The 2023 TV BAFTAs: the most deserving wins, the biggest shocks, and the most embarrassing award of all

Breaking down the 2023 TV BAFTAs, from Bad Sisters' wins to Lenny Rush's speech to Ben Whishaw's own surprise at winning Memorable Moment

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I always find the ironic, “aren’t we all a bit above this” derisive approach of awards show hosts – in this instance Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan, but it’s the prevailing tone at all these things – kinda irritating. Like, for one thing, we’re all clearly not above this, because if we were there wouldn’t be a BAFTAs at all, but also more importantly, why is it something to be above in the first place? Sure, part of the fun comes from not taking it too seriously, but you need to be at least a little earnest about this stuff.

Anyway, anyway. A basically pretty solid set of BAFTAs overall – really nice to see Bad Sisters do so well, a very deserving show that I didn’t expect to actually pick up as many awards as it did. Fantastic speech from Sharon Horgan too, especially the nod to the WGA strike in the US. Meera Syal’s speech accepting the Lifetime Achievement BAFTA was a great moment as well. 

A few surprises too, which is always nice. Happy for Lenny Rush, who was very good in Am I Being Unreasonable, and gave a great acceptance speech. In terms of shock upsets, Mood winning over This Is Going to Hurt for Miniseries was clearly genuinely unexpected in the room, but it’s nice to see that these awards can sometimes still award someone other than the obvious frontrunner. (Plus, with Ambika Mod having been overlooked at the nominations stage, it’s hard to get too animated about This Is Going to Hurt snubs – the biggest snub had already happened weeks back!)

As always, there’s a few that feel a little egregious – Kate Winslet was great in I Am Ruth, but Billie Piper was robbed – but there were relatively few that seemed outright actively wrong. Even Derry Girls, which hardly went out at the height of its powers, feels basically justifiable on the strength of the earlier seasons it didn’t technically win for last night. Shame that Somewhere Boy and The Responder didn’t leave with anything, but sometimes that’s just how it is. Laughable that Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story won anything at all, but let’s not dwell on that too much or we’ll have to throw out the entire concept of awards shows. 

I’ll see you again this time next year, when we can all split hairs over the fact that Siobhan Finneran was overlooked even though Happy Valley swept the awards otherwise. 

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