Industry News  |  18 March 2020

The winners were revealed by writer and comedian Paul Merton and were streamed live to nominees and viewers at home, via the RTS website.

The Royal Television Society (RTS), Britain’s leading forum for television and related media, announced the winners of the prestigious Royal Television Society Programme Awards, in partnership with Audio Network, behind closed doors.

“We are all facing an incredibly difficult time and rightfully have made responsible changes to the format of the RTS Programme Awards. Despite this, we would like to acknowledge the incredible contribution of all our nominees to the UK’s television output and celebrate our deserving winners. This is my last year in the role of Chair of the RTS Programme Awards and throughout my tenure I have been proud to witness the outstanding talent in the UK, and have been repeatedly inspired by the creativity across our industry.”

Wayne Garvie, Chair of the RTS Programme Awards

The RTS Programme Awards seek to recognise UK productions and, where appropriate, international co-productions which, between 1st November 2018 and 31st October 2019, have made a positive contribution worthy of acclaim by the industry and UK viewers.

A full list of winners and nominees is available to view here.

Actor (Female)

WINNER – Tamara Lawrance – The Long Song (Heyday Television and NBCUniversal International Studios for BBC One)

“Captivating and full of humanity, conveying an almost unimaginable strength in the darkest of moments”

Actor (Male)

WINNER – Stephen Graham – The Virtues (Warp Films and Big Arty Productions for Channel 4)

“Utterly mesmerising and steeped in a real rawness – we were seeing an actor discovering new places to go emotionally in his work”


WINNER – Bros: After The Screaming Stops (Fulwell 73 for BBC Four)

“Remarkable access, and a masterful study in the tensions and triumphs of the creative process that was – at times – brutally honest, but ultimately moving”

Breakthrough Award

WINNER – Tanya Moodie – Motherland (Merman Television and Delightful Industries for BBC Two)

“Genuinely, a star in the making”

Children’s Programme

WINNER – Zog (Magic Light Pictures for BBC One)

“This felt special, a real piece of inclusive quality television full of positive messages and warmth.”

Comedy Performance (Female)

WINNER – Saoirse-Monica Jackson – Derry Girls (Hat Trick Productions for Channel 4)

“A truly stand-out performance in a brilliantly funny series, she confidently commits to the character despite the craziness of the world she inhabits”

Comedy Performance (Male)

WINNER – Ncuti Gatwa – Sex Education (Eleven Film for Netflix)

“Perfectly balanced, combining slapstick and big comic set pieces with moments of tender emotion and great heart in a truly wonderful series”

Daytime Programme

WINNER – The Repair Shop (Ricochet for BBC One)

“The passion pours through the screen. Produced with great confidence and real commitment, it’s a show that feels just right for today’s audience”.

Documentary Series

WINNER – The Choir: Our School By The Tower (Twenty Twenty Productions for BBC Two)

“A genuine insight into lives that we rarely see captured so vividly and so carefully on television”.

Drama Series

WINNER – Gentleman Jack (A Lookout Point Production in association with HBO for BBC One)

“Sharply written, beautifully acted and directed, and all built around relationships which genuinely caught the audience’s imagination”


WINNER – RuPaul’s Drag Race UK (World of Wonder Productions for BBC Three)

“In its own unique way, it said something rather unexpected and fun about being British, as well as being full of warmth and laughs”.

Entertainment Performance

WINNER – London Hughes Don’t Hate The Playaz (Monkey Kingdom for ITV2)

“Authentic, witty, and with an infectious personality”.

Formatted Popular Factual

WINNER – The British Tribe Next Door (Voltage & Motion Content Group for Channel 4)

“Genuinely innovative, bravely breaking new ground as a format, an idea realised and executed impeccably well”


WINNER – Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain (Blast! Films for Channel 4)

“A provocative, highly revealing piece of work full of many challenging questions still to be answered”

Live Event

WINNER – Stormzy At Glastonbury 2019 (BBC Studios for BBC Two)

“This transcended the event to become a significant national moment, as well as an outstanding television spectacle”


WINNER – The Long Song (Heyday Television and NBCUniversal International Studios for BBC One)

“An extraordinary achievement in storytelling and a stand-out piece of important television”


WINNER – Mobeen Azhar Hometown: A Killing (7 Wonder for BBC Three)

“A uniquely engaging and compelling presence on screen”

RTS Channel of the Year

WINNER – Channel 5

“A confident broadcaster reaping the rewards of years of steady growth and development – a channel that increasingly now both surprises and delights”

Science and Natural History

WINNER – The Parkinson’s Drug Trial: A Miracle Cure? (Passionate Productions for BBC Two)

“Produced with immense care over a long period, it was informative, packed with drama and emotion”.

Scripted Comedy

WINNER – Fleabag (Two Brothers Pictures in association with All3Media International for BBC Three and Amazon Prime Video)

“Beautifully accomplished, supremely well written and performed”

Single Documentary

WINNER – War in the Blood (Minnow Films for BBC Two)

“A consummate piece of work…subtle and unsensational, immaculately balanced but uncompromising”

Single Drama

WINNER – The Left Behind (BBC Studios for BBC Three and BBC Cymru Wales)

A smart piece that shone a light on the real state of the nation, telling multi-layered stories in an emotional and nuanced way”

Soap and Continuing Drama

WINNER – Casualty (BBC Studios for BBC One)

“Excellent central dramatic performances combined with an authentic and gripping story”

Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit

WINNER – Alex Scott 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (Input Media – now known as Gravity Media – and BBC Sport for BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC iPlayer)

“A former player willing to draw on immense knowledge of the game to bring confident, concise analysis in a refreshing, inspiring way”.

Sports Programme

WINNER – ICC Cricket World Cup Final (Sky Sports & Sunset+Vine for ICC TV and Sky Sports Cricket)

“A spectacular and extraordinary moment in sporting history, captured brilliantly by a production team clearly right at the top of their own game”

Writer (Comedy)

WINNER – Phoebe Waller-Bridge Fleabag (Two Brothers Pictures in association with All3Media International for BBC Three and Amazon Prime Video)

“A truly stand-out performance in a brilliantly funny series, she confidently commits to the character despite the craziness of the world she inhabits”

Writer (Drama)

WINNER – Craig Mazin Chernobyl (Sister, The Mighty Mint and Word Games in association with HBO for Sky Atlantic)

“It was a complex story told with a compulsive narrative shape – profound and affecting. The writer unflinchingly presented prescient and relevant themes”

Judges’ Award

WINNER – Jane Featherstone (Founder and Chief Executive, Sister Pictures)

The recipient of this prestigious honour is a Producer of drama who – over the last twelve months in particular – has shown that her time has truly come.

Just five years ago Jane Featherstone left the security of being Chief Executive of Kudos and Chair of Shine UK, where she’d enjoyed a great run of success. Jane had joined Kudos in 2000 as Head of Drama and risen to the top job, along the way bringing to the screen hit shows like Broadchurch, Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes, The Tunnel and Spooks.

On leaving Kudos she struck out on her own and founded Sister Pictures – now just branded Sister, in a partnership with Elizabeth Murdoch and Stacey Snider. In her new company Jane quickly hit her stride with a deep development slate of bold, eye-catching drama. By 2019, just four years after starting up, she had FIVE series running in the same year in peak-time on British television – all radically different pieces in content and tone, but all highly distinctive and with their own very specific voice:

Cleaning Up on ITV starred Sheridan Smith as a working class Londoner who decides to play life by the rules usually reserved for the people she cleans for; The Split on BBC One was a multi-layered story of privilege and betrayal in a family-owned law firm; Don’t Forget The Driver, produced for BBC Two,

was an acutely-observed comedy starring Toby Jones as a coach driver in one of Britain’s forgotten seaside towns; Giri/Haji on BBC Two was soulful thriller set in Tokyo and London which succeeded in being both dark and witty in equal measure; and of course, Chernobyl was one of the big, globally-acclaimed and talked-about events of the year – a searing dramatization of the story the Soviet Union tried to supress when the world held its breath following the worst nuclear accident in history.

It is, by any measure, an exceptional slate of extraordinary work, all in a single year. Drama of the very highest quality, produced with passion and flair by one of the stand-out stars of British television production.

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