Life On Mars’ Loss Scandalizes the BAFTAs. Plus: Ricky Gervais, John Simm’s New TV Role

One can’t be too unhappy when a show as great as The Street wins Best Drama, but Life on Mars fans are incensed that their show had to settle for the Pioneer Audience Award at Sunday’s BAFTA TV awards. Last night’s awards proved a parade of shockers and jaw-dropping upsets, with the BBC dubbing it “the night of the underdog.” “Shows as diverse as Prime Suspect, Coronation Street, Planet Earth, and The Catherine Tate Show all missed out – with Life on Mars snubbed by the Bafta panel to win only the audience award.” Some more reactions:

Tom O’Neil at the Gold Derby says, “Well, if BAFTA voters can’t get it right, at least the general public realizes that the hit British TV show Life on Mars deserves an award. It continued its recent string of snubs at today’s BAFTA TV awards by losing best drama series to The Street and star John Simm to Jim Broadbent (Longford) in the actors’ race, but it won – hallelujah! – the Audience Award.”

The Guardian‘s Owen Gibson agrees: “It’s a fact that Life on Mars was the TV drama of the last two years that best married popular appeal with quality writing and, increasingly rare these days, the sense that everyone was talking about it.”

The Guardian‘s Clare Margetson says John Simm and Catherine Tate forgot to put their happy-loser faces on: “John Simm looked more and more glum as Life on Mars lost out on Best Drama Series and Best Actor (though thankfully it did eventually win the Audience award). But did you see the look on Catherine Tate‘s face – her mouth plunging to her chest – when Mitchell and Webb won Best Comedy award? Was she bovvered? You betcha.”

Speaking of which, open this link slowly, lest you get a black eye from Catherine Tate’s massive, heaving bosom. Work it, girl!(Daily Mail)

Here’s a partial list of winners:

Actor: Jim Broadbent, Longford, Channel 4

Actress: Victoria Wood, Housewife, 49, ITV 1

Entertainment Performance: Jonathan Ross, Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, BBC One

Comedy Performance: Ricky Gervais, Extras, BBC Two

Single Drama: HOUSEWIFE, 49, Victoria Wood, Piers Wenger,Gavin Millar, David Threlfall, ITV Productions/ITV1

Drama Series: THE STREET, Jimmy McGovern, Sita Williams, DavidBlair, Ken Horn, Granada Productions/BBC One

Drama Serial: SEE NO EVIL: THE MOORS MURDERS, Lisa Gilchrist,Neil McKay, Jeff Pope, Chris Menaul, ITVProductions/ITV1

Continuing Drama: CASUALTY, Production Team, BBC/BBC One

Factual Series: ROSS KEMP ON GANGS, Clive Tulloh, Amelia Hann,Ross Kemp, Tiger Aspect Productions/Sky One

International: ENTOURAGE, Doug Ellin, Mark Wahlberg, SteveLevinson, HBO/ITV2

Entertainment Program: THE X FACTOR, Richard Holloway, Claire Horton,Andrew Llinares, Siobhan Greene, TalkbackThames inassociation with SYCO TV/ITV1

Situation Comedy: THE ROYLE FAMILY: QUEEN OF SHEBA, CarolineAherne, Craig Cash, John Rushton, Phil Mealey, GranadaProductions/BBC One

Comedy Program: THAT MITCHELL & WEBB LOOK, David Kerr, GarethEdwards, Robert Webb, David Mitchell, BBC Comedy/BBCTwo

Ricky Gervais failed to show up to receive his Best Comedic Performance award – Stephen Merchant stepped up in his absence – because he was in America, performing at Madison Square Garden as part of David Bowie‘s High Line Festival. The Independent says fans went home satisfied with Gervais’ routine, even though “he went near the knuckles of the audience with some graphic material, including his failsafe routine from Politics about a Terrence Higgins Trust leaflet issued at the height of the Aids scare which advises on all manner of bizarre ways to have safe gay sex. ‘That was warped man’ one Italian-American said after the show, ‘I never knew he was like that.’”

Life on Mars star John Simm shouldn’t feel too grim about his loss: he’s set to star in
7 Days
, an innovative TV drama directed by Michael Winterbottom. Simm will play an imprisoned father, and “The drama will combine documentary and fiction and will be shot over five years to allow Winterbottom to explore the relationships in real time.” Between this and Sam Tyler, Simm is becoming the go-to guy for high-concept roles on British TV.

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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