Well, if BAFTA voters can't get it right, at least the general public realizes that the hit British TV show "Life on Mars" deserves an award. It continued its recent string of snubs at today's BAFTA TV awards by losing best drama series to "The Street" and star John Simm to Jim Broadbent ("Longford") in the actors' race, but it won — hallelujah! — the Audience Award.
The latter isn't bestowed by BAFTA members. It's decided by public vote on line after nominees were determined by a jury of TV pros headed by Ash Atallav, producer of "The Office" (the original British version, you dummy, not the American imitation — the Brits invented everything, remember, including good manners, "All in the Family," fish sticks and "Queer as Folk").
Unfortunately, the jury didn't feel "The Street" was worthy of nomination for the Audience Award, so "Life on Mars" didn't get to crush it in revenge.
The biggest jawdropper of all was "Casualty" finally beating "EastEnders" and "Coronation Street" in the race for best continuing drama. It was the first victory in the BBC hospital show's long--running history and it flabbergasted BAFTA-watchers. "EastEnders" won last year. "Coronation Street" claimed it the three previous years.
"After 21 years, to see them off is fantastic!" cheered its producer.
It was a bit of a surprise to see "Longford" lose best single drama to anything, but victor turned out to be "Housewife 49," based upon the diary of a Lancashire housewife during the blitz. Star Victoria Wood won best actress for her first dramatic role in more than a decade. She beat formidable competitors: Anne-Marie Duff in "The Virgin Queen," Samantha Morton in "Longford" and Ruth Wilson in "Jane Eyre."
After the show, there was no laughing over the two big comedy winners — Jonathan Ross and Ricky Gervais. In fact, there was much grumbling over their failure to show up to accept their prizes in person.
See the full list of winners, CLICK HERE!
Top photo: Comedian Victoria Wood poses with her awards for "Housewife 49" at the British Academy Television Awards at the London Palladium. Bottom photo: cast shot of "Casualty." (Getty/ BBC)