Simon Cowell, an installment of the Masterchef franchise, and several critically-lauded factual series were among the winners of the Philips British Academy Television Awards (or the TV BATFAs), held Sunday night at the London Palladium.
Cowell was awarded with an outstanding achievement award for his contribution to British television, as seen with such ratings juggernauts as the Cowell-created The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. Of course, North Americans know him best as American Idol‘s surliest judge, but that will change with the arrival of X Factor on American shores in 2011. Cowell grabbed another BAFTA as part of the team behind the winner for the best entertainment program honor, Britain’s Got Talent, awarded to ITV1, Cowell’s prodco Syco and Talkback Thames. This was the first year that Got Talent was up for the award. Ant and Dec, two stars from another ITV1 factual entertainment hit, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, were awarded for best entertainment performance.
Channel 4 was well represented in the winners list for factual programming. The factual series BAFTA went to One Born Every Minute, produced by Dragonfly Productions for Channel 4. The ob-doc series, set in a maternity ward at Southampton’s Princess Anne Hospital, may be making its way Stateside in the near future, or so rumor has it. Another production for Channel 4, Windfall Films’ Inside Nature’s Giants, grabbed the award for best specialist factual program, and Terror in Mumbai, an episode of Channel 4′s Dispatches, was named top current affairs program.
The BBC also claimed its share of awards last night, with BBC One’s Wounded, a doc following the lives of two injured soldiers, taking home the best single documentary award. Masterchef: The Professionals from Shine Television for BBC Two received the nod for best feature programming, and BBC Two’s comprehensive, cross-platform examination of the impact of the World Wide Web, Virtual Revolution won the BAFTA award in the new media category.
Lord Melvyn Bragg, longtime host of the recently-canceled South Bank Show, was awarded with the Fellowship honor, in recognition of his unique contribution to British broadcasting.