Oscar winner Mark Rylance has been named best actor for his role in Wolf Hall at the 42nd Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG) awards.

The 56-year-old beat off stiff competition from Poldark’s Aidan Turner, Timothy Spall for Enfield Haunting and London Spy’s Ben Whishaw.

Lauded for his portrayal of Thomas Cromwell, Kent-born Mark was the first artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe in London from 1995 to 2005.


Mark Rylance after winning the Oscar for best supporting actor

Mark Rylance after winning the Oscar for best supporting actor (Ian West/PA)

He caused an upset at the Academy Awards by beating Creed’s Sylvester Stallone to the best supporting actor Oscar for Bridge Of Spies.

The acclaimed BBC Two production, which merged Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, also won the award for best drama series.

It defeated BBC One’s Doctor Foster, Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude and Channel 4′s Humans.

Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney in Catastrophe

Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney in Catastrophe (Channel 4)

The BPG awards, given only for work commissioned in the UK and voted for by journalists who write about TV and radio, also saw Channel 4 comedy Catastrophe walk away with two honours.

The much-admired series was voted best comedy and its writers Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan won the BPG award for best writers.

Best entertainment or factual entertainment show went to BBC One’s The Great British Bake Off.

Great British Bake Off judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry

Great British Bake Off judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry (Mark Bourdillon/BBC)

The baking competition with Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins was the most watched programme of 2015.

Best actress went to Suranne Jones for her performance as Gemma Foster in Doctor Foster. The Scott & Bailey star fought off Humans lead Gemma Chan, Hunderby’s Julia Davis, Wolf Hall’s Claire Foy and Nicola Walker from River to take the prize.

The breakthrough award, for someone who attained a new level of success in 2015, went to Turner for his roles in BBC One dramas And Then There Were None and Poldark.

Poldark star Aidan Turner

Poldark star Aidan Turner (BBC)

Best single drama was won by BBC One’s adaptation of JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls.

This year, the BPGs recognised the growing importance of programmes commissioned first for online rather than on a broadcast channel.

Peter Kay’s Car Share, which was shown first on BBC iPlayer, is the streaming platform’s most successful comedy series to premiere as a box-set to date.

Episode one racked up over 1 million requests alone.

When it premiered on BBC One, it drew an impressive overnight average of 6.8 million viewers to add to its achievement of breaking records on iPlayer.

Channel 4 won both BPG documentary awards. My Son The Jihadi was voted best single documentary and The Murder Detectives won the award for best documentary series.

The annual BPG award for innovation went to Russell T Davies for the multi-platform series: Cucumber, Banana And Tofu. It was broadcast across Channel 4, E4 and on demand site All 4.

Radio 4′s The Reunion, chaired by Sue MacGregor, was named radio programme of the year for a wide range of subjects.

This included Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, Peter Brooke’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Wallace And Gromit creative team, to name a few.

Comedy writer and performer John Finnemore was named radio broadcaster of the year for John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme. The judges also commended his writing and in particular, the series John Finnemore’s Double Acts.

Spitting Image puppet of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Spitting Image puppet of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher (Lewis Whyld/PA)

The BPG awards, sponsored by Sky’s streaming service NOW TV and held at London’s Theatre Royal on Friday, also presented The Harvey Lee award for an outstanding contribution to broadcasting to John Lloyd.

The 64-year-old comedy writer, producer and presenter has created many of Britain’s most enduring comedy series on radio and television, including The News Quiz, To The Manor Born, Not The Nine O’Clock News, Blackadder, Spitting Image and QI.