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'Mr Bates Vs The Post Office' wins first major award

Mr Bates Vs The Post Office has won the Jury Prize at the Broadcasting Press Guild’s award ceremony credit:Bang Showbiz
Mr Bates Vs The Post Office has won the Jury Prize at the Broadcasting Press Guild’s award ceremony credit:Bang Showbiz

‘Mr Bates Vs The Post Office’ has won the Jury Prize at the Broadcasting Press Guild’s award ceremony.

The ITV drama, which stars 57-year-old Toby Jones as sub postmaster Alan Bates, and follows the story of the Post Office Scandal – which saw hundreds of sub postmasters be wrongly accused of theft due to the faulty IT system Horizon – was awarded the prestigious honour at the 50th anniversary of the ceremony on Thursday (21.03.24.)

BPG Chair Manori Ravindran said: “As an organisation of journalists, the BPG members wanted to be the first to pay tribute to a truly unique story and a piece of landmark television that created massive headlines, gripped a huge TV audience and helped clear the names of the victims of a gross miscarriage of justice.”

Despite the success of the Post Office scandal drama, its writer Gwyneth Hughes admitted she believed the show would flop.

She told Sky News: “We’ve all been blown away by it [the reception.]

“On the eve of transmission, our boss sent us all a comforting email warning us that it probably wouldn’t do that well, and probably not many would watch it.

“So we woke up [the] next morning and he literally thought he had misheard the ratings, and it just has got bigger and bigger.

“The whole thing is unbelievable, the story of the postmasters, and what happened to them was completely unbelievable from beginning to end and this is just the latest unbelievable chapter in the unfolding, ongoing story.”

Tobey Jones was also blown away by the reception to the programme, and revealed he took a pay cut to ensure ‘Mr Bates Vs The Post Office’ could be made.

In an interview with The Times, he said: “There is a huge possibility that shows like ‘Mr Bates’ will not be made in the future. Not because TV commissioners don't want them, but because they can't afford them. The financial pressures are too great.

“These kinds of four-part, very British, thoughtful dramas are massively at threat because distributors worry that it is less likely that they will recoup their investment than they would from an international thriller with lots of episodes.”