Kate Winslet has won the coveted Leading Actress gong at the BAFTA TV Awards for her performance in Channel 4’s I Am Ruth. The Mare of Easttown star has won three BAFTA Film Awards during a stellar career but this is her first TV win.
Winslet beat off competition in a crowded category from I Hate Suzie Too’s Billie Piper, Imelda Staunton’s Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, Maxine Peake (Anne), Vicky McClure (Without Sin) and Happy Valley lead Sarah Lancashire.
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Winslet was an Oscar winner for The Reader in 2008, which also bagged her a BAFTA Film award for Best Actress. She also took home BAFTA Film wins for Sense and Sensibility and Steve Jobs.
Airing as the latest in the Channel 4 I Am… strand, Winslet’s heart-wrenching Channel 4 drama, which also won Best Single Drama at tonight’s awards, explored a relationship between a mother and teenage daughter experiencing severe mental health issues in the social media age.
Winslet used her acceptance speech to call for “the people in power to criminalize harmful content.”
“We don’t want it and we want our children back,” she said. “We don’t want to lie awake terrified for our children’s mental health. To any young people who are listening, please ask for help, there is no shame in admitting you need support, just ask for it.”
Winslet’s real-life daughter Mia Threapleton played her daughter in I Am Ruth and Winslet said she wished she could “cut the award in half and give it to her.”
“We did this together, kiddo,” she added. “There were days when it was agony for [Mia] to dig as deeply as she did into this frightening, emotional territory.”
Winslet also paid tribute to I Am Ruth creator Dominic Savage for creating “the space to tell women’s stories.” His other I Am… shows have featured the likes of Letitia Wright, Suranne Jones and Gemma Chan.
“This means a great deal as it means small British TV dramas can still be weighty,” added Winslet.
Last year’s winner was Jodie Comer for her role in heart-wrenching Channel 4 Covid-19 drama Help.
The BAFTA TV Awards took place through the late afternoon of Sunday 14 May at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Hosted by Romesh Ranganathan and Rob Beckett, they are featuring the great and the good of the UK TV industry.
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