British Academy Television Award for Best Actress

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British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
Kate Winslet at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival (cropped).jpg
2023 Recipient: Kate Winslet
CountryUnited Kingdom
Presented byBritish Academy of Film and Television Arts
First awarded1954 (presented 1955)
Currently held byKate Winslet for I Am... Ruth (2022)
WebsiteOfficial website

This is a list of the British Academy Television Awards for Best Actress. The British Academy Television Awards began in 1955. The Best Actress award was initially given as an "individual honour", without credit to a particular performance, until 1969, when Wendy Craig won for her performance in Not in Front of the Children. Since 1970, nominees have been announced in addition to the winner, and are listed, with the winner highlighted in blue.

Julie Walters holds the record of most wins in this category with four, followed by Judi Dench, Thora Hird and Helen Mirren, with three wins each.

The nominations tally includes Helen Mirren and Francesca Annis having received 6 and Judi Dench and Julie Walters having received 7. The award is currently held by Kate Winslet having won in 2023 for I Am... Ruth.

The Actress category was split into Leading Actress and Supporting Actress, starting in 2010.

Winners and nominees[edit]

Two-time winner, Gwen Watford.


Year Actress
Googie Withers
Virginia McKenna
Rosalie Crutchley
Not awarded
Gwen Watford
Judi Dench has received this award three times, for Talking to a Stranger (1968), Going Gently / A Fine Romance / The Cherry Orchard (all three in 1982) and The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2001).


Year Actress Work(s)
Catherine Lacey
Billie Whitelaw
Ruth Dunning
Brenda Bruce
Vivien Merchant
Katharine Blake
Gwen Watford The Cesar Birotteau/Madam/End Of Term/Take Care Of Madam/The Rules Of The Game
Peggy Ashcroft The Wars of the Roses/Rosmersholm
June Barry Four of Hearts - Tilt/Twice Upon a Time/Progress to the Park/No Trams to Lime Street
Vivien Merchant The Tea Party
Moira Redmond Anatol/The Late Edwina Black/Challenge/R-3 Series/A Tall Stalwart Lancer
Vanessa Redgrave
Judi Dench Talking to a Stranger
Wendy Craig Not in Front of the Children


Year Actress Work(s) Character(s)
Margaret Tyzack The First Churchills Anne, Queen of Great Britain
Sheila Allen The Confessions of Marian Evans Marian Evans
Eileen Atkins The Letter / The Heiress (Play of the Month) / Double Bill (The Wednesday Play) Leslie Crosbie / Catherine Sloper / Woman
Gwen Watford A Walk Through the Forest Dorrie Clarke
Annette Crosbie The Six Wives of Henry VIII Catherine of Aragon
Glenda Jackson Howards End Margaret Schlegel
Gemma Jones The Lie / The Spoils of Poynton Anna Firth / Fleda Vetch
Rosemary Leach Germinal / The Roads to Freedom Maheude / Marcelle
Dorothy Tutin The Six Wives of Henry VIII / Flotsam and Jetsam Anne Boleyn / Mrs. Grange
Patricia Hayes Edna, the Inebriate Woman Edna
Glenda Jackson Elizabeth R Elizabeth I of England
Gemma Jones The Man in the Side Car / The Cherry Orchard Edith / Varya
Rosemary Leach The Mosedale Horseshoe / Cider with Rosie Helen / Mother
Billie Whitelaw The Sextet (8 plays) Various Characters
Pauline Collins Upstairs Downstairs / "Crippled Bloom" (Country Matters) Sarah Moffat / Ruby
Anne Stallybrass The Onedin Line / The Strauss Family Anne Onedin / Anna Strauss
Celia Johnson Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont Mrs. Palfrey
Francesca Annis A Pin to See the Peepshow Julia Almond
Rosemary Leach The Adventures of Don Quioxte (Play of the Month) Dulcinea / Aldonza
Billie Whitelaw "The Withered Arm" (Wessex Tales) Rhoda
Lee Remick Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill Jennie
Judy Cornwell Cakes and Ale Rosie Gann
Janet Suzman Florence Nightingale / Hedda Gabler (Play for Today) / Antony and Cleopatra / "Athol Fugard" (2nd House) Miss Nightingale / Hedda Gabler / Cleopatra / Actress in Hello and Goodbye
Dorothy Tutin South Riding Sarah Burton
Annette Crosbie Edward the Seventh Queen Victoria
Francesca Annis Madame Bovary Emma Bovary
Virginia McKenna Cheap in August Mary Watson
Helen Ryan Edward the Seventh Queen Alexandra
Siân Phillips How Green Was My Valley / I, Claudius Beth Morgan / Livia
Julie Covington Rock Follies Devonia "Dee" Rhoades
Penelope Keith Private Lives Amanda Prynne
Gemma Jones The Duchess of Duke Street Louisa Trotter
Penelope Keith The Norman Conquests Annie
Geraldine James Dummy Sandra X
Jane Lapotaire Marie Curie / The Return Marie Curie / Bridget Ritsin
Susan Littler Spend, Spend, Spend Vivian Nicholson
Francesca Annis Lillie Lillie Langtry
Peggy Ashcroft Edward and Mrs. Simpson / Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures Queen Mary / Lady G
Cheryl Campbell Pennies from Heaven Eileen
Cynthia Harris Edward and Mrs. Simpson Wallis Simpson
Peggy Ashcroft has won this award twice, for Cream in My Coffee and Caught on a Train (both in 1981) and The Jewel in the Crown (1985).
Beryl Reid won in 1983 for Smiley's People.
Claire Bloom won for Shadowlands in 1986.


Year Actress Work(s) Character(s)
Cheryl Campbell Testament of Youth / Malice Aforethought / The Duke of Wellington Vera Brittain / Madeleine Cranmere / The Duchess of Wellington
Judi Dench On Giant's Shoulders Hazel Wiles
Kate Nelligan Measure for Measure Isabella
Beryl Reid Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Connie Sachs
Peggy Ashcroft Cream in My Coffee / Caught on a Train Jean Wilsher / Frau Messner
Celia Johnson Staying On Lucy Smalley
Kate Nelligan Dreams of Leaving / Thérèse Raquin / Forgive Our Foolish Ways Caroline / Thérèse Raquin / Vivien Lanyon
Pamela Stephenson Not the Nine O'Clock News Various Roles
Judi Dench Going Gently / A Fine Romance / The Cherry Orchard Sister Scarli / Laura Dalton / Madame Ranevskaya
Claire Bloom Brideshead Revisited Lady Marchmain
Celia Johnson The Potting Shed Mrs. Callifer
Diana Quick Brideshead Revisited Julia Flyte
Beryl Reid Smiley's People Connie Sachs
Jane Asher A Voyage Round My Father / Love Is Old, Love Is New Elizabeth / Katha
Maureen Lipman Outside Edge / Rolling Home Maggie / Val
Julie Walters Boys from the Blackstuff / Say Something Happened Angie Todd / June Potter
Coral Browne An Englishman Abroad Herself
Blair Brown Kennedy Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Judi Dench Saigon: Year of the Cat Barbara Dean
Maggie Smith Mrs. Silly Mrs. Silly
Peggy Ashcroft The Jewel in the Crown Barbara Batchelor
Geraldine James The Jewel in the Crown Sarah Layton
Judy Parfitt Mildred Layton
Susan Wooldridge Daphne Manners
Claire Bloom Shadowlands Joy Gersham
Frances de la Tour Duet for One Stephanie Anderson
Mary Steenburgen Tender Is the Night Nicole Warren Diver
Joanne Whalley Edge of Darkness Emma Craven
Anna Massey Hotel du Lac Edith Hope
Joan Hickson Miss Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage Miss Marple
Wendy Hiller All Passion Spent Lady Slane
Patricia Hodge Hotel du Lac Monica
Alison Steadman The Singing Detective Mrs. Marlow
Julie T. Wallace The Life and Loves of a She-Devil Ruth
Emma Thompson Fortunes of War / Tutti Frutti Harriet Pringle / Suzi Kettles
Jean Alexander Coronation Street Hilda Ogden
Joan Hickson Miss Marple: Nemesis Miss Marple
Miranda Richardson After Pilkington Penny "Patch" Newhouse
Thora Hird Talking Heads: A Cream Cracker Under The Settee Doris
Jane Lapotaire Blind Justice Katherine Hughes
Patricia Routledge Talking Heads: A Lady of Letters Irene Ruddock
Maggie Smith Talking Heads: Bed Among the Lentils Susan
Diana Rigg won in 1990 for Mother Love.
Helen Mirren has won three consecutive times, all for the three first seasons of Prime Suspect in 1992, 1993 and 1994.
Thora Hird has won three times, for A Cream Cracker under the Settee (1989) and Waiting for the Telegram (1999), both from the series Talking Heads, and Lost for Words (2000).


Year Actors Work Character Network
Diana Rigg Mother Love Helena Vesey BBC One
Peggy Ashcroft She's Been Away Lillian Huckle BBC One
Judi Dench Behaving Badly Bridget Mayor Channel 4
Gwen Taylor A Bit of a Do Rita Simcock ITV
Geraldine McEwan Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Mother BBC Two
Susannah Harker House of Cards Mattie Storin BBC
Emily Aston Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Small Jess BBC Two
Charlotte Coleman Jess
Helen Mirren Prime Suspect Jane Tennison ITV
Lindsay Duncan G.B.H. Barbara Douglas Channel 4
Zoe Wanamaker Prime Suspect Moyra Henson ITV
Prunella Scales A Question of Attribution H.M.Q. BBC One
Helen Mirren Prime Suspect 2 Jane Tennison ITV
Maggie Smith Memento Mori Mrs. Mabel Pettigrew BBC Two
Juliet Stevenson A Doll's House Nora Helmer
Zoe Wanamaker Love Hurts Tessa Piggott BBC One
Helen Mirren Prime Suspect 3 Jane Tennison ITV
Olympia Dukakis Armistead Maupins Tales of the City Anna Madrigal Channel 4
Siobhan Redmond Between the Lines Maureen "Mo" Connell BBC One
Julie Walters Wide-Eyed and Legless Diana Longden
Juliet Aubrey Middlemarch Dorothea Brooke BBC Two
Siobhan Redmond Between the Lines Maureen "Mo" Connell BBC One
Victoria Wood Pat and Margaret Margaret Mottershead
Geraldine Somerville Cracker Jane Penhaligon ITV
Jennifer Ehle Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennet BBC One
Helen Mirren Prime Suspect 4 Jane Tennison ITV
Geraldine James Band of Gold Rosemary "Rose" Garrity
Juliet Stevenson The Politician's Wife Flora Matlock Channel 4
Gina McKee Our Friends in the North Mary Soulsby BBC Two
Helen Mirren Prime Suspect 5 Jane Tennison ITV
Alex Kingston The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders Moll Flanders
Pauline Quirke The Sculptress Olive Martin BBC
Daniela Nardini This Life Anna Forbes BBC Two
Francesca Annis Reckless Anna Fairley ITV
Kathy Burke Tom Jones Honour BBC One
Miranda Richardson A Dance to the Music of Time Pamela Flitton Channel 4
Thora Hird Talking Heads: Waiting For The Telegram Violet BBC Two
Francesca Annis Reckless Anna Fairley ITV
Natasha Little Vanity Fair Becky Sharp BBC
Joanna Lumley A Rather English Marriage Liz Franks
Julie Walters won three consecutive times, for My Beautiful Son (2002), Murder (2003), The Canterbury Tales (2004) and Mo (2010).
Anamaria Marinca won for Sex Traffic in 2005.
Victoria Wood won for Housewife, 49 in 2007.
Eileen Atkins won for Cranford in 2008, she also won a Primetime Emmy Award for the role.


Year Actors Work Character Network
Thora Hird Lost for Words Annie Longden ITV
Francesca Annis Wives and Daughters Hyacinth Gibson BBC One
Maggie Smith David Copperfield Betsey Trotwood
Lindsay Duncan Shooting the Past Marilyn Truman BBC Two
Judi Dench The Last of the Blonde Bombshells Elizabeth Gold BBC
Amanda Redman At Home with the Braithwaites Alison Braithwaite ITV
Fay Ripley Cold Feet Jenny Gifford
Alison Steadman Fat Friends Betty Simpson
Geraldine James The Sins Gloria Green BBC One
Julie Walters My Beautiful Son Sheila Fitzpatrick ITV
Lindsay Duncan Perfect Strangers Alice Hagerty BBC Two
Sheila Hancock The Russian Bride Dora Blossom ITV
Lesley Sharp Bob & Rose Rose Cooper
Julie Walters Murder Angela Maurer BBC Two
Sheila Hancock Bedtime Alice Oldfield BBC One
Jessica Hynes Tomorrow La Scala! Victoria Stevenson BBC Two
Vanessa Redgrave The Gathering Storm Clementine Churchill BBC
Julie Walters The Canterbury Tales Beth Craddock BBC One
Helen Mirren Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness Jane Tennison ITV
Gina McKee The Lost Prince Charlotte Bill BBC One
Miranda Richardson Queen Mary
Anamaria Marinca Sex Traffic Elena Visinescu Channel 4
Brenda Blethyn Belonging Jess Cople ITV
Anne-Marie Duff Shameless Fiona Gallagher Channel 4
Lia Williams May 33rd Ella Wilson BBC One
Anna Maxwell Martin Bleak House Esther Summerson BBC One
Anne-Marie Duff Shameless Fiona Gallagher Channel 4
Lucy Cohu The Queen's Sister Princess Margaret
Gillian Anderson Bleak House Lady Dedlock BBC One
Victoria Wood Housewife, 49 Nella Last ITV
Anne-Marie Duff The Virgin Queen Elizabeth I BBC One
Ruth Wilson Jane Eyre Jane Eyre
Samantha Morton Longford Myra Hindley Channel 4
Eileen Atkins Cranford Deborah Jenkyns BBC One
Kierston Wareing It's a Free World... Angela Channel 4
Gina McKee The Street Jan Parr BBC One
Judi Dench Cranford Matilda "Matty" Jenkyns
Anna Maxwell Martin Poppy Shakespeare N Channel 4
June Brown EastEnders Dot Cotton BBC One
Maxine Peake Hancock and Joan Joan Le Mesurier BBC Four
Andrea Riseborough Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley Margaret Thatcher
Sheridan Smith won in 2013 for Mrs Biggs..
Olivia Colman won for Broadchurch in 2014.


Year Actors Work Character Network
Julie Walters Mo Mo Mowlam Channel 4
Helena Bonham Carter Enid Enid Blyton BBC Four
Sophie Okonedo Mrs. Mandela Winnie Mandela
Julie Walters A Short Stay in Switzerland Dr. Anne Turner BBC One
Vicky McClure This Is England '86 Lorraine "Lol" Jenkins Channel 4
Anna Maxwell Martin South Riding Sarah Burton BBC One
Natalie Press Five Daughters Paula Clennell
Juliet Stevenson Accused Helen Ryland
Emily Watson Appropriate Adult Janet Leach ITV
Romola Garai The Crimson Petal and the White Sugar BBC Two
Vicky McClure This Is England '88 Lorranie "Lol" Jenkins Channel 4
Nadine Marshall Random Sister
Sheridan Smith Mrs Biggs Charmian Biggs ITV
Rebecca Hall Parade's End Sylvia Tietjens BBC Two
Sienna Miller The Girl Tippi Hedren
Anne Reid Last Tango in Halifax Celia Dawson BBC One
Olivia Colman Broadchurch Ellie Miller ITV
Helena Bonham Carter Burton & Taylor Elizabeth Taylor BBC Four
Kerrie Hayes The Mill Esther Price Channel 4
Maxine Peake The Village Grace Middleton BBC One
Georgina Campbell Murdered by My Boyfriend Ashley Jones BBC Three
Keeley Hawes Line of Duty Lindsay Denton BBC Two
Sarah Lancashire Happy Valley Catherine Cawood BBC One
Sheridan Smith Cilla Cilla Black ITV
Suranne Jones Doctor Foster Gemma Foster BBC One
Claire Foy Wolf Hall Anne Boleyn BBC Two
Sheridan Smith The C-Word Lisa Lynch BBC One
Ruth Madeley Don't Take My Baby Anna Howard BBC Three
Sarah Lancashire Happy Valley Catherine Cawood BBC One
Nikki Amuka-Bird NW Natalie Blake BBC Two
Claire Foy The Crown Queen Elizabeth II Netflix
Jodie Comer Thirteen Ivy Moxam BBC Three/BBC Two
Molly Windsor Three Girls Holly Winshaw BBC One
Claire Foy The Crown Queen Elizabeth II Netflix
Sinead Keenan Little Boy Blue Melanie Jones ITV
Thandie Newton Line of Duty Roseanne "Roz" Huntley BBC Two
Jodie Comer Killing Eve Villanelle / Oksana Astankova BBC One
Keeley Hawes Bodyguard Julia Montague BBC One
Sandra Oh Killing Eve Eve Polastri
Ruth Wilson Mrs Wilson Alison Wilson
Glenda Jackson won in 2020 for Elizabeth Is Missing, she also won an Best Actress for the role.
Jodie Comer has won twice, in 2019 for Killing Eve and in 2022 for Help.


Year Actors Work Character Network
Glenda Jackson Elizabeth is Missing Maud Horsham BBC One
Samantha Morton I Am Kirsty Kirsty Channel 4
Jodie Comer Killing Eve Villanelle / Oksana Astankova BBC One
Suranne Jones Gentleman Jack Anne Lister HBO/BBC One
Michaela Coel I May Destroy You Arabella Essiedu BBC One
Daisy Edgar-Jones Normal People Marianne Sheridan BBC Three
Billie Piper I Hate Suzie Suzie Pickles Sky Atlantic
Hayley Squires Adult Material Hayley Burrows / Jolene Dollar Channel 4
Jodie Comer Killing Eve Villanelle / Oksana Astankova BBC One
Letitia Wright Small Axe: Mangrove Altheia Jones-LeCointe
Jodie Comer Help Sarah Channel 4
Kate Winslet Mare of Easttown Marianne "Mare" Sheehan Sky Atlantic
Lydia West It's a Sin Jill Baxter Channel 4
Niamh Algar Deceit Sadie Byrne / Lizzie James
Emily Watson Too Close Dr. Emma Robertson ITV
Denise Gough Connie Mortensen
Kate Winslet I Am... Ruth Ruth Channel 4
Sarah Lancashire Julia Julia Child HBO Max / Sky Atlantic
Vicky McClure Without Sin Stella Tomlinson ITVX
Maxine Peake Anne Anne Williams ITV
Billie Piper I Hate Suzie Too Suzie Pickles Sky Atlantic
Imelda Staunton The Crown Queen Elizabeth II Netflix


Record Actress Programme Age (in years)
Oldest winner Thora Hird Lost for Words 89
Oldest nominee
Youngest winner Molly Windsor Three Girls 20
Youngest nominee

Actresses with multiple wins and nominations[edit]

Multiple wins[edit]

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

Multiple nominations[edit]

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

Note: Julie Walters' two mentions in 2010, count as two separate nominations.


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  2. ^ "Television - 2020". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 26 February 2021.
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  4. ^ "Bafta TV awards 2022: full list of nominations". The Guardian. 30 March 2022. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  5. ^ Ritman, Alex (22 March 2023). "BAFTA TV Awards: 'This is Going to Hurt,' 'The Responder' Lead Pack of Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 22 March 2023. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
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