She recently said of herself: “My teeth aren’t perfect; I’ve got eye bags – but in England no one minds that.” And on Sunday night, Olivia Colman proved she was still a national treasure, picking up two Baftas for comedic and dramatic acting.
The 39-year-old, who first came to light in the Channel 4 comedy series Peep Show a decade ago and has since played Carole Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth and impressed Helen Mirren, took best supporting actress for her role in the BBC drama Accused and best female in the Olympics satire Twenty Twelve.
When she collected her second award for Twenty Twelve, she praised her fellow nominees Miranda Hart, Jessica Hynes and Julia Davis, joking: “I’m not even the funniest one in our own programme.”
The hit drama Last Tango in Halifax won best drama at the awards. The show, about a pair of pensioners who rekindle a romance late in life, beat off competition including ITV cop show Scott & Bailey.
Anne Reid, who starred with Derek Jacobi in the romantic drama written by Sally Wainwright, said: “I am so glad the BBC has decided at last to do love stories about people who are over 35.”
This World’s investigation into child abuse in the Catholic Church won the award for current affairs, beating ITV’s documentary about Jimmy Savile’s sex crimes, a Panorama special on the crisis in Britain’s housing and Al-Jazeera’s investigation into the death of Yasser Arafat.
Channel 4’s Paralympics programming beat the BBC coverage of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and “Super Saturday” – when Team GB won three athletics golds – in the sport and live-event category.
Host Graham Norton introduced the show from the Royal Festival Hall in London. He kicked off with a series of gags about the spate of recent celebrity arrests, saying the show had to start before “any of our presenters or guests are unavoidably detained”.
The Bafta for leading actor went to Ben Whishaw for Richard II (The Hollow Crown). Shameless star Anne-Marie Duff announced the award for supporting actor went to Shakespearean veteran Simon Russell Beale for his performance as Falstaff in the BBC version of Henry IV Part 2.
The award for news coverage went to the Granada Reports programme Hillsborough – The Truth at Last.
BBC2’s Murder was named the best single drama, while 7/7: One Day in London won the award for single documentary. The BBC’s adaptation of John Braine’s novel Room at the Top, which starred Doctor Who’s Jenna-Louise Coleman, won the award for miniseries.
Leading actor: Ben Whishaw (Richard II)
Leading actress: Sheridan Smith (Mrs Biggs)
Supporting actor: Simon Russell Beale (Henry IV Part 2)
Supporting actress: Olivia Colman (Accused)
Female performance in a comedy : Olivia Colman (Twenty Twelve)
Male performance in a comedy: Steve Coogan (Welcome To The Places Of My Life)
Single drama: Murder (BBC)
Mini-series: Room At The Top (BBC)
Drama series: Last Tango In Halifax (BBC)
Soap and Continuing Drama: EastEnders (BBC)