LONDON – Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow’s New York comedy-drama Girls will hope to add to its assorted plaudits with a win in the international program category at this year's Arqiva British Academy Television Awards, dished out by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).
But to add an Arqiva British Academy TV trophy to its Royal Television Society award won in March and its Golden Globe win, Girls will have to see off strong competition from the CIA thriller Homeland, fantasy epic Games of Thrones and Danish/Swedish crime drama The Bridge.
This year's TV awards reflect a tumultuous and event-driven year for the small screen in the U.K.
Coverage of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics dominates this year’s sport and live event category. Coverage of the BBC's so-called Super Saturday -- when the U.K. won three gold medals in the space of an hour -- will face off against the Danny Boyle-directed opening ceremony, the Paralympic Games and the Wimbledon 2012 Men’s Final.
And the Jimmy Savile scandal that rocked the BBC to its core features in the nominations for current affairs, with the nomination of ITV’s The Other Side of Jimmy Savile (Exposure).
A Panorama Special Britain’s Hidden Housing Crisis, Al Jazeera’s investigation into What Killed Arafat? and The Shame of the Catholic Church from BBC Two’s This World strand complete the current affairs nominations.
Programs The Girl and Last Tango in Halifax have four nominations apiece, and compete with each other in three performance categories.
Leading actor Toby Jones, leading actress Sienna Miller and supporting actress Imelda Staunton are all nominated for their turns in The Girl.
They take on leading actor Derek Jacobi, leading actress Anne Reid and supporting actress Sarah Lancashire from Last Tango in Halifax.
Ben Whishaw is nominated for leading actor for his performance as Richard II in the Hollow Crown series of adaptations of Shakespeare’s history plays, while Sean Bean rounds out the quartet for his turn in The Accused (Tracie's Story).
Miller and Reid compete with Rebecca Hall for her outing in Parade's End and Sheridan Smith for her portrayal as the eponymous Mrs Biggs in the leading actress category.
Actress Olivia Colman is nominated in two categories with a supporting actress nomination for her performance as Sue in another installment of The Accused (Mo’s Story) and in the female comedy performance category for the London Olympics satire Twenty Twelve.
Colman, Staunton and Lancashire will have to beat Anastasia Hille (The Fear) to the podium in the best supporting actress category.
And should Colman win the best female comedy turn, she'll have to overcome fellow Twenty Twelve cast member Jessica Hynes, Julia Davies (Hunderby) and Miranda Hart (Miranda).
Peter Capaldi is also nominated twice in the supporting actor category for The Hour and in male performance in a comedy program for The Thick of It, which is also nominated for situation comedy.
Capaldi competes with Stephen Graham (Accused -- Tracie's Story), Harry Lloyd (The Fear) and Simon Russell Beale (Henry IV Part 2 -- The Hollow Crown) in the supporting actor category.
Crunching the numbers, the BBC's flagship channel BBC One emerges with 22 nominations, beaten only by the BBC 2 with 26. Commercial broadcaster ITV garners 10 nominations, behind a healthy 16 for Channel 4.
Sky Atlantic, pay-TV satellite operator BSkyB's flagship channel for U.S. programming picks up six nominations for its programming while Sky One scores one.
BBC Three and BBC Four pick up three apiece, while E4, Channel 4's youth channel, secures a pair of nominations.
Al Jazeera and Watch both join Sky One with one.
The awards will be dished out May 12 at London’s Royal Festival Hall, hosted by Graham Norton, himself nominated in the entertainment performance category for his late night BBC one chat show The Graham Norton Show.
The separate British Academy Television Craft Awards take place two weeks earlier on April 28.
Combining the nominations from the Television and Television Craft Awards, The Girl leads the pack with a total of eight nominations.
Parade’s End comes a close second with seven nominations; Accused has six nominations; and The Hour, Last Tango in Halifax, Ripper Street and Twenty Twelve have five nominations each.