Bafta TV Awards: Aids drama It's A Sin leads nominations

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The cast of It's A SinImage source, Ben Blackall
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Singer-turned-actor Olly Alexander (centre) led the cast of It's A Sin

It's A Sin is leading the charge for this year's Bafta TV Awards, with 11 nominations.

The Channel 4 drama, about a group of friends during the 1980s Aids crisis, is up for prizes including best mini-series plus five acting awards.

Olly Alexander is up for best actor, Lydia West for best actress and Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells and David Carlyle for best supporting actor.

Other shows with multiple nominations include Time, Help and Sex Education.

Howells posted a message on Twitter, saying thank you to Bafta "from the bottom of me heart".

Douglas took to Instagram, declaring the news was "surreal".

TV critic Scott Bryan told BBC Breakfast that Russell T Davies' It's A Sin was "the most moving drama of the year, and certainly for me, of my entire life".

He added: "It was hugely important to so many people... showing a side of LGBTQA+ history that just hasn't been depicted in drama before."

Tracy-Ann Oberman, who plays talent agent Carol Carter in the series, tweeted her "huge congrats" to everyone who worked on the show.

The nominations for the Must-See Moment, the only accolade to be voted for by the public, were announced last week.

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Kate Winslet earned rave reviews for Mare of Easttown

They include Rose and Giovanni's silent dance on Strictly Come Dancing; Adele's reunion with her former teacher on An Audience With Adele; and Ant and Dec's dig at Downing Street's lockdown parties on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

Strictly Come Dancing and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway will do battle in the best entertainment programme category alongside last year's winner Life and Rhymes and An Audience with Adele.

Late comedian Sean Lock is nominated for best entertainment performance for 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, alongside Alison Hammond, Big Zuu, Graham Norton, Joe Lycett and Michael McIntyre.

Lycett also fronts The Great British Sewing Bee, which was nominated in the features category.

Big Zuu, whose Big Eats show is also shortlisted in the features category, expressed his surprise in a bleary-eyed early morning video on social media.

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Norton is also up for best comedy entertainment programme, and the chat show host tweeted that it was "still a thrill" to be nominated, having previously won eight Baftas.

Also in the running for the comedy entertainment award is The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan, who tweeted that he "couldn't be happier".

Holby City has been nominated for best soap/continuing drama, just a day after the long-running BBC medical drama aired its final episode. It is up against sister soap Casualty, along with Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

Analysis by Lizo Mzimbo, BBC News entertainment correspondent

Awards like the Baftas are always likely to be regarded as a benchmark of exceptional achievement but viewing figures for many ceremonies have been declining over the last decade. It means that organisations are keen to try to ensure that the public still see such awards as relevant to them.

A show like Line of Duty neatly illustrates the potential divide. It was 2021's biggest show by a significant margin, but only scored three nominations in technical categories despite more than 14 million viewers watching each episode. And creator Jed Mercurio revealed that the BBC's own audience research showed that more than half of 1000 randomly polled viewers rated the finale nine or 10 out of 10.

While it didn't rate as highly as Line of Duty, many will see it as good news that a programme like It's A Sin is the clear nominations leader - it wasn't just a show that was a big hit for Channel Four, it also had a significant social impact. T-shirts featuring the drama's 'La' catchphrase have helped to raise £500,000 for the Terrence Higgins Trust. In short, it was seen as an important programme, talked about by millions.

How the shortlists are chosen is of course crucial. For the TV Baftas it's specialist juries. For other ceremonies it's the entire voting membership. And for events like the National Television Awards it's a public vote. So in any given year, their differing tastes mean that in any category, being declared the 'best' varies from ceremony to ceremony.

So the challenge for all awards bodies is to ensure that their decisions still maintain their credibility and, just as importantly, the interest of their audiences.

Two thirds of the nominees in the performance categories have not been nominated before, as Bafta organisers bid to support new talent.

Best actress nominee West has stiff competition from Kate Winslet, who has received her first TV Bafta nomination for Mare of Easttown, plus Denise Gough and Emily Watson for ITV's Too Close, Jodie Comer for Channel 4's Help and Niamh Algar for Channel 4's Deceit.

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Hugh Quarshie (right) is nominated for best actor for playing the father of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence

Alongside Years & Years singer Alexander in the leading actor category is David Thewlis for Sky's dark comic crime drama Landscapers, which was the second most-nominated programme with seven nods. However, they don't include an acting nomination for Olivia Colman, who plays Thewlis's wife.

Also in the running are Hugh Quarshie for ITV's Stephen, Samuel Adewunmi for BBC's You Don't Know Me, Sean Bean for BBC One's Time and Stephen Graham for Channel 4's Help.

The latter, written by Jack Thorne, is about a carer (Comer) who bonds with a patient (Graham) as the care home residents and staff face the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The critically-acclaimed drama received six nominations in total, as did Jimmy McGovern's prison drama Time, which earned Graham his second nomination of the year for best supporting actor.

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We Are Lady Parts was among the leading shows in the nominations

Channel 4's groundbreaking music comedy We Are Lady Parts also received six nominations, while Netflix's Sex Education had five.

The Bafta nominations also include technical categories such as costume design, editing and hair and sound. Those prizes will be handed out at the Bafta Craft awards on 24 April.

The winners of the main Bafta TV Awards will be revealed at a ceremony on 8 May.

Who missed out?

BBC One drama A Very British Scandal scored four nominations including costume design and make-up and hair design, but there were no acting nods for its stars Claire Foy and Paul Bettany.

The final series of Line of Duty was nominated for three craft prizes, but there were no acting prizes for the cast or for the show creator Jed Mercurio.

Love Island also missed out in the reality and constructed factual category. Channel 4 shows Gogglebox and Dog House will go head-to-head alongside E4's Married at First Sight UK and BBC Three's RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

The best drama series nominees are BBC Three's In My Skin, ITV's Manhunt: The Night Stalker, ITV's Unforgotten and BBC One's Vigil.

Unforgotten star Sanjeev Bhaskar congratulated the team behind the series on Twitter.

In the hotly-contested best international category, Succession will take on Call My Agent, Squid Game, Lupin, Mare of Easttown and The Underground Railroad.

The Bafta nominations were unveiled a day after the Royal Television Society (RTS) announced its annual award winners.

It's A Sin won three prizes - best limited series, best male actor for Howells and best writer for Russell T Davies.

The RTS judges called the series "a devastating story grippingly told… a triumph of distinctive writing, great production and fine performances".It's A Sin leads Bafta TV nominations