britain in a time of rapid social change, when the age of deference gave way to the liberal consensus of the ’60s, and the country fumbled to define its post-imperial role. It’s the story we’ve lived through, and are living through still. And it’s told by some of our finest writers, our most talented producers and directors, and our very best actors.

“It’s a series of ambition, grandeur and – dare I say it – majesty.”

Judges’ award

Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones for Black Mirror

“The recipients are the creative executive producers of a show that has touched the zeitgeist and connected with millennial audiences particularly in the most profound way. Black Mirror is a series that defies neat categorisation. Is it science fiction? Is it an apocalyptic satire? Is it a psychological thriller? The truth is that it’s all of the these.

“Even describing it as this generation’s Twilight Zone doesn’t do justice to the creative sweep of Black Mirror. Using modern society’s delight in evolving technology and our addiction to the new media as its jumping off points, the show takes the viewer to a different unique world with its own parallel reality in each episode. Its anthology format gives Black Mirror the creative space to be whatever it wants to be with each new scenario – sometimes it is shocking, dark and nightmarish, sometimes it is witty, or touching or thrilling. It is, though, always audacious – and as one reviewer called it right at the start of its creative life, ‘dementedly brilliant’.

“As anyone who has had a programme idea in our industry will acknowledge – to have the idea is one thing, to turn the idea into a piece of quality television is quite another. And that’s why the judges have chosen to recognise the work of these two creative showrunners. The epic execution of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian vision of our immediate future has been nothing short of outstanding. Together they have brought to the screen a series that has both thrilled critics and struck a real chord with younger audiences, who have engaged with the show with an almost evangelical fervour.”

Lifetime achievement award

Jimmy McGovern

“A dramatist who has written what is, by any measure, an exceptional body of work – pieces that have challenged audiences, needled authority and had an impact that goes beyond mere critical acclaim or high ratings…though his work has achieved both of those as well.

“He’s written for the theatre and film and could doubtless have enjoyed a stellar career in either, but instead chose to focus his attention on television as the best place to tell his stories. And that’s what he says he is – not a writer, but a storyteller.

“A storyteller from a proud Northern working-class tradition who approaches his craft like a working tradesman, painstakingly building his narratives and characters as a bricklayer might construct a wall… but, as he said, laying words and sentences instead of bricks.

“And what stories. Firmly rooted in everyday life as it’s really led, his stories are a delicate balance between the simplicity of his narratives and the complexity of his characters. They’re stories about the messiness of real life; stories about people who struggle – maybe with addiction, adultery, violence, guilt, corruption, debt, revenge, anger or shame. But it’s the completeness and depth of his characters that makes his work so exceptional – the many layers of a man like Fitz in Cracker, so brilliantly brought to life by Robbie Coltrane, or the conflicts within Father Michael Kerrigan, played with real nuance by Sean Bean in Broken.

“Jimmy began his writing career in the early ’80s on Channel 4’s ground breaking Merseyside soap, Brookside, where he showed how truthfully he could write about working class life in a city socially broken by Thatcherism. His breakout work, Cracker, followed a decade later, and was a massive hit. But it was being asked by the Hillsborough families in 1996 to write about what happened in the hell of that Sheffield football stadium that would have the greatest impact, both on Jimmy and what was to follow.

“His Hillsborough dramatisation starkly challenged the officially-reported version of events, telling the story of the families’ ongoing agony. Perhaps the most important work Jimmy would ever write, it was an early but hugely significant milestone on the families’ journey to seek justice for the 96 fans unlawfully killed that Saturday afternoon. Two decades on from his television film, the truth of what Jimmy wrote is finally – officially – acknowledged.

“The difference between justice and the law is a theme Jimmy has returned to more than once. His 2014 drama, Common, questioned the controversial joint enterprise law, where a person can be jailed for a murder they didn’t physically commit; his two series of Accused told the stories of how people in the dock of a criminal court had found themselves there, awaiting verdicts that would change their lives forever.

“His work has also given an authentic voice to people whose stories are rarely told with conviction or realism on television – whether they’re the striking workers on the Liverpool wharf-side in Dockers on Channel 4 in 1999, or the indigenous Australian households of an inner-city suburb of Sydney in Redfern Now for the ABC in 2012.

“He writes about big themes – responsibility, accountability, communities that feel trapped. He writes about the people who are overlooked, or lied to, or wilfully ignored. And there is never any doubt whose side he is on.”

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