Choosing a TV series to dedicate your time to can be a difficult decision, even if we have had more hours for binge watching than ever in the last year or so.
Some of the best shows of the 2020-21 season are up for gongs at the BAFTA TVAwardsthis evening – and if you’ve not watched them yet, there’s always time to catch up.
While some of the bigger shows released in the past few months, such as Line Of Duty and It’s A Sin, aren’t eligible for this year’s awards (expect to see them in 2022), others including The Crown, I May Destroy You and Normal People are all in the running.
And here are some of the other shows up for awards which you might have missed.
I Hate Suzie – Sky Atlantic
Billie Piper is on incredible form in this funny, awkward, messy story of a child star whose fame is on the wane. Enter a leak of nudes on the internet though and she suddenly finds herself very much in the spotlight once again, for all the wrong reasons. And who better than Piper, who found fame with the release of her first single at just 15, to play the role? The actress is brilliant as self-centred, irresponsible Suzie, showing us everything, from masturbation to drugs to diarrhoea. The series is the work of Piper’s Secret Diary Of A Call Girl writer and friend Lucy Prebble, and is nominated for best drama, best actress (Piper) and best supporting actress for Leila Farzad, who plays Suzie’s manager; Georgi Banks-Davies, who directed most of the eight episodes, has already been named the winner of the emerging talent (fiction) award.
Anthony – BBC One
In July 2005, black teenager Anthony Walker was murdered by two white men in an unprovoked racist attack in a park in Liverpool, aged just 18. Many viewers were moved to tears when this drama about his killing aired in the summer of 2020, telling the story of how a talented young man’s life might have turned out; the relationships, career and successes, lost. Written by Jimmy McGovern (Accused, The Street), Toheeb Jimoh (Ted Lasso) stars as Anthony, while Rakie Ayola (Been So Long, Twelfth Night) is in the running for the best supporting actress BAFTA for her portrayal of his mother, Gee Walker, who supported the show.
Adult Material – Channel 4
A drama delving into the porn industry from the perspective of poster girl Jolene Dollar (Hayley Squires – I, Daniel Blake), a hard worker who juggles her on-set persona with motherhood and home life. Tackling the seediness of the industry while avoiding cliches, it’s up for best mini-series as well as leading actress for Squires, supporting actor for Rupert Everett, who plays a sinister porn producer, and supporting actress for Siena Kelly, who plays newbie Amy.
Small Axe – BBC One
Steve McQueen’s landmark anthology is personal and powerful, a five-part TV film series exploring different stories set between the late 60s and early 80s and exploring black British identity. Coming after the 2020 summer of real-life protests against racial injustice, its themes resonate. It is the BAFTA frontrunner – up for 15 awards in total with five BAFTA Craft Awards already in the bag, and is also up for best mini-series. Letitia Wright, John Boyega, Shaun Parkes, Malachi Kirby and Micheal Ward are all up for acting awards.
Famalam – BBC3
A sharp sketch show starring primarily black British actors and comedians, Famalam released its third series in 2020 – so there’s plenty to catch up on if it’s not already on your radar. A Nigerian prince no one emails back, a misunderstood superhero and a leading witch doctor are just some of the characters you’ll meet. Gbemisola Ikumelo is up for best female performance in a comedy programme.
Criminal: UK – Netflix
If you like a whodunnit thriller, this is an innovative take on the police procedural. Criminal is pretty much one room, one suspect and the detectives opposite, and each episode features a different case, a new person in the frame. The series stars Katherine Kelly, Lee Ingleby, Rochenda Sandall and Shubham Saraf, with different guest stars – including Kit Harington, Sharon Horgan and David Tennant – playing the ones facing the questions. For its second series, Sophie Okonedo and Kunal Nayyar are up for supporting gongs. But did they do it? You can catch up on both seasons to find out.
Quiz – ITV
As was the case for the story of the real-life Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? “Coughing Major” back in 2001, millions were glued to this dramatisation when it aired in the summer. Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford played Charles and Diana Ingram, but its Michael Sheen, who took on the role of host Chris Tarrant, who is nominated for an award, for best supporting actor. There’s stiff competition for best mini-series but its perhaps a little surprising to see this one left out.
Breeders – Sky One
It feels like everyone has been watching the third series of Motherland recently, but if you’re after another take on parenting then Breeders is worth a try. Focusing on one family dynamic, it’s darker and angrier than the adventures of Julia and co in Motherland, but will no doubt strike a chord with sleep-deprived parents everywhere. Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard star as Paul and Ally, mum and dad to Luke and Ava. Haggard is up for the BAFTA for best female performance in a comedy programme.
Baghdad Central – Channel 4
Following the US invasion of Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein, former police inspector Muhsin al Khafaji, played by Waleed Zuaiter (London Has Fallen, Sex And The City 2) has lost virtually everything and is searching for his missing estranged elder daughter. It’s a tense, six-part thriller which also isn’t afraid to explore the uncomfortable questions about the responsibility of the West in the Middle East.
THE NOMINATIONS IN FULL
Drama Series Gangs Of London – Sky Atlantic I Hate Suzie – Sky Atlantic Save Me Too – Sky Atlantic The Crown – Netflix
Comedy Entertainment Programme Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe – BBC2 Rob & Romesh Vs – Sky One The Big Narstie Show – Channel 4 The Ranganation – BBC2
Entertainment Performance Adam Hills, The Last Leg – Channel 4 Bradley Walsh, Beat The Chasers – ITV Claudia Winkleman, Strictly Come Dancing – BBC1 David Mitchell, Would I Lie To You? At Christmas – BBC1 Graham Norton, The Graham Norton Show – BBC1 Romesh Ranganathan, The Ranganation – BBC2
Entertainment Programme Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway – ITV Life & Rhymes – Sky Arts Strictly Come Dancing – BBC1 The Masked Singer – ITV
Factual Series Crime & Punishment – Channel 4 Hospital – BBC2 Losing It: Our Mental Health Emergency – Channel 4 Once Upon A Time In Iraq – BBC2
Features Big Zuu’s Big Eats – Dave Long Lost Family: Born Without Trace – ITV Mortimer And Whitehouse: Gone Fishing – BBC2 The Repair Shop – BBC1
Leading Actress Billie Piper, I Hate Suzie – Sky Atlantic Daisy Edgar-Jones, Normal People – BBC3 Hayley Squires, Adult Material – Channel 4 Jodie Comer, Killing Eve – BBC1 Letitia Wright, Small Axe – BBC1 Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You – BBC1
Female Performance In A Comedy Programme Aimee Lou Wood, Sex Education – Netflix Daisy Haggard, Breeders – Sky One Daisy May Cooper, This Country – BBC3 Emma Mackey, Sex Education – Netflix Gbemisola Ikumelo, Famalam – BBC3 Mae Martin, Feel Good – Channel 4
Leading Actor John Boyega, Small Axe – BBC1 Josh O’Connor, The Crown – Netflix Paapa Essiedu, I May Destroy You – BBC1 Paul Mescal, Normal People – BBC3 Shaun Parkes, Small Axe – BBC1 Waleed Zuaiter, Baghdad Central – Channel 4
News Coverage BBC News At Ten: Prime Minister Admitted To Intensive Care – BBC1 Channel 4 News: Deterring Democracy – Channel 4 Newsnight: Covid Care Crisis – BBC Two Sky News: Inside Idlib – Sky News
International Little America – Apple TV+ Lovecraft Country – Sky Atlantic Unorthodox – Netflix Welcome To Chechnya: The Gay Purge (Storyville) – BBC4
Mini-Series Adult Material – Channel 4 I May Destroy You – BBC1 Normal People – BBC3 Small Axe – BBC1
Live Event Life Drawing Live! – BBC4 Springwatch 2020 – BBC2 The Royal British Legion Festival Of Remembrance – BBC1 The Third Day: Autumn – Sky Atlantic
Reality & Constructed Factual Masterchef: The Professionals – BBC1 Race Across The World – BBC2 The School That Tried To End Racism – Channel 4 The Write Offs – Channel 4
Supporting Actor Kunal Nayyar, Criminal: UK – Netflix Malachi Kirby, Small Axe – BBC1 Michael Sheen, Quiz – ITV Micheal Ward, Small Axe – BBC1 Rupert Everett, Adult Material – Channel 4 Tobias Menzies, The Crown – Netflix
Male Performance In A Comedy Programme Charlie Cooper, This Country – BBC3 Guz Khan, Man Like Mobeen – BBC3 Joseph Gilgun, Brassic – Sky One Ncuti Gatwa, Sex Education – Netflix Paul Ritter, Friday Night Dinner – Channel 4 Reece Shearsmith, Inside No 9 – BBC2
Scripted Comedy Ghosts – BBC1 Inside No 9 – BBC2 Man Like Mobeen Production Team – Tiger Aspect Productions/BBC Three This Country – BBC3
Short Form Programme Criptales – BBC4 Disabled Not Defeated: The Rock Band With Learning Disabilities – Vice/Noisey The Main Part – BBC iPlayer They Saw The Sun First – Red Bull TV
Single Drama Anthony – BBC1 BBW (On The Edge) – Channel 4 Sitting In Limbo – BBC1 The Windermere Children – BBC2
Soap & Continuing Drama Casualty – BBC1 Coronation Street – ITV EastEnders – BBC1 Hollyoaks – Channel 4
Supporting Actress Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown – Netflix Leila Farzad, I Hate Suzie – Sky Atlantic Rakie Ayola, Anthony – BBC1 Siena Kelly, Adult Material – Channel 4 Sophie Okenedo, Criminal: UK – Netflix Weruche Opia, I May Destroy You – BBC1
Current Affairs America’s War On Abortion (Exposure) – ITV Italy’s Frontline: A Doctor’s Diary – BBC2 The Battle For Hong Kong (Dispatches) – Channel 4 The Cyprus Papers Undercover (Al Jazeera Investigations) – Al Jazeera Media Network/Al Jazeera English
Daytime Jimmy McGovern’s Moving On – BBC1 Richard Osman’s House Of Games – BBC2 The Chase – ITV The Great House Giveaway – Channel 4
Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment (voted for by the public) Bridgerton, Penelope is revealed as Lady Whistledown – Netflix Britain’s Got Talent, Diversity perform routine inspired by events of 2020 – ITV EastEnders, Gray kills Chantelle – BBC1 Gogglebox, reactions to Boris Johnson’s press conference – Channel 4 Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat, Mee-Cro-Wah-Vay – BBC2 The Mandalorian, Luke Skywalker arrives – Disney+
Sport Bahrain Grand Prix – Sky Sports England v France: The Final Of Autumn Nations Cup – Amazon Prime Video England v West Indies Test Cricket – Sky Sports London Marathon 2020 – BBC
Specialist Factual Extinction: The Facts – BBC1 Putin: A Russian Spy Story – Channel 4 The Rise Of The Murdoch Dynasty – BBC2 The Surgeon’s Cut – Netflix
Single Documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door – Netflix Anton Ferdinand: Football, Racism & Me – BBC1 Locked In: Breaking The Silence (Storyville) – BBC4 Surviving Covid – Channel 4
AND THE CRAFT AWARDS, WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN ANNOUNCED
Costume Design – Jacqueline Durran, Small Axe – BBC1 Rosa Dias, Sex Education – Netflix James Keast, Belgravia – ITV Amy Roberts, The Crown – Netflix
Emerging Talent: Fiction – Georgi Banks-Davies (director), I Hate Suzie – Sky Atlantic Harry Tulley (dubbing mixer), Anthony – BBC1 Stephen S Thompson (writer), Sitting In Limbo – BBC1 William Stefan Smith (director), On The Edge: BBW – Channel 4
Emerging Talent: Factual – Marian Mohamed (director) Defending Digga D – BBC3 Ashley Francis-Roy (shooting producer/director) Damilola: The Boy Next Door & The Real EastEnders – Channel 4 Jessica Kelly (director) The Schools That Chain Boys, and Silicon Valley’s Online Slave Market – BBC Kandise Abiola (producer) Terms & Conditions: A UK Drill Story – YouTube
Director: Factual – Teresa Griffiths, Lee Miller: A Life On The Front Line – BBC2 Xavier Alford, Locked In: Breaking The Silence – BBC4 James Bluemel, Once Upon A Time In Iraq – BBC2 Deeyah Khan, America’s War On Abortion – ITV
Director: Fiction – Michaela Coel and Sam Miller, I May Destroy You – BBC1 Lenny Abrahamson, Normal People – BBC3 Benjamin Caron, The Crown (episode 3) – Netflix Steve McQueen, Small Axe – BBC1
Director: Multi-Camera – Marcus Viner, Eno’s Drive & Live: La Bohème – Somethin’ Else – Sky Arts Bridget Caldwell, The Royal British Legion Festival Of Remembrance – BBC1 Ken Burton, Rugby League Challenge Cup Final – BBC1 Nikki Parsons, Strictly Come Dancing – BBC1
Editing: Factual – Claire Guillon, Lee Miller: A Life On The Front Line – BBC2 Adam Finch, Putin: A Russian Spy Story – Channel 4 Anna Price, Once Upon A Time In Iraq (episode 3) – BBC2 Will Grayburn, Once Upon A Time In Iraq (episode 2) – BBC2
Editing: Fiction – Editing team, I May Destroy You – BBC1 Chris Dickens and Steve McQueen, Small Axe – BBC1 Nathan Nugent, Normal People (episode 5) – BBC3 Pia Di Ciaula, Quiz – ITV
Entertainment Craft Team – Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway – ITV Last Night Of The Proms – BBC1 Strictly Come Dancing – BBC1 I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! – ITV
Make Up & Hair Design – Jojo Williams, Small Axe – BBC1 Bethany Swan, I May Destroy You – BBC1 Cate Hall, The Crown – Netflix Louise Coles, Sarah Nuth, Lorraine Glynn and Erin Ayanian, The Great – Starzplay
Photography: Factual – Johnny Shipley, Drone Camera Team and John Livesey, The Great Mountain Sheep Gather – BBC4 Richard Kirby, Sue Gibson, Max Kölbl and Robert Hollingworth, Tiny World – Apple Tv+ Tim Cragg, Fear City: New York vs The Mafia – Netflix Will Edwards and Michael O’Halloran, Marina Abramović Takes Over TV – Sky Arts
Photography & Lighting: Fiction – Shabier Kirchner, Small Axe – BBC1 Ed Rutherford, Little Birds – Sky Atlantic Rob Hardy, Devs – BBC2 Suzie Lavelle, Normal People – BBC3
Original Music – Harry Escott, Roadkill – BBC1 Cristobal Tapia De Veer, The Third Day (episode 3) – Sky Atlantic H Scott Salinas, Baghdad Central – Channel 4 Martin Phipps, The Crown – Netflix
Production Design – Helen Scott, Small Axe – BBC1 Joel Collins, His Dark Materials – BBC1 Matt Gant and Megan Bosaw, Gangs Of London – Sky Atlantic Samantha Harley and Alexandra Slade, Sex Education – Netflix
Scripted Casting – Gary Davy, Small Axe – BBC1 Kate Rhodes James, Baghdad Central – Channel 4 Lauren Evans, Sex Education – Netflix Shaheen Baig, The Third Day – Sky Atlantic
Sound: Factual – Formula 1: Drive To Survive – Netflix Earth At Night In Colour – Apple TV+ Hitsville: The Making Of Motown – Sky Documentaries Springwatch 2020 – BBC2
Sound: Fiction – His Dark Materials (episode 7) – BBC1 Normal People – BBC3 Small Axe – BBC1 The Crown – Netflix
Special, Visual & Graphic Effects – His Dark Materials – BBC1 The Crown – Netflix War Of The Worlds – Fox Cursed – Netflix
Titles & Graphic Identity – Fear City: New York vs The Mafia – Netflix Devs – BBC2 Dracula – BBC1 Roald & Beatrix: The Tail Of The Curious Mouse – Sky One
Writer: Comedy – Sophie Willan, Alma’s Not Normal – BBC2 Charlie Brooker, Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe – BBC2 Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper, This Country – BBC3 Writing team, Ghosts – BBC1
Writer: Drama – Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You – BBC1 Alastair Siddons and Steve McQueen, Small Axe – BBC1 Lucy Kirkwood, Adult Material – Channel 4 Lucy Prebble, I Hate Suzie – Sky Atlantic
The Virgin Media BAFTA Television Awards ceremony airs at 7pm on Sunday 6 June on BBC One.