British Academy Television Award
2021 winner Paul Mescal
CountryUnited Kingdom
Presented byBritish Academy of Film and Television Arts
First awarded1955
Currently held byPaul Mescal for Normal People (2021)
Websitehttp://www.bafta.org/

This is a list of the British Academy Television Awards for Best Actor. The Best Actor award was initially given as an "individual honour", without credit to a particular performance, until 1962, when Rupert Davies won for his performance in Maigret. Since 1970, nominees have been announced in addition to the winner. The Actor category was split into Leading Actor and Supporting Actor starting in 2010.

Michael Gambon holds the record of most wins in this category with four, including three consecutive wins, followed by Robbie Coltrane with three, all of them also being consecutive. Benedict Cumberbatch was received the most nominations for this award, with six.

Winners and nominees

Paul Rogers (left) was the first recipient of the award.
Paul Rogers (left) was the first recipient of the award.

1950s

Year Actor
1955
Paul Rogers
1956
Peter Cushing
1957
Michael Gough
1958
Michael Hordern
1959
Donald Pleasence

1960s

Rupert Davies was the first actor to receive this award for an especific work, winning for Maigret.
Rupert Davies was the first actor to receive this award for an especific work, winning for Maigret.
Year Actors Work
1960
Patrick McGoohan
1961
Lee Montague
1962
Rupert Davies Maigret
1963
Harry H. Corbett Steptoe and Son
1964
Alan Badel
1965
Patrick Wymark
1966
Alan Badel The Count Of Monte Cristo; Meeting Point; A Couple of Dry Martinis; Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life; Famous Gossips
Richard Briers Simon and Laura; Marriage Lines; Points of View; Present Laughter - Excerpt; Charley's Aunt; To You At Home Today
Ian Carmichael Simon and Laura; The World of Wooster
Patrick Wymark The Plane Makers; Crime and Punishment; Once a Jolly Swagman; Malatesta; Sherlock Holmes; I Remember the Battle; Four of Hearts – Tilt
1967
Warren Mitchell Till Death Us Do Part
1968
Eric Porter The Forsyte Saga
1969
Roy Dotrice Brief Lives

1970s

Edward Woodward won in 1970 for Callan.
Edward Woodward won in 1970 for Callan.
Keith Michell won the award in 1971.
Keith Michell won the award in 1971.
Edward Fox won the award in 1979 for Edward & Mrs. Simpson.
Edward Fox won the award in 1979 for Edward & Mrs. Simpson.
Year Actors Work
1970
Edward Woodward Callan
John Alderton Please Sir!
Colin Blakely Son of Man, The Way We Live Now
Arthur Lowe Dad's Army
1971
Keith Michell The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Michael Bryant The Roads to Freedom
Anthony Hopkins The Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens, Uncle Vanya, Hearts and Flowers, Danton
Michael Jayston Charles Dickens, Mad Jack, Beethoven
Freddie Jones Germinal/Omnibus: John Clare "I Am..."/Sweeney Todd/Uncle Vanya/Menace: The Straight And Narrow
1972
John Le Mesurier Traitor
Alfred Burke Public Eye
Frank Finlay Casanova
Kenneth Haigh Search for the Nile, Man at the Top
1973
Anthony Hopkins War and Peace
Michael Bryant The Duchess of Malfi, Colditz
Nicol Williamson The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
1974
Frank Finlay The Adventures of Don Quixote; Candide; The Death of Adolf Hitler
Michael Crawford Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
Bernard Hepton The Adventures of Don Quixote, Colditz
Laurence Olivier Long Day's Journey Into Night
1975
Peter Barkworth Crown Matrimonial
Michael Bryant Mr Axelford's Angel
Gordon Jackson Upstairs, Downstairs
Arthur Lowe Microbes and Men, David Copperfield
1976
John Hurt The Naked Civil Servant
Alan Bates Plaintiffs and Defendants, Two Sundays
Tony Britton The Nearly Man
Timothy West Edward the Seventh
1977
Derek Jacobi I, Claudius
James Bolam When the Boat Comes In
Tom Conti The Glittering Prizes
Jack Shepherd Bill Brand, Ready When You Are Mr McGill
1978
Peter Barkworth Professional Foul
James Bolam When the Boat Comes In
Derek Jacobi Philby, Burgess and Maclean
Robert Powell Jesus of Nazareth
1979
Edward Fox Edward and Mrs Simpson
Tom Bell Out
Ian Holm Night School, Flayed, Mirage, The Lost Boys
Bob Hoskins Pennies From Heaven

1980s

Alec Guinness has won twice, for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1980) and Smiley's People (1983).
Alec Guinness has won twice, for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1980) and Smiley's People (1983).
Anthony Andrews won the award for Brideshead Revisited in 1982.
Anthony Andrews won the award for Brideshead Revisited in 1982.
Alan Bates won in 1984.
Alan Bates won in 1984.
Michael Gambon holds the record of most victories in this category with four wins, for The Singing Detective (1987), Wives and Daughters (2000), Longitude (2001) and Perfect Strangers (2002).
Michael Gambon holds the record of most victories in this category with four wins, for The Singing Detective (1987), Wives and Daughters (2000), Longitude (2001) and Perfect Strangers (2002).
Year Actors Work
1980
Alec Guinness Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Robert Hardy Speed King & All Creatures Great and Small
Leo McKern Rumpole of the Bailey
Timothy West Churchill and the Generals; Henry VIII; Crime and Punishment; Timothy West as Beecham
1981
Denholm Elliott Gentle Folk; In Hiding; Blade on the Feather; The Stinker (Tales of the Unexpected)
Trevor Howard The Shillingbury Blowers; Staying On
Leo McKern Rumpole's Return
Sam Waterston Oppenheimer
1982
Anthony Andrews Brideshead Revisited
Robert Hardy Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years; Fothergill
John Gielgud Brideshead Revisited
Nickolas Grace
Jeremy Irons
1983
Alec Guinness Smiley's People
George Cole Minder
Bernard Hill Boys from the Blackstuff
Laurence Olivier A Voyage Round My Father
1984
Alan Bates An Englishman Abroad
Leo McKern Rumpole of the Bailey; Reilly, Ace of Spies
Ronald Pickup Orwell on Jura; Waters of the Moon
Martin Sheen Kennedy
1985
Tim Pigott-Smith The Jewel In The Crown
George Cole Minder
Charles Dance The Jewel In The Crown
Art Malik
1986
Bob Peck Edge of Darkness
Alec Guinness Monsignor Quioxte
Joe Don Baker Edge of Darkness
Ben Kingsley Silas Marner
1987
Michael Gambon The Singing Detective
Colin Blakely Drums Along Balmoral Drive
Denholm Elliott Hotel du Lac
Paul McGann The Monocled Mutineer
Patrick Malahide The Singing Detective
David Threlfall Paradise Postponed
1988
David Jason Porterhouse Blue
Kenneth Branagh Fortunes of War; The Lady's Not for Burning
Ray McAnally A Perfect Spy; Scout
Robbie Coltrane Tutti Frutti
1989
Ray McAnally A Very British Coup
Alan Bennett A Chip in the Sugar
Colin Firth Tumbledown
Ian Holm Game, Set and Match

1990s

Ian Richardson won in 1991 for House of Cards.
Ian Richardson won in 1991 for House of Cards.
Robbie Coltrane won the award three consecutive times, all for his work in Cracker.
Robbie Coltrane won the award three consecutive times, all for his work in Cracker.
Simon Russell Beale won in 1998 for A Dance to the Music of Time.
Tom Courtenay won in 1999 for A Rather English Marriage.
Year Actors Work Character Network
1990
John Thaw Inspector Morse Endeavour Morse ITV
Joss Ackland First and Last Alan Holly BBC One
Alfred Molina The Accountant Lionel Ellerman
John Gielgud Summer's Lease Haverford Downs BBC Two
1991
Ian Richardson House of Cards Francis Urquhart BBC
John Thaw Inspector Morse Endeavour Morse ITV
David Suchet Agatha Christie's Poirot Hercule Poirot
Albert Finney The Green Man Maurice Allington BBC One
1992
Robert Lindsay G.B.H. Michael Murray Channel 4
John Thaw Inspector Morse Endeavour Morse ITV
Tom Bell Prime Suspect Bill Otley
Michael Palin G.B.H. Jim Nelson Channel 4
1993
John Thaw Inspector Morse Endeavour Morse ITV
Alan Bates Unnatural Pursuits Hamish Partt BBC Two
Brian Cox The Lost Language of Cranes Owen Benjamin
Ian Richardson An Ungentlemanly Act Rex Hunt
1994
Robbie Coltrane Cracker Dr. Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald ITV
Michael Kitchen To Play the King The King BBC
Ian Richardson Francis Urquhart
Neil Pearson Between the Lines Tony Clark BBC One
1995
Robbie Coltrane Cracker Dr. Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald ITV
Pete Postlethwaite Martin Chuzzlewit Montague Tigg BBC Two
Paul Scofield Old Martin Chuzzlewitt
Tom Wilkinson Seth Pecksniff
1996
(42nd)
Robbie Coltrane Cracker Dr. Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald ITV
Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice Mr. Darcy BBC One
Benjamin Whitrow Mr. Bennet
Robert Lindsay Jake's Progress Jamie Diadoni Channel 4
Ian Richardson The Final Cut Francis Urquhart BBC
1997
(43rd)
Nigel Hawthorne The Fragile Heart Edgar Pascoe Channel 4
Albert Finney Cold Lazarus / Karaoke Daniel Feeld BBC One / Channel 4
Christopher Eccleston Our Friends in the North Dominic 'Nicky' Hutchinson BBC Two
Peter Vaughan Felix Hutchinson
1998
(44th)
Simon Russell Beale A Dance to the Music of Time Kenneth Widmerpool Channel 4
Derek Jacobi Breaking the Code Alan Turing BBC
Robert Carlyle Hamish Macbeth Hamish Macbeth BBC One
Tom Wilkinson Cold Enough for Snow Hugh Lloyd
1999
(45th)
Tom Courtenay A Rather English Marriage Roy Southgate BBC
Robert Carlyle Looking After Jo Jo John Joe "Jo Jo" McCann BBC Two
Timothy Spall Our Mutual Friend Mr. Venus
Albert Finney A Rather English Marriage Reggie Conyngham-Jervis BBC

2000s

Albert Finney received the award in 2003 for The Gathering Storm, he also won a Primetime Emmy Award for the film.
Albert Finney received the award in 2003 for The Gathering Storm, he also won a Primetime Emmy Award for the film.
Bill Nighy won for State of Play in 2004.
Bill Nighy won for State of Play in 2004.
Mark Rylance has won twice, for The Government Inspector (2006) and Wolf Wall (2016).
Mark Rylance has won twice, for The Government Inspector (2006) and Wolf Wall (2016).
Jim Broadbent won for Longford in 2007, he also received a Golden Globe Award for the role.
Jim Broadbent won for Longford in 2007, he also received a Golden Globe Award for the role.
Year Actors Work Character Network
2000
(46th)
Michael Gambon Wives and Daughters Squire Hamley BBC One
Aiden Gillen Queer as Folk Stuart Alan Jones Channel 4
Pete Postlethwaite Lost for Words Deric Longden ITV
Timothy Spall Shooting the Past Oswald Bates BBC Two
2001
(47th)
Michael Gambon Longitude John Harrison Channel 4
Steven Mackintosh Care Davy Younger BBC One
Pete Postlethwaite The Sins Len Green
Ken Stott The Vice Pat Chappel ITV
2002
(48th)
Michael Gambon Perfect Strangers Raymond Symon BBC Two
Alan Bates Love in a Cold Climate Matthew Alconleigh BBC One
David Suchet The Way We Live Now Augustus Melmotte
Timothy Spall Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise Tommy Rag BBC Two
2003
(49th)
Albert Finney The Gathering Storm Winston Churchill BBC
James Nesbitt Bloody Sunday Ivan Cooper ITV
Kenneth Branagh Conspiracy Reinhard Heydrich BBC Two/HBO
Shackleton Ernest Shackleton Channel 4
2004
(50th)
Bill Nighy State of Play Cameron Lloyd BBC One
Christopher Eccleston The Second Coming Steven Baxter ITV
Jim Broadbent The Young Visiters Alfred Salteena BBC One
David Morrissey State of Play Stephen Collins
2005
(51st)
Rhys Ifans Not Only But Always Peter Cook Channel 4
Benedict Cumberbatch Hawking Stephen Hawking BBC Two
Mark Strong The Long Firm Harry Starks
Michael Sheen Dirty Filthy Love Mark Furness ITV
2006
(52nd)
Mark Rylance The Government Inspector Dr. David Kelly Channel 4
Denis Lawson Bleak House John Jarndyce BBC One
Rufus Sewell ShakespeaRe-Told: The Taming of the Shrew Petruchio
Bernard Hill A Very Social Secretary David Blunkett Channel 4
2007
(53rd)
Jim Broadbent Longford Frank Pakenham Channel 4
John Simm Life on Mars Sam Tyler BBC One
Andy Serkis Longford Ian Brady Channel 4
Michael Sheen Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa! Kenneth Williams BBC Four
2008
(54th)
Andrew Garfield Boy A Jack Burridge / Eric Wilson Channel 4
Tom Hardy Stuart: A Life Backwards Stuart Shorter BBC Two
Matthew MacFadyen Secret Life Charlie Webb Channel 4
Antony Sher Primo Primo Levi BBC Four
2009
(55th)
Stephen Dillane The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall Anthony Hurndall Channel 4
Jason Isaacs The Curse of Steptoe Harry H. Corbett BBC Four
Ken Stott Hancock & Joan Tony Hancock
Ben Whishaw Criminal Justice Ben Coulter BBC One

2010s

Kenneth Branagh won for Wallander in 2010, he also won an International Emmy Award for the role in 2017.
Kenneth Branagh won for Wallander in 2010, he also won an International Emmy Award for the role in 2017.
Dominic West won for Appropriate Adult in 2012.
Dominic West won for Appropriate Adult in 2012.
Sean Bean won in 2018 for Broken.
Sean Bean won in 2018 for Broken.
Benedict Cumberbatch won for Patrick Melrose in 2019; this was his sixth nomination in this category and first win.
Benedict Cumberbatch won for Patrick Melrose in 2019; this was his sixth nomination in this category and first win.
Year Actors Work Character Network
2010
(56th)
Kenneth Branagh Wallander Kurt Wallander BBC One
Brendan Gleeson Into the Storm Winston Churchill BBC
John Hurt An Englishman in New York Quentin Crisp ITV
David Oyelowo Small Island Gilbert Joseph BBC One
2011
(57th)
Daniel Rigby Eric and Ernie Eric Morecambe BBC Two
Jim Broadbent Any Human Heart Logan Mountstuart Channel 4
Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock Sherlock Holmes BBC One
Matt Smith Doctor Who The Doctor
2012
(58th)
Dominic West Appropriate Adult Fred West ITV
Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock Sherlock Holmes BBC One
John Simm Exile Tom Ronstadt
Joseph Gilgun This Is England '88 Richard Woodford Channel 4
2013
(59th)
Ben Whishaw The Hollow Crown Richard II BBC Two
Sean Bean Accused Simon/Tracie BBC One
Derek Jacobi Last Tango in Halifax Alan Buttershaw
Toby Jones The Girl Alfred Hitchcock BBC Two
2014
(60th)
Sean Harris Southcliffe Stephen Morton Channel 4
Jamie Dornan The Fall Paul Spector BBC Two
Luke Newberry In the Flesh Kieren Walker BBC Three
Dominic West Burton & Taylor Richard Burton BBC Four
2015
(61st)
Jason Watkins The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies Christopher Jefferies ITV
Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock Sherlock Holmes BBC One
James Nesbitt The Missing Tony Hughes
Toby Jones Marvellous Neil Baldwin BBC Two
2016
(62nd)
Mark Rylance Wolf Hall Thomas Cromwell BBC Two
Stephen Graham This is England '90 Andrew "Combo" Gascoigne Channel 4
Idris Elba Luther John Luther BBC One
Ben Whishaw London Spy Daniel Holt BBC Two
2017
(63rd)
Adeel Akhtar Murdered by My Father Shahzad Khan BBC Three
Babou Ceesay Damilola, Our Loved Boy Richard Taylor BBC One
Robbie Coltrane National Treasure Paul Finchley Channel 4
Benedict Cumberbatch The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses Richard III BBC Two
2018
(64th)
Sean Bean Broken Michael Kerrigan BBC One
Jack Rowan Born to Kill Sam Woodford Channel 4
Joe Cole Black Mirror Frank Netflix
Tim Pigott-Smith King Charles III King Charles III BBC Two
2019
(65th)
Benedict Cumberbatch Patrick Melrose Patrick Melrose Sky Atlantic
Hugh Grant A Very English Scandal Jeremy Thorpe BBC One
Lucian Msamati Kiri Tobi Akindele Channel 4
Chance Perdomo Killed by My Debt Jerome Rogers BBC Three

2020s

Jared Harris won for Chernobyl in 2020.
Jared Harris won for Chernobyl in 2020.
Year Actors Work Character Network
2020
(66th)
[1]
Jared Harris Chernobyl Valery Legasov Sky Atlantic
Stephen Graham The Virtues Joseph Lowery Channel 4
Takehiro Hira Giri/Haji Kenzo Mori BBC Two
Callum Turner The Capture Shaun Emery BBC One
2021
(67th)
[2]
Paul Mescal Normal People Connell Waldron BBC Three
John Boyega Small Axe: Red, White and Blue Leroy Logan BBC One
Paapa Essiedu I May Destroy You Kwame
Shaun Parkes Small Axe: Mangrove Frank Crichlow
Josh O'Connor The Crown Charles, Prince of Wales Netflix
Waleed Zuaiter Baghdad Central Muhsin al-Khafaji Channel 4

Actors with multiple wins and nominations

Multiple wins

The following people have been awarded the British Academy Television Award for Actor multiple times:

Multiple nominations

The following people have been nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Actor multiple times:

References

  1. ^ Kanter, Jake (2020-07-31). "BAFTA TV Awards Winners: Night Of Surprises, As 'Chernobyl' & 'The End Of The F***ing World' Take Two Prizes Each". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  2. ^ "BAFTA TV 2021: Nominations for the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Television Craft Awards". www.bafta.org. 2021-04-28. Retrieved 2021-04-28.