The stars of British Television, both sides of the camera, celebrated the very best in Free TV at the sixth annual Freesat Free TV Awards.
Doctor Who, The Day of the Doctor scooped the biggest award of the night, as it was named Best of British TV programme or series. The judges praised it as ‘momentous’, ‘extraordinary’ and ‘a massive undertaking to do something as fitting as this for the show’s 50th anniversary’.
BBC Two’s cult hit police thriller Line of Duty was named Freesat Best TV Drama, with lead actor Keeley Hawes taking to the stage to collect the award. The judges said that the show had featured ‘breathtaking performances’ and that ‘in a world of box sets, we enjoyed watching TV in the usual way, staying in every Wednesday night to find out what would happen next.
ITV took home three awards, with Best Live TV Programme or Series going to Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, which the judges said had delivered ‘Extraordinary ambition, week after week’. Ant and Dec also won Personality of the Year, for the second year in a row, and Coronation Street was named Best British TV Soap.
BBC Two won the Freesat Channel of the Year award, as judges praised the channel for ‘firing on all cylinders; with strong dramas, great comedy and expertise in every territory from science to history’. As well as Line of Duty, BBC Two also won for Best TV Sitcom, with James Corden and Mathew Baynton’s The Wrong Mans.
Best News channel was awarded to BBC Radio 5 Live and Scripps Networks’ The Travel Channel took home the prize for best Specialist Channel. Channel 4’s documentary series Educating Yorkshire won Best Factual TV Programme or Series.
Emma Scott, Freesat’s Managing Director, commented:
I never fail to be impressed with the outstanding quality of great free Television and Radio on Freesat. This year in particular has been a truly amazing one for TV drama, so we’re particularly proud to see Doctor Who, The Day of the Doctor and Line of Duty recognized as our winners from a fantastically strong field.
The Freesat awards celebrate the very best of Britain’s free TV, from Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway to Educating Yorkshire to The Wrong Mans. Huge congratulations to all our winners – they represent a roll-call of excellence, and that reflects the strong line-up of channels on Freesat which keep going from strength to strength.
Hosted by comedian Marcus Brigstocke, the awards ceremony was attended by a 250 strong VIP audience of celebrities, media and broadcasters.
Over 200 entries completed across twelve categories, and winners were chosen by an expert panel of broadcasting industry executives and television commentators, chaired by journalist and commentator, Neil Midgley.
The awards were supported by TV Times and Manhattan.
Freesat Free TV Awards 2014 Winners:
Freesat Channel of the Year: BBC Two
The judges said: On this channel, everything is just working’. It’s truly firing on all cylinders, with great comedy and expertise in every factual territory, from science to history. Even its lighter programmes – including those that might literally be described as ‘self-raising’ – show real depth and intelligence. And, over the last year, the channel’s new drama series have all been truly exceptional – with one of them recognised earlier this evening.
Best of British: TV Programme or Series: Doctor Who: Day of the Doctor
The judges said: Momentous, extraordinary and had real power. Creating a new, powerful, emotional and moral dilemma within such a long-running show was a massive undertaking. There is nothing more British than this programme.
Best Factual TV Programme or Series: Educating Yorkshire
The judges were impressed by the ‘courageous and inspiring’ content of this show. Although it is a returning format, the standard of casting, storylining and editing – not to mention a brave new choice of location – delivered a step change from the first series.
Best TV Sitcom: The Wrong Mans
The judges said: The programme itself was a genuinely risky undertaking, mixing dry sitcom with the crash-bang action of a thrilling Hollywood caper. Not only did it create a ‘gripping story’, but it still managed to be full of jokes, with its lead actors clearly relishing their unlikely roles.
Best TV Drama: Line of Duty
The judges said: This series took its genre forward with long – but gripping – interview scenes, and with a central performance that was nothing short of a masterclass in character acting.
Best Live TV Programme or Series: Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway
The judges said: A standout in its category, it delivered a true variety of elements including performance and competition showing ‘extraordinary ambition, week after week, and made the most of its immediacy and connection with viewers at home’. It had so many aspects that are hard to pull off live, but delivered them with fantastic confidence and innovation.’ It was a ‘must see’ for every family, with a real surprise every Saturday’.
Best Children’s TV Programme or Series: Katie Morag
The judges said: Beautifully and authentically shot, it was a key move by its host channel into scripted drama, delivering self contained stories that could have been twee – but which instead feel sweet and, more importantly, real to their young audience.
Best Digital Radio Channel: Absolute 80s
The judges said: It’s done a fantastic job of engaging more deeply with its audience, through social media and with a powerful multiplatform strategy. Full of innovation, this station has found ways of creating premium new content – and has worked hard to recruit exactly the right presenters.
Best Specialist Channel: The Travel Channel
The judges said: A ‘standout channel’, run by a talented team who have done a brilliant job – not only of rebranding, but also of reinvigorating its content using canny original commissions and famous faces. The result has been ‘amazing growth’ in its audience share.
Best News Channel: Radio 5 Live
The judges said: Radio 5 Live has strong presenters who know their audience and present with flair, authority and confidence. The editorial line is consistently strong and tackles uncomfortable issues well, creating a bond with the target audience. Breaking news is reported boldly and seamlessly – in short, this channel does a peerless job in news broadcasting.
Audience Award – Broadcast Personality of the Year: Ant & Dec
Audience Award – Best British TV Soap: Coronation Street (ITV)