Sunday, 22 May 2011

Doctor Who vs Sherlock: FIGHT!

It's BAFTA time again, the day in the year where Jimmy McGovern clears a spot on his shelf for yet another gong while fans of cult shows bemoan the lack of awards glory for their favourites. But last year the mold was broken when Misfits walked away with the Best Drama Series trophy. I think that might just be the first time a British sci-fi show has actually won our highest TV honour, and it has increased my interest in the BAFTAs. If Misfits can win, anyone can. The Best Drama Series category is chock-full of my favourite shows: Sherlock, Misfits, Being Human and Downton Abbey. (I'd like to see Being Human pick it up for a brilliant third series and in honour of it's wonderful first series, for which it wasn't even nominated. But I think this one will be between Downton and Sherlock. Any would be a deserving winner though.) I'll also be interested to see if Robert Sheehan and Lauren Socha stand any chance in their acting categories (what clips of them will they be able to show at 8pm? Nathan trying to lick his own balls?) but I was sad to see Russel Tovey miss out on a nod, again.

But the category everyone is excited about in Best Actor. Mainly because Doctor Who and Sherlock are going head to head, with both Matt Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch nominated alongside Jim Broadbent and Daniel Rigby. But we don't care about them. This is the Doctor versus Sherlock Holmes, people! It's a Christmas special dream! Let's take a look at the contestants:

Matt Smith - The Doctor

Believe it or not, this is the first time a Doctor Who actor has been nominated for the role. Does that mean that Matt Smith is better in the role than Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant were, or just that BAFTA are now finally acknowledging that sci-fi acting is still acting?

Frankly, he's brilliant in the role. (Whether he's better than the others is a discussion for another blog). His is a completely bonkers performance. He somehow embodies childish exuberance and ancient weariness at the same time and never reads a line quite how you'd expect him to. He is a sheer force of nature and finally proved that he can do the serious stuff as well as the comedy with his heartbreaking performance in The Doctor's Wife, looking utterly bereft as he says "hello" to his TARDIS for the first and last time.

But will voters be able to see past the fact that this is essentially a children's programme? Smith's performance could be a bit too off the wall for some tastes and the fact that he doesn't have a huge body of work behind him to show his range could dent his chances. Plus, some people could say that based on interviews he's pretty much just playing himself. So far his performance in series six is even stronger than last year, so maybe he deserves to win it next year instead.

Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock Holmes

I'm rewatching Sherlock at the moment and remembering just how bloody brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch is in the role. Magnetic, commanding, intelligent - like Matt Smith, you can't take your eyes off him. It's not until a second viewing that you realise how good Martin Freeman is too in the less flashy role of Watson. Cumberbatch makes a character with very few likeable traits absolutely loveable and has surprisingly good comic timing.

He also has the advantage of being a two-time BAFTA nominee. He's got the CV to back up his nomination and prove his (very impressive) range and with his strange, angular face he's the poster boy for a new generation of great British character actors.

Putting him at a slight disadvantage is that Sherlock was on TV almost a year ago and he might not be fresh in voters' minds, whereas Matt Smith is galavanting in front of them every Saturday night. Also, his performance in Sherlock is inseperable from Martin Freeman's. The show and the performances are utterly dependent on the chemistry between the two of them. It would be hard to honour one performance and not the other.

If it was up to me and a gun was at my head I'd give the trophy to Cumberbatch. But only if I could give it to Smith next year, soley for The Doctor's Wife. Of course, after all this speculation the award will almost certainly go to Jim Broadbent, because who doesn't love Jim Broadbent?

Either way, there's going to be a man in that hall tonight who wins no matter how it all turns out:

Steven Moffat: The Man of 2010. Congratulations!

1 comment:

  1. Ah, okay, so Daniel Rigby won. Who?!? Benedict was robbed. Nice to see Martin Freeman win, though, and watching Lauren Socha's utter surprise was the best moment of the night.