Belfast Telegraph

Derry Girls scoop coveted Sky Arts comedy prize

Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Nicola Coughlan, Liz Lewin, Louisa Harland and Saoirse-Monica Jackson of Derry Girls with the comedy award yesterday
Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Nicola Coughlan, Liz Lewin, Louisa Harland and Saoirse-Monica Jackson of Derry Girls with the comedy award yesterday

By Julia Hunt

Derry Girls took home the comedy accolade at the prestigious South Bank Sky Arts Awards in London over the weekend.

Lisa McGee, who wrote the comedy, tweeted afterwards: "Delighted xx."

Chernobyl actress Jessie Buckley (29) from Kerry was honoured with The Times Breakthrough Award, presented by Charles Dance.

The Favourite, which was an Irish co-production, triumphed in the film category.

Sir Lenny Henry (60) was honoured with the Outstanding Achievement prize. The comedian and actor said he was "ecstatic" to have been given the accolade, which was presented by Richard Curtis.

"This ceremony is particularly special as the awards celebrate the incredible spectrum of arts that the UK has to offer," Sir Lenny said.

In their 23rd year, the awards celebrate genres including dance, theatre, music, television, film, literature, opera and comedy.

Author Diana Evans scooped the prize for literature with her novel Ordinary People.

Other winners included Stephen Daldry's production of The Inheritance in the theatre category; English National Opera's Porgy And Bess for opera; Pages Of The Sea by Danny Boyle for visual art; A Very English Scandal for TV drama, and The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's Debussy Festival for classical music.

Guests at the ceremony, which was hosted by Melvyn Bragg, were treated to performances from artists such as Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the 2017 Times Breakthrough Award winner.

There were operatic performances from Angela Gheorghiu with O Mio Babbino Caro and Joseph Calleja with La Vie En Rose, both accompanied by Paul Wynne Griffiths, and a reading by Naomie Harris.

Sky Arts director Phil Edgar-Jones said: "There's never been a better time to be an artist in the UK, there's so much that is truly gobsmackingly awful going on in the political world that the arts is a haven of sanity, empathy and incredible creativity - and this year's South Bank Sky Arts Awards is testament to that with a wonderful diversity of talented winners."

The awards will air on Wednesday at 8pm on Sky Arts.

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