At a ceremony at BAFTA, the new Visionary Honours Awards named Doctor Who as the Best TV Show of 2018
Doctor Who won the Visionary Honours Award in the category of Best TV Show, where it was recognized for its first season with a female Doctor and for episodes such as Rosa. It beat other nominees EastEnders, Kiri and Save Me to claim the prize. Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall and Rosa co-writer Malorie Blackman were in attendance to receive the award.
The Visionary Honours Awards are a new initiative designed to recognize media which promotes the public conversation around diversity, and which inspire positive social change. Voted for by the public, they’ve been founded by theatre producer Adrian Grant. Grant says the aim is “not about awarding egos or fame”. But rather about “recognising culture, media and entertainment that has inspired, created awareness, made a social impact”. The awards event was hosted by BAFTA, and presented by legendary actor, comedian and campaigner Lenny Henry.
Doctor Who was just one of several winners in categories celebrating diversity in TV, film, music and public life
Other winners on the night included the Marvel superhero film Black Panther for Best Film in a category that included BlacKkKlansman and The Greatest Showman. Former American First Lady Michelle Obama received the award for Most Inspiring Person of the Year while Professor Green and the musical Hamilton also scooped awards in their categories.
Meanwhile, a special Legacy Honour Award was given posthumously to Nelson Mandela, with all profits from the evening also going to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund UK.
Blackman, whose birthday fell the same day, described the win as “a lovely birthday present”. She went on thank all those who voted for Doctor Who.
While Doctor Who has always promoted diversity and inclusion, though Series 11 included some notable firsts. As well as the first female Doctor in Jodie Whittaker, it included Mandip Gill’s Yaz Khan as the first British Asian, and first Muslim, companion. And episodes such as Rosa, Demons of the Punjab and The Witchfinders dealt with some of humanity’s less noble history. Behind the scenes, Malorie Blackman became the first person of colour to ever write for Doctor Who. While writers like Vinay Patel and Joy Wilkinson, and directors such as Mark Tonderai, Sallie Aprahamian, and Jennifer Perrott also reflected a diversity of experience and outlooks.
Doctor Who will return in early 2020 for Series 12, starring Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole and Bradley Walsh. It is currently filming in South Africa.