Derry Girls wins best comedy show at broadcasting awards

Derry Girls cast members Gerry Quinn (Tommy Tiernan), Mary Quinn (Tara O'Neill) Erin Quinn (Sairse Jackson), Orla McCool (Louisa Harland), Sarah McCool (Kathy Clarke), and Granda Joe (Ian McElhinney)

DERRY Girls has been named best comedy at the Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG) Awards.

The Channel 4 show is written by Lisa McGee and set in Derry during the 1990s.

Killing Eve and A Very English Scandal were the big winners on the night. Both shows picked up three gongs each, with Killing Eve’s breakout star Jodie Comer being named best actress.

The BBC series, penned by Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge and based on Luke Jennings’s Codename Villanelle novella series, was voted best drama series and also won the best online first/streaming prize.

Killing Eve
Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer, in the upcoming season two of Killing Eve (Aimee Spinks/BBC America)

It was made available as a BBC Three box set on iPlayer before it was aired on BBC One.

A Very English Scandal was named best single drama/mini series and Hugh Grant, who played former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe, was named best actor.

Russell T Davies, who penned the script from the book by John Preston, won the best writer award.

Broadcasting Press Guild Awards
A Very English Scandal co-stars Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw (Kieron McCarron/BBC)

The awards, held at Banking Hall in London, are given only for work commissioned or produced in the UK.

Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, which aired on BBC Two, was hailed as best entertainment programme.

The Netflix choose-your-own-adventure drama Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, created by Charlie Brooker, won the BPG award for innovation.

The best documentary series prize was given to Stephen: The Murder That Changed A Nation, and Stephen Lawrence’s mother Baroness Doreen Lawrence collected the prize alongside the filmmakers.

Baroness Lawrence
Baroness Doreen Lawrence (Lauren Hurley/PA)

BBC Two’s Grenfell was named best single documentary while Patrick Melrose won the best of multichannel award, which is given to a show that is not shown on a public service broadcaster.

Jake Kanter, chair of the BPG, said: “These awards are now a 45-year-old institution, and we think they are the most democratic in the land.

“No tedious judging panels, no political lobbying, just a list of the best TV and radio shows of 2018, voted for by people whose job it is to write about TV and radio for a living.

“In fact, this year, we had a record number of votes, which is testament to the enduring qualities of the BPG and the brilliance of the output.”

In the radio categories, Lauren Laverne was named radio broadcaster of the year for her work on BBC Radio 6 Music as well as Desert Island Discs and Late Night Woman’s Hour, both on BBC Radio 4.

Lauren Laverne
Lauren Laverne (Ian West/PA)

Julian Clover, chair of the BPG radio jury, said of Laverne: “Our winner moves seamlessly between speech and music radio. She’s been tasked with presenting two of the big beasts of Radio 4… and, after presenting the mid morning show on BBC Radio 6 Music, her move to breakfast was described by one of our judges as a big step forward for the music content and a welcome step away from obligatory breakfast banter.”

The award for radio programme of the year went to BBC Radio 4’s Tara And George, presented by Audrey Gillan, which explores the lives of two people in their late forties who sleep rough in London.

The podcast of the year award went to Hip Hop Saved My Life with Romesh Ranganathan.

It had been previously announced that Nicholas Parsons would receive the Harvey Lee award for an outstanding contribution to broadcasting in recognition of his seven decades of TV and radio entertainment, particularly BBC Radio 4’s Just A Minute, which he has chaired for more than 50 years.

The BPG chairman’s award, chosen by Kanter, recognised the impact of Big Brother on UK television.

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