BENEDICT Cumberbatch had a disappointing night as he missed out on a television Bafta for his portrayal of master detective Sherlock.
Instead, the leading actor gong at last night’s star-studded event went to Jason Watkins for his portrayal of the murder accused in ITV drama The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies.
The Bafta for best mini-series also went to the drama, which was based on the story of the man accused by the media and members of the public of the 2010 murder of Joanna Yeates.
It was Cumberbatch’s third nomination for his performance in hit BBC show Sherlock, which took home the Radio Times Audience Award.
Earlier this year, he was defeated at the Oscars by Eddie Redmayne who took the best actor award.
Comedian Jessica Hynes used her win for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme to make a stand against ongoing austerity cuts.
The actress, who won her award for playing Siobhan Sharpe in W1A, told the audience to rapturous applause: “I’m from a single parent family. I’m really worried about the cuts that are coming in state education and to people in low income families – because I don’t feel low income means low talent, low imagination or low intelligence.”
Presenting duo Ant and Dec were the first winners of the night, taking best entertainment programme for their Saturday Night Takeaway. Picking up the gong, Ant told said: “What a great start to the show – for us. We’re delighted with it, thrilled. We love making this show.”
An emotional and clearly shocked Gemma Jones was close to tears as she picked up the best supporting actress award for her portrayal of Mary Baldwin in Marvellous.
The bio-pic told the true story of Neil Baldwin, who refused to accept the limitations of his learning disability.
It was her first nomination for the veteran actress since 1997. She told the audience: “I’d like to thank the real Neil who so generously allowed us to intrude on his extraordinary life.”
After picking up the audience award for Sherlock, Scottish writer Stephen Moffat said: “We never take the continuing success of Sherlock remotely for granted.”
He added: “Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson can’t be here tonight. Martin Freeman is looking after the kids and Benedict Cumberbatch is looking after his pregnant wife, because that’s what real men do.”
Best international series went to gritty US drama True Detective which starred Hollywood A-listers Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Unfortunately no-one from the cast or crew turned up to the awards, so it was left to presenters James Norton and Tom Hughes to accept the award.
Irish actor Stephen Rea won best supporting actor for The Honourable Woman, and paying tribe to Hugo Blick’s writing on the show, Rea said: “He’s a magnificent artist – a privilege and an honour to work with him.”
Sky News won best news coverage for its “brave” reports on Ebola, with Grand Designs winning for best features. Dispatches: Children on the Frontline took best current affairs prize.
Host Graham Norton laughed as he briefly put his duties to one side to collect the award for comedy entertainment programme for the Graham Norton Show. “Yay me”, he told the audience. “It’s much quicker when I win. I should win most things.”
Coronation Street took the award for soap and continuing drama. Producer Stuart Blackburn dedicated the award to “friend and colleague” Anne Kirkbride, who played Deirdre in the show and died from cancer earlier this year.
A glamorous Judy Murray took to the stage to present the prize for sport and live event which went to BBC 2’s WW1 Remembered. “The level of engagement from people of all ages in this day long remembrance was remarkable,” presenter Huw Edwards told the audience.
Channel 4’s The Paedophile Hunter took the prize for single documentary. “This was a film we didn’t even know would go to air until days before the transmission date,” the team revealed.
The winners are ...
Best Drama Series: Happy Valley
Best Single Drama: Marvellous
Best Mini Series: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies
Best Soap and Continuing Drama: Coronation Street
Best Scripted Comedy: Detectorists
Best Comedy Programme: The Graham Norton Show
Best entertainment Programme: Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway
Best Current Affairs: Children On The Frontline (Dispatches)
Best Features: Grand Designs
Best Single Documentary: The Paedophile Hunter
Best Factual Series: Life And Death Row
Best Specialist Factual: Grayson Perry: Who Are You?
Best Reality And Constructed Factual: The Island With Bear Grylls
Best Sport And Live Events: WW1 Remembered: From The Battlefield and Westminster Abbey
Best News Coverage: Sky News Live At Five: Ebola
Best Leading Actor: Jason Watkins – The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies
Best Leading Actress: Georgina Campbell – Murdered by My Boyfriend
Best Supporting Actor: Stephen Rea – The Honourable Woman
Best Supporting Actress: Gemma Jones – Marvellous
Best Male Comedy Performance: Matt Berry – Toast of London
Best Female Comedy Performance: Jessica Hynes - W1A
Best Entertainment Performance: Ant and Dec – Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway
International Award: True Detective
British Academy Television Special Award: Clive James
Audience Award: Sherlock
Academy Fellowship: Jon Snow