Channel 4 wins channel of the year at Edinburgh as privatisation threat looms

The awards were presented during a ceremony held during the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Channel 4 has won the channel of the year gong at the Edinburgh TV Awards as it faces an uncertain future amid the threat of privatisation.

The Government announced plans earlier this year to take the broadcaster out of public ownership so that it can better survive in a media landscape dominated by the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

Channel 4, which is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, was the most successful broadcaster at the awards this year as it claimed six of the 20 prizes.

The Big Breakfast
AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan hosting The Big Breakfast on Channel 4 (Ricky Darko/Channel 4/PA)

Edinburgh TV Awards jury president Sue Vertue handed out the channel of the year award to the broadcaster’s chief content officer, Ian Katz, at a prize ceremony held on Thursday during the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Accepting the award, Katz said: “This is a lovely 40th birthday present. It’s particularly lovely coming after a complicated year for us.”

He added that he was “incredibly proud” of the television the broadcaster has put out over the past year and said: “I hope it was a year that reminded people what Channel 4 is for and maybe even why it matters.”

The channel also picked up the awards for best presenter, which went to The Big Breakfast’s AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan, as well as Munya Chawawa winning the breakthrough presenter award for his comedy show Complaints Welcome.

Comedian Gilligan also won the best entertainment series prize for his Channel 4 programme The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan.

In the acting categories, Jodie Comer won the best TV actor in a drama award for her performance in Jack Thorne’s drama Help, about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Graham Norton Show – London
Jodie Comer won the best TV actor in a drama award for her performance in Jack Thorne’s drama Help (Matt Crossick/PA)

Thorne gave a passionate plea for care homes to be better supported in the UK as he collected the award on Comer’s behalf.

Daisy Haggard won the best TV actor in a comedy prize for her portrayal of ex-prison inmate Miri Matteson in Back To Life, while the breakthrough actor award went to Danielle Macdonald for her role in BBC One hit The Tourist.

The TV moment of the year title, which is voted for by the public, went to LGBTQ+ teen series Heartstopper for the first kiss scene between Charlie Spring, portrayed by Joe Locke, and Nick Nelson, played by Kit Connor.

Meanwhile, Netflix’s Sex Education took home the best comedy series gong while BBC One’s The Responder won the best drama award.

Women in Film and TV Awards
Actress Diane Morgan won this year’s variety outstanding achievement award (Yui Mok/PA)

Sky’s The Return: Life After ISIS secured the best documentary prize, best popular factual went to the BBC’s Uprising and best international drama was picked up by Apple TV+’s Pachinko.

Actress Diane Morgan, who is best known for playing Philomena Cunk on Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe and Kath in the Netflix dark comedy series After Life, won this year’s variety outstanding achievement award.

The Edinburgh TV Festival’s creative director, Stewart Clarke, said: “It’s been an utterly phenomenal year for TV production once again, with the best of our business nominated and rightly celebrated.

“Congratulations to all of the hugely well-deserved TV Awards winners, who faced stiff competition across the board and a huge thank you goes to our TV Awards Jury headed up by Sue Vertue.”

The event held in Edinburgh was hosted by stand-up comedian and writer Sophie Duker.