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The names of women in front of and behind the camera, plus those in executive suites and production offices, make up the Radio Times‘ list of the “30 most powerful women on TV and radio.” Which ones do you know?

Brit TV News Bits

The list is UK-centric, so fewer of the names will be instantly recognizable to folks in the US as compared to those across the pond.

In terms of on-screen talent, the actors that should be familiar to nearly every Brit TV fan, regardless of location, include the following, listed by rank on the Radio Times list:

Olivia Colman — The winner of BAFTAs for Broadchurch, Twenty Twelve, and Accused, Colman has appeared in a long list of television dramas and comedies as well as films, and won or been nominated for many more industry awards for her performances in Rev. and Exile, amongst others.

Julie Walters — A CBE and two-time Academy Awards nominee and the current BAFTA Fellow, Walters is known worldwide as a film star, notably as Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter movies, but the six-time BAFTA winner has also been showing up on telly screens for four decades, including in The Hollow Crown, Mo, and Dinnerladies.

Victoria Wood — Another CBE that is a writer and director as well as actress, UK and US viewers should recognize Wood from her BAFTA-winning Best Actress performance in Housewife, 49, as well as in Case Histories, and Dinnerladies.

Dawn French — British Comedy Awards winner and former BAFTA Fellow French has been entertaining film goers and TV viewers for more than 30 years, including in some of Brit TV fan’s favorite comedies, from French & Saunders and Clatterford (a.k.a. Jam & Jerusalem), to The Vicar of Dibley and The Wrong Mans.

Sheridan Smith — Called “the current go-to girl” by Radio Times, Smith won the 2013 Best Leading Actress BAFTA for Mrs Biggs. Others of her standout dramatic and comedic performances include The 7.39 and The Widower (neither of which has screened yet in the US) and Mr. Stink and Gavin & Stacey.

Sarah Lancashire — Off-screen, the 2014 BAFTA Best Supporting Actress winner for Last Tango in Halifax voiced the adult Laura in Lark Rise to Candleford. On-screen, she has been tearing up tellies with her powerful performance in Happy Valley, and will soon be seen (in the US) in the second series of The Paradise.

Joanna Lumley — An OBE and recipient of the 2013 Special Recognition Award from the NTA, Lumley has played a secret agent in The New Avengers, a sci-fi spy in Sapphire and Steel, and a “disturbingly disconnected” woman in Sensitive Skin, but it was her role as Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous that won her a British Comedy Award and two BAFTAs.

Miranda Hart — Hart costarred in the hit Britcoms Not Going Out and Hyperdrive, and then landed her own show. Her starring role as the titular goofball in the riotously funny Miranda, plus her brilliant dramatic performance as the “yummy Chummy mummy” in Call the Midwife, have earned her British Comedy Awards wins and BAFTA nominations.

Anne Reid — Her first TV appearance was in The Benny Hill Show nearly 60 years ago, and since then Reid, an MBE and the London Critics Circle Film Awards’ 2004 British Actress of the Year, has starred in many fan-favorite series, including Last Tango in Paradise, Upstairs Downstairs, Ladies of Letters, and Life Begins.

Off-screen talent that made the power 30 list include the women who write and produce some of our favorite Brit TV programs, such as…

Heidi Thomas — BAFTA and Primetime Emmy Awards-nominated writer for period dramas Call the Midwife and Cranford.

Abi Morgan — Primetime Emmy Award-winning writer of the political thriller The Hour, and BAFTA-winning writer of the drama Sex Traffic.

Beryl Vertue — Producer and Chairman of Hartswood Films, Primetime Emmy nominee and BAFTA winner for Sherlock, and BAFTA nominee for Men Behaving Badly.

Sue Vertue — Daughter of Beryl, a producer at Hartswood Films, Primetime Emmy nominee and BAFTA winner for Sherlock, and BAFTA nominee for The Vicar of Dibley.

Sally Wainwright — BAFTA-winning writer and executive producer of Last Tango in Halifax, and BAFTA-nominated writer of Scott & Bailey and Unforgiven.

Nicola Shindler — Founder of the award-winning Red Production Company, BAFTA winner for Last Tango in Halifax, The Mark of Cain, Clocking Off, and Hillsborough.

Pippa Harris — Co-founder of Neal Street Productions, multiple award winner and nominee, including BAFTA nominations for The Hollow Crown and Call the Midwife.

Hilary Bevan Jones — Primetime Emmy-winning producer of The Girl in the Cafe, BAFTA-winning producer of Cracker, and BAFTA-nominated producer of State of Play.

For the complete list of the UK’s 30 most powerful women on TV and radio, visit the Radio Times website.


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Olivia Colman, Sarah Lancashire, Miranda Hart on Radio Times “30 Most Powerful Women On TV and Radio” List