Did The Right People Win The 2011 BAFTAs?

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Last night, the makers and stars of great British (and not so great, or British) television donned tuxedos and tiaras and hoped to walk away with a bronze face on a black plinth. We watched as a year’s supply of BAFTAS were sprinkled on some worthy, if predictable, winners. There were a few satisfying surprises while some decisions left us raging like a rock star forced to colour code their own M&Ms.;

Sherlock, the BBC’s modern-day remodelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s sociopathic detective, nearly cleaned up scooping Best Drama Series and Best Supporting Actor for Martin Freeman (Doctor Watson). But leading man Benedict Cumberbatch could only look on and try not to scowl as the Best Actor gong went to comedian Daniel Rigby for his impression of Eric Morecambe on BBC Four’s Eric and Ernie.

Perhaps the sweetest shock of the night was Vicky McClure winning Best Actress for This is England ‘86. Quite rightly, the little-known star beat Anna Maxwell Martin (South Riding), Juliet Stevenson (Accused) and Five DaughtersNatalie Press to the most coveted lady gong. Best Supporting actress, meanwhile, went to Lauren Socha for her portrayal of gobby, telepathic teen Kelly in E4’s Misfits. Can’t argue with that.

Another pleasing surprise was Jo Brand (Getting On) bagging Best Female Performance in a Comedy Role, despite being up against unfunny gong magnet Miranda Hart. And the low-fi but brilliant Rev bested The Trip (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s self-indulgent, laugh-free two-hander) and the excruciatingly terrible Mrs Brown’s Boys to win Best Sitcom.

Now over to the night’s most befuddling outcome: The YouTube Audience Award. Give yourself a discerning slap on the back The General Public because you gifted a BAFTA to The Only Way is Essex. Why not give Rolf Harris a Grammy and a Turner Prize while you’re at it? The part-scripted reality show about the lives of over-tanned, shouty stereotypes beat Sherlock, Downton Abbey and The Killing. Democracy has never looked more ludicrous.

BAFTA demonstrated its own shortcomings by handing ITV1’s dim-witted game show The Cube Best Entertainment Programme. This when (as The Cube's crew admitted) they could have picked The X Factor, The Graham Norton Show or Have I Got News For You. The night’s other losers were period drama Downton Abbey (tabled in three categories, winner in none) and Doctor Who (one nomination, no wins. Matt Smith was another Best Leading Actor casualty).

But way down the inventory, there was a small but important victory: Denmark’s sublime murder mystery series The Killing (female detective wears jumper to much acclaim, and solves tricky murder in under three weeks) beat Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Glee to win Best International Drama. Really, though, it shouldn’t have been relegated to a lightweight category simply for not being British. If The Killing series two (due to air later this year) doesn’t scoop a gong higher up the list then BAFTA needs its bottom smacked.

PHOTOS

- Check out the Winners gallery.
- See the stars arriving on the red carpet.

Do you think the right people won at this year's BAFTAs? Vent below!

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