Today, the prestigious  South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2019 were held at the Savoy Hotel in London.

“Once again the Arts defy the gravity of the current situation in the UK and deliver a magnificence of talent that is truly world-class.” – Melvin Bragg, who has hosted The South Bank Show since 1978

Hosted by Melvin Bragg, the gong-show will air on Wednesday 10th July at 8pm on Sky Arts. 

Sir Lenny Henry was awarded with the coveted Outstanding Achievement Award presented by Richard Curtis, and following an incredible year rising star Jessie Buckley was named winner of The Times Breakthrough Award, presented by Charles Dance.

This year’s ceremony also saw Lily Allen take home the Pop award for her album No Shame, while The Favourite triumphed in the Film category. English National Ballet was victorious with Playlist in the Dance category while Derry Girls took the comedy gong home. Acclaimed author Diana Evans scooped the prize for Literature for her stunning novel Ordinary People.

Other winners included Stephen Daldry’s production of The Inheritance in the Theatre category, A Very English Scandal for TV Drama and in Classical Music The City of Birmingham Sympony Orchestra picked up a gong for their Debussy Festival.

“I’m ecstatic to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards. This ceremony is particularly special, as the awards celebrate the incredible spectrum of Arts that the UK has to offer. I’m very proud indeed to be honoured in this way.” – Sir Lenny Henry

Guests were treated to performances by Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the 2017 Times Breakthrough Award winner who performed Hallelujah with Isata Kanneh-Mason, and Freya Ridings sang her first charting single Lost Without You. 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.

Presenters this year included a wealth of talent from the arts world: Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith (TV Drama), Jamael Westman (Theatre), Himesh Patel (Film), Polly Morgan (Visual Art) Russell Maliphant (Dance), Benjamin Zephaniah (Literature), Jess Gillam (Classical Music), Joseph Calleja (Opera), Katherine Ryan (Comedy) and Mica Paris (Pop).

The South Bank Show was launched by LWT in 1978, the series broadcast on ITV until 2009 when a streak of cost-cutting saw the network drop any artistic or creative programming from its schedules. The awards have been part of the Sky Arts line-up since 2010, the regular South Bank Show format followed shortly afterwards along with a ‘revisted’ series which sees updates on classic ITV episodes.

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2019 will air on Wednesday 10th July at 8pm on Sky Arts.

“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.” – Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts

Pictured Middle: Sir Lenny Henry, Pictured Bottom: Derry Girls of Channel 4.
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