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This Country wins three prizes at RTS awards

By Neil Smith
Entertainment reporter

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image captionCharlie and Daisy May Cooper play cousins Kurtan and Kerry in This Country

Cult BBC Three sitcom This Country was the big winner at this year's RTS Programme Awards, taking home three prizes including best scripted comedy.

Its sibling stars, Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper, also won the comedy writer and comedy performance prizes.

Daisy May didn't attend the ceremony in central London, having recently given birth to a baby daughter.

Charlie explained his sister was "snowed under" as he accepted the comedy performance prize.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionCharlie Cooper attended the ceremony but his sister did not

First shown on the BBC iPlayer in 2017, This Country is a mockumentary about two young people living in a small Cotswolds village.

The first series had more than four million iPlayer requests last year, prompting the BBC to commission a second series that is currently being rolled out online.

In her review of the second series, Sarah Carson from The Radio Times explained the show "became a word-of-mouth hit and a critical triumph" after its iPlayer debut in 2017.

The BBC had the most to celebrate at Tuesday's ceremony, scooping 17 of the 29 awards handed out by host Vernon Kay.

BBC One won the channel of the year award, with other prizes going to Planet Earth II, Three Girls and Murdered for Being Different.

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image captionSinead Keenan beat Thandie Newton and Wunmi Mosaku to the female actor award

Sinead Keenan and Stephen Graham both won acting awards for Little Boy Blue, ITV's drama about the murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in 2007.

Graham sent a video message in which he paid tribute to Rhys's parents Melanie and Stephen "for allowing their story to be told".

The Boardwalk Empire star also sent a shout-out to his "Auntie Vera" for "making teas for me, washing my clothes and giving me a cuddle when I came home from work".

Keenan echoed those sentiments, saying she hoped Little Boy Blue had "told Rhys's story and did Mel and Steve proud".

Keenan played Melanie Jones in the four-part drama while Graham portrayed Dave Kelly, the detective superintendent who led the investigation.

Anita Rani won in the presenter category for My Family, Partition and Me, her BBC One documentary about the 1947 division of India.

The Countryfile star thanked the programme's director in part for "editing out all the bickering between me and my mum".

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionRani's fellow nominees were artist Grayson Perry and chef Gordon Ramsay

Other awards went to Netflix's royal drama The Crown and veteran writer Jimmy McGovern, of Brookside and Cracker fame.

Coronation Street won the award for soap and continuing drama in the week the ITV show aired its first male rape storyline.

Peter Morgan, creator of The Crown, said he felt "very grateful and fortunate" to be making the show "at a time where television is no longer the ugly duckling".

Its win came shortly after Netflix apologised to the programme's stars, Claire Foy and Matt Smith, after its producers revealed Smith had been paid more than his co-star.

There were no prizes for Ant and Dec at this year's awards - and no sign of them either.

The presenting duo were nominated in two categories but stayed away from the event in the wake of Ant McPartlin's recent arrest on suspicion of drink driving.

The pair's Saturday Night Takeaway show won the entertainment prize last year but lost out this year to Love Island.

They also missed out on the entertainment performance award, which went to the stars of Channel 4's The Last Leg.

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image captionAnt and Dec, pictured at the 2010 RTS Awards, did not attend this year's event

Comedian Adam Hills made a reference to the competition as he accepted his prize with co-presenter Alex Brooker, joking that there was "room for a cheeky comedy duo on TV at the moment".

Charlie Brooker was responsible for another topical quip, suggesting that Cambridge Analytica might have had a hand in the special award he and Annabel Jones received for Black Mirror.

The data analytics firm is at the centre of a dispute over the harvesting and use of personal data.

Brooker also sent well wishes to McPartlin, telling reporters he should "go and get treatment and look after himself".

Originally founded as the Television Society in 1927, the RTS (Royal Television Society) has been giving awards to all genres of television programming since 1975.

RTS Awards 2018: Full winners list

  • Best Female Actor - Sinead Keenan, Little Boy Blue
  • Best Male Actor - Stephen Graham, Little Boy Blue
  • Arts - Paula Rego: Secrets and Stories
  • Breakthrough - Daniel Lawrence Taylor, Timewasters
  • Children's Programme - Inside My Head: A Newsround Special
  • Comedy Performance - Daisy May Cooper & Charlie Cooper, This Country,
  • Daytime Programme - Moving On: Eighteen
  • Documentary Series - Hospital
  • Drama Series - The End of The F***ing World
  • Entertainment - Love Island
  • Entertainment Performance - Adam Hills, Alex Brooker & Josh Widdicombe, The Last Leg
  • History - Elizabeth I's Secret Agents
  • Live Event - World War One Remembered: Passchendaele - For The Fallen
  • Mini-Series - Three Girls (pictured)
  • Presenter - Anita Rani - My Family, Partition and Me: India 1947
  • Formatted Popular Factual - Muslims Like Us
  • Channel of the Year - BBC One
  • Science and Natural History - Planet Earth II
  • Scripted Comedy - This Country
  • Single Documentary - Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad
  • Single Drama - Murdered for Being Different
  • Soap and Continuing Drama - Coronation Street
  • Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit - Michael Johnson
  • Sports Programme - Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko
  • Best Comedy Writer - Daisy May Cooper & Charlie Cooper, This Country
  • Best Drama Writer - Nicole Taylor, Three Girls
  • Special Recognition Award - The Crown
  • Judges' Award - Black Mirror
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Jimmy McGovern

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