Actor - Male: Robbie Coltrane
Title: National Treasure
Production Company: The Forge
Broadcaster: Channel 4
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“Outstanding, the very definition of creative risk-taking.”
Lifetime Achievement: Julie Walters
“The recipient is one of the truly great stars of the stage and big screen, but it’s for her outstanding work in a glittering career on television that we honour her tonight.
Her journey to television began in 1970 with a chance meeting at Manchester Polytechnic with the woman who was to become her creative soul mate, Victoria Wood. Nine years later she appeared in the television adaptation of Wood’s play Talent, which led to the two of them starring in their own sketch comedy series. Many further years of incredible collaboration and peerless comedy followed.
Her work alongside Victoria Wood in Victoria Wood – As Seen on TV continues to be rightly regarded as some of the best comedy ever on British television. Has a woman carrying two bowls of soups across a room ever been funnier? The series also included, of course, the recurring spoof serial Acorn Antiques, and Mrs Overall was quickly established as one of the great comic creations of our times.
But this performer’s celebrated comedy skills mask her extraordinary dramatic range. Her work on television has included BBC Shakespeare; appearing in two series of Alan Bennett’s monologues Talking Heads; playing the anti-permissive society campaigner Mary Whitehouse; an Emmy Award-winning depiction of the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mo Mowlam; and a truly unforgettable performance as the reforming headteacher Marie Stubbs in the drama Ahead of the Class in 2005.
Perhaps the first time everyone sat up and really took notice came in 1982 when she played Angie Todd in Alan Bleasdale’s ground-breaking series about Liverpool in the grip of the Thatcher recession, Boys from the Blackstuff. It was a performance that’s seared into the memory of everyone who saw it. One scene in particular caught the mood of the times – a moment of fightback amid frustration, when everything looked desperate. It’s significant moment too, perhaps, because it is based upon the two elements this actor brings to all her dramatic work – it is profoundly touching, and it feels true.
Look at any of the work stretching back over three decades, and those characteristics are there in every piece: Pat and Margaret, Murder, G.B.H, A Short Stay in Switzerland, The Wife of Bath, Indian Summers and National Treasure.
Hers is, by any measure, a body of work on television of genuinely exceptional quality.”