BPG Awards 2015: A Sign of the Changing Face of UK Television?

12/02/2015 10:31 GMT | Updated 14/04/2015 10:59 BST

It's a golden age. A purple patch. A triumph of style and substance. Ring out the cliches, because UK telly drama is the cat's pyjamas right now.

You don't need to be Sherlock to recognise the quality of the scripted stuff on our screens last year. It was so strong, in fact, that some very good stuff didn't get a look in - Benedict Cumberbatch's sleuth failed to snag a single nomination for the 2015 Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG) Awards.

If crime's your thing though, there's still plenty on offer. Who can forget Line of Duty's police corruption unit tackling Keeley Hawes' devilish DI Denton? Or what about Sarah Lancashire's copper Catherine Cawood in the outstanding West Yorkshire whodunnit Happy Valley?

After a rigorous two-stage voting process among BPG journalists (we pride ourselves on being the most democratic awards in town), The Honourable Woman also makes our list, as does Cilla, starring the irrepressible Sheridan Smith as songstress Cilla Black.

Biopics were a theme in the single drama nominations, which include ITV's Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This and A Poet in New York, an ode to Dylan Thomas. And as for BBC2's Marvellous, it was just that: marvellous.

Getting these goodies whittled down to some sort of manageable list for the 120 BPG members to vote on was an arduous task - and one I thank my nominations committee for completing admirably. One dreary January evening in Soho, they also powered through eight other categories.

BBC2 leads the field with nine nominations, proving there is life after The Great British Bake Off - which incidentally is up for Best Factual Entertainment show. The channel has four of the five entries in the Best Comedy and Entertainment category, including Twenty Twelve spin-off W1A. So that's all good.

Channel 4 has enjoyed a glittering awards season, and many of its stand-out hits are also on show, including Gogglebox and Benefits Street. ITV meanwhile has not had its strongest year, registering only three nominations.

Perhaps it's a sign of the changing face of UK television. That box in the corner of your living room is these days vying for your attention against an army of other small screens, which means you're just as likely to get your daily TV fix on the train as you are on the sofa.

And what about all that other stuff on the internet? Binge viewing may be stretching your definition of bedtime, but it's also giving telly execs sleepless nights as they grapple to keep up with viewing habits. It's part of the reason why the Discovery Channel-sponsored BPG Awards has decided to recognise online-first content for the first time this year.

Among our nominees for Innovation in Broadcasting Award include the seemingly ubiquitous Vice Media and the BBC's increasing experimentation with iPlayer exclusives, such as last year's comedy shorts. Who can forget Matt Berry's foulmouthed attempt to emulate Attenborough?

The innovation gong also brings me back to drama. BBC1 may have axed gothic crime thriller Ripper Street, but it was revived by Amazon Prime Instant Video in a move that has garnered the US online giant a nomination.

There's no doubt that digital players are making their presence felt, but the strength of this year's BPG nominations also shows that they are nowhere near landing a killer blow.

Check out the nominations in full below:

Best Single Drama

A Poet in New York (BBC Two)

Marvellous (BBC Two)

Murdered By My Boyfriend (BBC Three)

Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This (ITV)

Best Drama Series

Cilla (ITV)

Happy Valley (BBC One)

Line of Duty (BBC Two)

The Honourable Woman (BBC Two)

Best Single Documentary

Baby P: The Untold Story (BBC One)

Dave Allen: God's Own Comedian (BBC Two)

Panorama: The Fake Sheikh Exposed (BBC One)

Best Documentary Series

24 Hours in Police Custody (C4)

Benefits Street (C4)

Broadmoor (ITV)

Grayson Perry: Who Are You? (C4)

Best Comedy/ Entertainment

Detectorists (BBC Four)

Harry and Paul's Story of the Twos (BBC Two)

Rev (BBC Two)

The Trip to Italy (BBC Two)

W1A (BBC Two)

Best Multichannel Programme

Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled (Dave)

Crackanory (Dave)

Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish (Dave)

Ebola Exposed (Discovery Channel)

Best Factual Entertainment

Gogglebox (C4)

The Great British Bake Off (BBC One)

Speed With Guy Martin (C4)

The Undateables (C4)

Best Actor

David Threlfall (Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This)

James Nesbitt (The Missing/Babylon)

Toby Jones (Marvellous/Detectorists)

Best Actress

Keeley Hawes (Line of Duty)

Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley/Last Tango)

Sheridan Smith (Cilla/The Widower)

Best Writer

Hugo Blick (The Honourable Woman)

Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty)

Mackenzie Crook (Detectorists)

Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley/Last Tango in Halifax)

Innovation in Broadcasting - Online First Award

Original Drama and Comedy Shorts for BBC iPlayer

Ripper Street for Amazon Instant Video (Tiger Aspect/Lookout Point TV)

Vice News (The Islamic State and other UK commissions)

Breakthrough Award

Harry and Jack Williams, writers, The Missing (BBC One)

James Norton (Happy Valley/Grantchester)

Maddy Hill (EastEnders)