‘Downton Abbey,’ ‘Call the Midwife,’ ‘Doctor Who’ almost entirely ignored by BAFTA TV Awards

There is something very curious from time to time about the way in which British television operates … especially when it comes to the way in which they choose to hand out awards and nominations.

For one such example, look at “Downton Abbey.” This is a series with Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Awards nominations up the wazoo, but for some reason, it receives lower ratings (unusual for a UK series) and fewer nominations in its home country. This year in the BAFTA TV Awards nominations, it was shut out of almost every major category save for a practically-mandatory nod for Maggie Smith.

What about some other popular British shows? “Mr. Selfridge,” “Doctor Who,” and “Call the Midwife” were all each largely ignored, save for a fan award and a documentary nod for the Matt Smith drama after its 50th anniversary. The irony here is that if you were going to mention a British series these days popular in North America, these are probably the four that you would mention almost right away.

So what is going on across the pond to keep these beloved shows from getting any love? Gold Derby has a nice analysis on the matter, and it basically comes down to a few simple factors:

1. BATFA not having a wide enough net of voters.

2. Different tastes than North Americans; what may be unique in the United States may be cliche there, for example.

3. There being a very limited number of nominations for such series.

You can take a look at the major-category nominations below, and you should see some familiar faces in the list (including the upcoming star of “Fifty Shades of Grey”)


  • JAMIE DORNAN, The Fall, BBC Two
  • SEAN HARRIS, Southcliffe, Channel 4
  • LUKE NEWBERRY, In The Flesh, BBC Three
  • DOMINIC WEST, Burton and Taylor, BBC Four


  • HELENA BONHAM CARTER, Burton and Taylor, BBC Four
  • OLIVIA COLMAN, Broadchurch, ITV
  • KERRIE HAYES, The Mill, Channel 4
  • MAXINE PEAKE, The Village, BBC One


  • DAVID BRADLEY, Broadchurch, ITV
  • JEROME FLYNN, Ripper Street, BBC One
  • NICO MIRALLEGRO, The Village, BBC One
  • RORY KINNEAR, Southcliffe, Channel 4


  • SHIRLEY HENDERSON, Southcliffe, Channel 4
  • SARAH LANCASHIRE, Last Tango in Halifax, BBC One
  • CLAIRE RUSHBROOK, My Mad Fat Diary, E4
  • NICOLA WALKER, Last Tango in Halifax, BBC One


  • RICHARD AYOADE, The IT Crowd, Channel 4
  • MATHEW BAYNTON, The Wrong Mans, BBC Two
  • JAMES CORDEN, The Wrong Mans, BBC Two
  • CHRIS O’DOWD, The IT Crowd, Channel 4


  • AN ADVENTURE IN SPACE AND TIME, Mark Gatiss, Matt Strevens, Terry McDonough, Caroline Skinner, BBC Wales/BBC America/BBC Two
  • BLACK MIRROR: BE RIGHT BACK, Barney Reisz, Charlie Brooker, Owen Harris, Zeppotron/Channel 4
  • COMPLICIT, Guy Hibbert, Niall MacCormick, Kevin Toolis, Jolyon Symonds, Many River Films/Channel 4
  • THE WIPERS TIMES, David Parfitt, Andy De Emmony, Ian Hislop, Nick Newman, Trademark
  • Films/BBC Two


  • THE FALL, Allan Cubitt, Jakob Verbruggen, Julian Stevens, Gub Neil, Fables Lts/Artists
  • Studio/BBC Two
  • THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, Production Team, World Productions/BBC One
  • IN THE FLESH, Hilary Martin, Ann Harrison-Baxter, Dominic Mitchell, Jonny Campbell, BBC
  • Drama Production Salford/BBC America/BBC Three
  • SOUTHCLIFFE, Tony Grisoni, Sean Durkin, Peter Carlton, Derrin Schlesinger, Warp Films/Channel 4


  • BROADCHURCH, Production Team, Kudos and Imaginary Friends (a co-production)/ITV
  • MY MAD FAT DIARY, Tom Bidwell, Greg Brennan, Roanna Benn, Jude Liknaitzky, Tiger Aspect Productions/E4
  • TOP OF THE LAKE, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Jane Campion, Philippa Campbell, See-Saw Films/BBC Two
  • THE VILLAGE, Production Team, Company Pictures/BBC One

What do you think about these nods, and do you feel like many of your British favorites were snubbed? Share your thoughts below.

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