LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - BBC police drama ‘Happy Valley’ was the big winner at Britain’s BAFTA awards recognizing excellence in television, beating on Sunday heavily-tipped Netflix drama ‘The Crown’.
The series took the Best Drama prize, and its leading actress Sarah Lancashire also pipped ‘The Crown’ star Claire Foy to the best actress award at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards.
The Netflix royal drama had been nominated for five awards, but failed to pick any up on the night, with actors John Lithgow, Jared Harris and Vanessa Kirby losing out in their respective acting categories.
U.S. actor Cuba Gooding Jr. was on hand to accept the International award on behalf of “The People Vs. OJ Simpson: American crime story,” in which he played the title role, beating out Netflix’s critically-acclaimed “Stranger Things”, and Amazon’s “Transparent”.
Adeel Akhtar took the honours for best actor in “Murdered By My Father”, a BBC drama focused on an honour killing in a British-Asian family. He beat out competition from actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Robbie Coltrane.
Actress Joanna Lumley accepted the BAFTA Fellowship award, a prize for lifetime achievement, from her “Absolutely Fabulous” co-star Jennifer Saunders, and delighted the crowd by briefly slipping into her character from the show during her acceptance speech.
Speaking to reporters on the red carpet before the event, Lumley hailed the standards in the modern television industry.
“Terrific standards both in acting and production values and everything so really thrilling - really, really good. It’s just that I think it’s so diffused now, so spread out that sometimes you go through rather sulkily going ‘Oh there’s nothing on television tonight’. What? Look again,” she said. (Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; Editing by Toby Chopra)