British Academy Television Award for Best Actress

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

British Academy Television Award
Glenda Jackson.JPG
2020 Recipient: Glenda Jackson
CountryUnited Kingdom
Presented byBritish Academy of Film and Television Arts
First awarded1954 (presented 1955)
Currently held byGlenda Jackson for Elizabeth Is Missing (2019)
WebsiteOfficial website




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
Janet Suzman Florence Nightingale / Hedda Gabler (Play for Today) / Antony and Cleopatra / "Athol Fugard" (2nd House)
Dorothy Tutin South Riding
Annette Crosbie Edward the Seventh
Francesca Annis Madame Bovary
Virginia McKenna Cheap in August
Helen Ryan Edward the Seventh
Siân Phillips How Green Was My Valley / I, Claudius
Julie Covington Rock Follies
Gemma Jones The Duchess of Duke Street
Penelope Keith Private Lives
Penelope Keith The Norman Conquests
Geraldine James Dummy
Jane Lapotaire Marie Curie / The Return
Susan Littler Spend, Spend, Spend
Francesca Annis Lillie
Peggy Ashcroft Edward and Mrs. Simpson / Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures
Cheryl Campbell Pennies from Heaven
Cynthia Harris Edward and Mrs. Simpson


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 The Jewel in the Crown Mildred Layton
Susan Wooldridge The Jewel in the Crown 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


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


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


In 2010, BAFTA split the category into Leading Actress and Supporting Actress. This is the list of BAFTA TV Awards for Leading Actress.

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


Year Actress Work Character
Glenda Jackson Elizabeth is Missing Maud Horsham
Jodie Comer Killing Eve Villanelle / Oksana Astankova
Suranne Jones Gentleman Jack Anne Lister
Samantha Morton I Am Kirsty Kirsty


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 nominationsEdit

Multiple winsEdit

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

Multiple nominationsEdit

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.