BBC leads nominees for BAFTA TV awards

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LONDON -- The BBC dominated the field Wednesday as the 2007 BAFTA Television Award nominations were announced. It earned 37 mentions, including two each in the best actor and actress categories.

The awards, the annual gala highlight of the U.K television industry, will be televised live May 20 on BBC1.

With 20 nominations, Channel 4 is the pubcaster's closest rival, while ITV came in third with 14 noms, the Five channel racked up two, and digital network Sky One earned three.

"Longford," Channel 4's examination of the aftermath of the chilling 1970s Moors murders, earned four nominations and will see co-stars Jim Broadbent and Andy Serkis compete for the best actor award alongside John Simm from BBC1's "Life on Mars" and Michael Sheen in "Kenneth Williams: Fantabulousa!"

"Longford" also is up for best single drama, competing against "Fantabulosa," "The Road to Guantanamo" and "Housewife 49."

"Mars" was nominated in the best drama series category alongside first-timers "The Street" and "Sugar Rush" and third-time nominee "Shameless." And in the drama serial category, "Prime Suspect: The Final Act" takes on "The Virgin Queen," "See No Evil: The Moors Murders" and drama thriller "Low Winter Sun."

In the debuting international category, "Entourage," "House," "Lost" and "My Name Is Earl" will face off for the prize.

"Virgin Queen" star Anne Marie Duff, "Housewife 49" actress and comedian Victoria Wood, "Longford" star Samantha Morton and "Jane Eyre" star and first-time nominee Ruth Wilson will compete the best actress nod.

Having been nominated jointly four times for their writing, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant this year will go head-to-head in the comedy performance category for U.K.-U.S. hit "Extras." The duo will face off with six-time nominee Dawn French for BBC1's "The Vicar of Dibley" and Liz Smith for her portrayal of Nana in the BBC1 show "The Royle Family: Queen of Sheba."

Granada-produced "Sheba" also is nominated in the best sitcom category alongside "Green Wing," "The IT Crowd" and "Pulling."

In the entertainment category, "Have I Got News for You" panelist Paul Merton, a 10-time nominee, faces three-time nominees Ant & Dec for ITV1's "Saturday Night Takeaway," Jonathan Ross for BBC1's "Friday Night With Jonathan Ross" and Stephen Fry for "QI."

Fry also is nominated in the factual series category for BBC 2 documentary "The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive," which goes up against Sky One's "Ross Kemp on Gangs," tBBC genealogy show "Who Do You Think You Are?" and Bruce Parry's "Tribe."

"Dancing on Ice" battles it out alongside last year's winner and ITV1 colleague "The X Factor" in the fiercely competitive entertainment program category. They face BBC1's "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" and Channel 4's "The Heist."
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