Bafta win for Happy Valley as The Crown leaves empty handed

Sarah Lancashire with her Bafta leading actress award for Happy Valley. Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Sarah Lancashire with her Bafta leading actress award for Happy Valley. Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
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Happy Valley has triumphed over The Crown at the Bafta TV awards, as the royal drama left empty handed despite racking up the most nominations with five nods.

The police drama starring Sarah Lancashire snatched the best drama series prize from the big budget Netflix production, while Lancashire took the leading actress prize over The Crown’s star Claire Foy.

Addressing the tearful actress, who played a young Queen Elizabeth II in the series, Lancashire said: “Claire Foy, you have given me the best 10 hours under a duvet that I have ever had, thank you.”

The Crown also missed out on the best supporting actor gong, despite both Jared Harris and John Lithgow being nominated.

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The prize instead went to The Night Manager star Tom Hollander, while the supporting actress prize went to Wunmi Mosaku for Damilola, Our Loved Boy over The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby.

Before the ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, nominees were warned acceptance speeches would be cut short if they became too political and jeopardised the BBC’s impartiality rules ahead of the General Election.

That did not stop host Sue Perkins poking fun at Theresa May, as she said: “I promise to deliver you a strong and stable Baftas.”

Ant & Dec had a successful night as the live event prize was won by The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration, which they fronted on ITV, while Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway won the entertainment prize.

It was also a winning night for the BBC’s nature series Planet Earth II, which won the specialist factual Bafta, although narrator Sir David Attenborough did not join the production team to collect the prize.

It also claimed Virgin TV’s must-see moment prize for the snakes versus iguana chase.

Collecting the gong, executive producer Mike Gunton said: “We are surprised this won because half of people watched this sequence from behind their sofa, but the other half were at home shouting ‘run iguana run’ and they must be the ones who voted.”

Damilola, Our Loved Boy, about the killing of schoolboy Damilola Taylor, won the Bafta for single drama, while the mini series prize was taken by National Treasure, a drama inspired by Operation Yewtree.

Who Do You Think You Are? triumphed over The Great British Bake Off for the features prize while People Just Do Nothing beat Fleabag, Flowers and Camping for the scripted comedy gong.

The female performance in a comedy programme prize was taken by Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, beating her co-star Olivia Colman.

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Nick Fraser was presented with the Bafta special award for his 20 years as editor of the BBC’s Storyville documentary strand.

Fraser, who suffered a stroke earlier this year, stood next to his daughter Isabelle, as she read out his speech.

Hillsborough, a programme about the 1989 football tragedy, won the single documentary prize.

The Bafta Fellowship was presented to Joanna Lumley by her Absolutely Fabulous co-star Jennifer Saunders, who said: “In 1990 I handed her some scrappy lines and unformed ideas and she alone created Patsy Stone, a creation that has at least kept me laughing for 27 years.

“She’s a comic genius and a brilliant clown who never forgets how hard it’s been to get where she is.”

Lumley said it was “paradise” to receive the honour before she adopted Patsy’s famous drawl to add: “I just want to say actually to you all, thanks sweeties, thanks a lot.”