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Royal Television Society: Michaela Coel sweeps three wins for I May Destroy You and Shaun Parkes wins best Actor

Royal Television Society: Michaela Coel sweeps three wins for I May Destroy You and Shaun Parkes wins best Actor

The Royal Television Society (RTS), Britain’s leading forum for television and related media, has announced the winners for its RTS Programme Awards 2021, in partnership with Audio Network. Hosted by renowned British television and radio presenter Jonathan Ross, the prestigious awards were presented, and the winners and nominees celebrated, earlier this evening on the RTS website. Main image: Royal Television Society 

In addition to the 29 competitive categories, three further awards were presented this evening on behalf of the judges. The ‘Judges’ Award’ was presented to Anne Mensah, Vice President, Original Series at Netflix, for her talent and success throughout her career, and her unwavering commitment to reflecting society’s diversity on screen and actively championing diverse production talent to bring new stories and voices to television. For 2021, the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ was awarded to celebrated screenwriter Russell T Davies OBE, whose work over the last 20 years was described by the judges as taking “television drama to places it’s never been before, explored themes never explored before, and – more than anything – told stories never allowed before.” Finally, the ‘Special Award’ went to trade association PACT, for its incredible contribution and support to the UK television industry throughout 2020.  

Jonathan Ross hosting RTS Award: Image credit: RTS/Richard Kendal.

Across the competitive categories, the BBC took home 14 wins, three of which were for Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You, which won in all three categories nominated. The

‘Breakthrough Award’ was presented to Mae Martin for Channel 4 and Netflix’s Feel Good.  Mae Martin also took home the ‘Writer – Comedy’ award alongside co-writer Joe Hampson. Also in comedy, The Ranganation won the inaugural ‘Comedy Entertainment’ award, and hit series The Young Offenders garnered the win for ‘Scripted Comedy’. 

BBC One’s In My Skin took home the coveted ‘Drama Series’ award, and ITV saw success including ‘Daytime Programme’ for Loose Women and ‘Entertainment’ for The Masked Singer. Sky excelled in the sporting categories, with Michael Holding winning for

‘Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit’ and ‘Sports Programme’ being awarded to Sky Sports’ England v West Indies 1st Test – Black Lives Matter, which the judges described as “a remarkable piece of television.”

Chair of the Awards, Kenton Allen, said: “The incredible range of programming we have seen across all genres and categories in this uniquely challenging year has been exceptional and a terrific representation of the thriving and constantly innovating television industry we have in the UK. Although we were unable to celebrate as usual in person, we thank all of you for the continued support and send huge congratulations to the very well-deserved winners and nominees. We look forward to re-uniting, in the flesh and dressed to impress, for the RTS Awards 2022. It will be one hell of a reunion!”

Please see below the full list of winners and nominees: 

Actor (Female)

WINNER – Michaela Coel – I May Destroy You (Various Artists/FALKNA for BBC One and HBO)

The judges described the winning performance as “nothing short of electrifying…somehow she brought the audience into her head, heart and skin”.


  • Daisy Edgar-Jones – Normal People (Element Pictures for BBC Three)
  • Glenda Jackson – Elizabeth is Missing (STV Studios for BBC One)

Actor (Male)

WINNER – Shaun Parkes – Small Axe (Turbine Studios and Lammas Park for BBC One)

The judges called the winning actor’s work in this programme “pitch perfect – so measured, so carefully crafted, so absolutely right.”


  • Lennie James – Save Me Too (World Productions for Sky Atlantic)
  • Paul Mescal – Normal People (Element Pictures for BBC Three)

The full list of the RTS Programme Awards 2021 winners is as follows:

Entertainment Performance

Big Narstie and Mo Gilligan – ‘The Big Narstie Show’


‘The Masked Singer’

Daytime Programme

‘Loose Women’

Children’s Programme

‘IRL with Team Charlene’


‘Grayson’s Art Club’

Live Event

‘The Third Day: Autumn’


Joe Lycett – ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’

Sports Presenter, Commentator, or Pundit

Michael Holding – England v West Indies

Sports Programme

England v West Indies 1st Test – Black Lives Matter

Formatted Popular Factual

‘Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back’

Single Documentary

‘Anton Ferdinand: Football, Racism & Me’

Documentary Series

‘Once Upon a Time in Iraq’


‘Damilola: The Boy Next Door’

Science & Natural History

‘The Surgeon’s Cut’

Breakthrough Award

Mae Martin – ‘Feel Good’

Comedy Entertainment

‘The Ranganation’

Scripted Comedy

‘The Young Offenders’

Comedy Performance – Female

Gbemisola Ikumelo – ‘Famalam’

Comedy Performance – Male

See Also

Youssef Kerkour – ‘Home’

Writer – Comedy

Mae Martin and Joe Hampson – ‘Feel Good’

Writer – Drama

Michaela Coel – ‘I May Destroy You’

Soap and Continuing Drama


Single Drama

‘Elizabeth Is Missing’

Drama Series

‘In My Skin’


‘I May Destroy You’

Actor – Male

Shaun Parkes – ‘Small Axe’

Actor – Female

Michaela Coel – ‘I May Destroy You’

Special Award


Judges’ Award

Anne Mensah

RTS Channel of the Year


Outstanding Achievement Award

Russell T. Davies

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