Bafta 2023 nominations: TV critic Alex Moreland on snubs and why Happy Valley wasn't one of them

This Is Going to Hurt and The Responder are leading the field with most nominations - but Ambika Mod and Then Barbara Met Alan were both overlooked

Earlier this morning, the nominees for the 2023 BAFTA Television Awards with P&O Cruises were announced. This Is Going to Hurt and The Responder lead with six nominations each, with Bad Sisters and The Crown following not far behind with five each.

The real questions, of course, are always less “who was nominated?” and more “who wasn’t?” – was anyone snubbed? Did any deserving nominees miss out? Why wasn’t my favourite recognised for an award? 

What did you think of the nominations?

Not, on balance, a huge amount. A lot of the nominations feel basically more or less what you’d expect of BAFTA, and there are no huge surprises anywhere across the board (except maybe the fact that people actually watched the Daniel Radcliffe Weird Al Roku movie). Still, there’s a few nice ones – like nominations for Jon Pointing and Taj Atwal in the comedy categories, and Mood for miniseries – and I’m very curious which of the three Live Events will win, given each would be obvious winners in previous years. 

That said: why was Dahmer: Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story nominated? There is not a most punctuation category.

But Happy Valley was snubbed, right?

No, it wasn’t. Submissions for BAFTA consideration were invited on Wednesday 5 October 2022. Friday 18 November 2022 was the deadline for any television programmes first broadcast between 1 January 2022 and 31 November 2022. Thursday 5 January was the extended deadline for submission of programmes that aired in December 2022. 

Happy Valley aired in January 2023. It was not eligible for submission during these BAFTAs, and it wasn’t snubbed, and you should be at least a little dubious of anyone telling you it was. Here’s an advance prediction for next year, though: Happy Valley Series 3 will be nominated for Best Drama, Sarah Lancashire (rightly) for Leading Actress, James Norton (undeservedly) for Leading Actor, and Sally Wainwright for Writer: Drama. Siobhan Finneran will be overlooked, though, and that’ll be a shame.

Okay, well, how about Heartstopper? Surely that deserved something more than it got? 

So, actually, here’s a stance: there should be a Children’s Television Award within the ‘main’ BAFTA event. At the moment, there’s a dedicated Children & Young People BAFTA ceremony, which presents awards in fourteen different categories across film, television, and video games. It took the place of the Children’s Programme – Factual and Children’s Programme – Fiction or Entertainment awards, which were last presented as part of the ‘main’ BAFTAs in 1996.

(Fun fact: one of the last winners of the Children’s BAFTA was Sherlock’s Steven Moffat, and one of the most recent winners at the Children & Young People BAFTAs was a pre-The Last of Us Bella Ramsey.)

Children’s television in the UK is being dismantled and devalued across the board – CITV is closing this year, and plans are in place for CBBC to stop broadcasting as a linear channel in 2025 – and enshrining that programming in the main BAFTAs once again might do something to turn the tides on that. (If nothing else, something needs to be done to break the YouTube/Twitch monopoly.) Heartstopper would be a worthy nomination in any such category. 

How about House of the Dragon/Peaky Blinders/my own other favourite?

Obviously, yes, your favourite – and, by extension, your taste in television – should be critically validated by a respectable institution. (It might’ve been nice to see Paddy Considine and Milly Alcock nominated for House of the Dragon, if only because neither will be back and both were so key to the first series working, but Game of Thrones was never the big BAFTA winner you might’ve imagined it to be, so it’s really not a huge surprise.) 

So nothing was snubbed?

Well, no, obviously the things I like were snubbed. In all seriousness, though, it’s a shame not to see Ambika Mod on the list; she was the best part of This is Going to Hurt, and in fact one of the best TV performances of the year, so it’s quite glaring that the show picked up nominations but she didn’t. Where could she have been nominated? I’d imagine she would’ve been in the Supporting Actress category, but I think there’s a strong case to be made that she should’ve been nominated for Lead Actress over Imelda Staunton. 

It’s also a shame that Then Barbara Met Alan didn’t pick up any nominations – it’d be particularly deserving of a Single Drama nomination – and if you’ve not seen it, it’s well-worth taking the time to track it down and give it a watch. Marriage feels like something of a notable omission too, albeit generally unsurprising (it was very good, but lots of people were wrong about it). Paapa Essiedu for The Capture, Myha'la Herrold for Industry, and Karla Simone-Spence for The Confessions of Frannie Langton also stand out as having been overlooked in the acting categories as well. 

Oh, and if Wednesday gets a nomination, then someone needs to look into retroactive nominations for Smallville. And, actually, hang on, why isn’t Riverdale nominated? I am being so serious right now. 

What’s going to be nominated in 2024, then, if you know everything?

Thank you for saying that, I do know everything.

That’s not exactly—

Happy Valley is obviously going to do well, as we know, but one that might be worth paying attention to in the next few months is Rain Dogs, a BBC One dramedy from writer Cash Carraway. It stars Daisy May Cooper, and her show Am I Being Unreasonable? did particularly well this year – Rain Dogs, which has already been met with rave reviews in the US, seems like it could find similar success. Otherwise, a nomination for Helena Bonham Carter for Nolly seems like a solid guess too. 

And when are the BAFTAs on TV again?

I’m so glad you asked, since that’ll draw things together nicely at the end here. The 2023 BAFTA Television Awards are being held on Sunday 14 May. Romesh Ranganathan and Rob Beckett will host the ceremony, which as ever will be broadcast on BBC One.