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The Baftas: A thin line between luvvie and hate

Tonight the TV Baftas will be handed out in a roomful of top-flight actors. Matthew Bell offers a guide to the expected tussles and tantrums

Roll out the red rug and trowel on the San-Trop. It's Bafta time, our annual celebration of the year's best television programmes. Tonight's ceremony, live from central London, will offer the usual festival of glitz, Spanx and side-boob, not to mention a few slurred thank-yous. With 27 awards to get through, it's going be a long night. Some of us may struggle to stay up for "Best Second Make-Up Artist's Runner". Sorry. So to help you get the best out of tonight, here's a guide to the highlights. Of course, with so many egos in one room, anything could happen (although we can only dream of the day when "Entertainment" nominees Ant and Dec are pitched against one another). These are our predicted top moments …

Biggest bun fight

Radio Times Audience Award

A woolly brief, this one. The shortlist has six shows that really couldn't be more different – so it's Homeland against Game of Thrones against, er, the Olympic Opening Ceremony. It will probably come down to a toss-up between Call the Midwife and The Great British Bake Off. So, babies versus brioche: there will be tears.

Best fake tans

Reality and Constructed Factual

Sadly Towie hasn't made the cut, as the Essex gang win hands down in the slap stakes. Instead, watch out for glowing members of Made in Chelsea and I'm a Celebrity…, two shows vying for this award. Sharp elbows and swivel-eyes will come courtesy of The Young Apprentice.

Most extreme costume drama


Forget Downton – by costume drama, we mean drama about the costumes. So Girls's Lena Dunham in a romper suit and tattoos – the look that launched a thousand feminist think pieces – against Gwendoline Christie (all 6ft of her) in her Brienne of Tarth armour. Clare Danes in her Homeland uniform of taupe trouser suit probably shouldn't bother showing up.

Biggest battle of the egos

Male Performance in a comedy

Obviously, it's the funny blokes who mind the most about all this. Steve Coogan is up for Welcome to the Places of My Life, against Hugh Bonneville in Twenty Twelve. Greg Davies in Cuckoo is, frankly, a long shot, especially up against The Thick of It's Peter Capaldi. Whoever loses may laugh it off, but inside their egos will bruise like black bananas.

Most luvvyish speech

Leading Actor

Sir Derek Jacobi – need we say more? The plummy-voiced Shakespearean is up for his role in Last Tango in Halifax, and is no stranger to a bit of full-bodied intonation. Other heavyweights include Sean Bean for Accused (Tracie's Story) and Toby Jones in The Girl. Slighter in stature, though not talent, is Ben Whishaw, nominated for his Richard II in the BBC's Hollow Crown series.

Wackiest woman

Best female comedy

Miranda's here, of course, but she faces stiff competition. There's Julia Davis in Hunderby and Olivia Colman, who played the oddball PA in Twenty Twelve. But here's the thing: Jessica Hynes is also up for her part in the same show, as PR woman Siobhan Sharpe – and she's insane.

The Baftas are on BBC1 at 8pm