- Film And TV
- 15 May 23
'In the words of my beloved Sister Michael, "it's time they started to wise up."'
The Cork actress Siobhan McSweeney won the first BAFTA TV Award for best female performance in a comedy programme, after portraying the role of the now-legendary Sister Michael.
The 43-year-old star won a huge audience for her take as the principal of the show’s Our Lady Immaculate College in the Channel 4 programme Derry Girls.
Sharing a category with Daisy May Cooper (Am I Being Unreasonable), Diane Morgan (Cunk on Earth), Lucy Beaumont (Meet the Richardsons), Natasia Demetriou (Ellie & Natasia), Taj Atwal (Hullraisers), it was anyone's game, but Siobhan McSweeney scooped the top prize.
“So I’ve been warned not to do a political statement, so as my mother laid dying in Cork, one of the very last things she said to me was would I not consider retraining as a teacher," McSweeney told the audience in her acceptance speech. "If she could see me now, getting a BAFTA for playing a teacher. Joke’s on you.”
Siobhán also thanked the people of Cork “who supported me despite the fact I’m not Cillian Murphy,” adding “it must be very difficult for you”.
“To the people in Derry, thank you taking me into your hearts and your living rooms.
“I am daily impressed with how you encompass the spirit of compromise and resilience despite the indignities, ignorance and stupidity of your so-called leaders (in) Dublin, Stormont and Westminster.
She also thanked Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee “for not listening to me when I said I could play all the girls parts” and she also thanked Channel 4, adding “you have my devotion”.
Derry Girls was named best scripted comedy programme following its conclusion last year. "What an amazing end to our Derry Girls journey," said its writer Lisa McGee.
McGee thanked Channel 4, asking it to "please never change" and thanking "our first home, Derry".
She recalled how the show had been a hard sell in the early days because it "didn't have runaway hit written all over it, but what we found is in the specific there is always the universal".
Set during the Troubles, the show was praised for offering a new perspective on the period of the IRA and loyalist ceasefires through the eyes of a group of young girls.
Meanwhile, Sharon Horgan, whose Apple TV series Bad Sisters won best drama, used part of her acceptance speech to say she stands in "solidarity" with the current writers' strike taking place in the US.
She made sure to note that it had also been a “bit of a year for the Irish and women of a certain age and I’m in that Venn diagram, right in the middle.”
Sharon Horgan said the show was a "really difficult shoot" but praised the "brilliant" cast during her speech:
"It all begins and ends with the writers so we are in solidarity with our WGA brothers and sisters," she said.
Bad Sisters' Anne-Marie Duff also won best supporting actress at the annual ceremony in London. Duff said she was "completely shocked" and thanked the cast and production team.
She added that TV is a "political arena" and said she had a message to people at home: "If someone is in their life who is bullying them who is telling them that who they are is wrong, that what they are isn't enough...I am telling you now you are everything."
Elsewhere, Kate Winslet was named best leading actress for her performance in I Am Ruth, which also starred her real-life daughter Mia Threapleton.
The duo also took to the stage to accept the award for best single drama, with Threapleton tearing up. “We did this together kiddo,” Winslet said as she accepted the leading actress award, adding: “There were days when it was agony for [Threapleton] to dig as deeply as she did and it took my breath away.”
While Ben Whishaw’s series This Is Going to Hurt lost out to Nicôle Lecky’s Mood in the best mini-series category, he went on stage to accept an award for best leading actor for the show, beating out Cillian Murphy and Gary Oldman.
Couldn’t be more thrilled for Ben, the nicest man in the industry, for his Best Actor win. And congrats to the whole This is Going to Hurt team for the overall haul of four BAFTAs. An incredible reward for everyone’s hard work. I’m very hungover. https://t.co/1pPjUmtR1P
— Adam Kay (@amateuradam) May 15, 2023
Adeel Akhtar picked up the best supporting actor for his turn in Sherwood while, in the international category, Netflix’s Dahmer won for best series.
- Film And TV
- 26 Jun 23