The male leads cast as Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes will battle for official recognition at this year's television Bafta awards, as the judge's predilection for sci-fi drama shaped the announcement of nominations yesterday.
Matt Smith, 28, becomes the first Doctor Who star to be nominated for the Leading Actor award, since replacing David Tennant in 2009 as the Tenth Doctor. He will compete against Benedict Cumberbatch, who, at 34, is hoping to win the gong after three thwarted attempts. Before Sherlock Holmes, he was nominated for previous roles in Small Island and the Stephen Hawking-based drama Hawking.
Other nominations in the category include twice-Bafta winner Jim Broadbent, who plays Logan Mountstuart in Any Human Heart, and Daniel Rigby for his role as Eric Morecambe in Eric and Ernie – which also picked up a nomination for best Single Drama.
EastEnders star Jessie Wallace is nominated for best Supporting Actress for her role as Pat Phoenix in BBC drama The Road to Coronation Street. Her co-star Lynda Baron, famous for her role as Nurse Gladys Emmanuel in Open All Hours, is also nominated for the award for her portrayal of battleaxe Violet Carson.
But it was E4's quirky sci-fi drama Misfits that set out its stall for success, earning four nominations including best Drama Series as well as nods for Robert Sheehan, who has completed his final series in the show, and Lauren Socha. Other best Drama Series nominees are Sherlock, Being Human, and Downton Abbey.
Steve Coogan received his first Bafta nomination since 2003's for I'm Alan Partridge for BBC2's The Trip. Miranda Hart was also nominated in the comedy performance category for BBC2's Miranda.
US ad agency period drama Mad Men, which very nearly had its plug pulled during a dispute between the broadcaster and creator last month, is nominated for the third time for best international programme.
It will compete against BBC4's hit Danish import The Killing, E4's Glee and Sky Atlantic's Martin Scorsese-produced prohibition drama, Boardwalk Empire.
In the news category, Channel 4's reporting on the rescue of the trapped Chilean miners last October was nominated alongside ITV's coverage of the Cumbria murders and BBC1's 10pm news bulletin on the last hours of New Labour's handover of power. Sky News's reporting on the Egypt crisis was also nominated.
The awards will take place on Sunday 22 May at London's Grosvenor House. The event's host, Graham Norton, is also a nominee – picking up a nomination for Entertainment Performance.
His chat show is also nominated for Entertainment Programme alongside The X Factor, Have I Got News for You and The Cube.
Jim Broadbent – Any Human Heart
Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock
Daniel Rigby – Eric and Ernie
Matt Smith – Doctor Who
Anna Maxwell Martin – South Riding
Vicky McClure – This Is England '86
Nathalie Press – Five Daughters
Juliet Stevenson – Accused
Rob Brydon – The Rob Brydon Show
Stephen Fry – QI
Harry Hill – Harry Hill's TV Burp
Graham Norton – The Graham Norton Show
Eric and Ernie
I Am Slave
The Road to Coronation Street
The Special Relationship