The sixteenth South Bank Awards, now on Sky Arts, will return later this year to celebrate the towering achievements in the arts over the past 12 months.

The former ITV aired, and LWT produced, awards ceremony will as usual see hip-hop sit alongside opera; literature alongside stand-up comedy and TV alongside architecture.

“The awards are one of the world’s most coveted arts awards, celebrating the best of British culture and achievement across visual art, theatre, opera, dance, comedy, classical music, pop, TV drama, literature and film. Melvyn Bragg will once again act as editor and master of ceremonies.” Sky say.

The shortlist for 2012 proves no exception in the history of the awards, which pride themselves on honouring a wide range of phenomenal artistic achievement the broadcaster said. For the first time, the pop category is a female-only shortlist, pitching the grand dames of contemporary music against one another with PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake and Kate Bush’s 50 Words For Snow going up against Adele’s globally acclaimed 21.

“Although this is a celebration of British arts by British artists, we have a world class list of nominees,” comments Melvyn Bragg ( below right). “The South Bank Sky Arts Awards are the only one of their kind in the world, and we very much look forward to a great day, where we’ll recognise and honour the best talent in this country.“

In what Sky Arts describe as an incredibly strong year across all of the categories, the nominees for the film award demonstrates the wealth and variety of UK creative talent at the moment. Joe Cornish’s aliens vs hoodies debut Attack The Block will go up against Lynne Ramsay’s compelling adaptation of the harrowing novel, We Need To Talk About Kevin¸ and the breakout documentary of the last year, Senna.

The comedy award, notoriously one of the most competitive categories, sees two of the year’s most popular TV comedies go head to head with one of the UK’s most popular stand-up comedians: Channel 4’s student sitcom Fresh Meat and Olympic mockumentary Twenty Twelve will contend with Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle for the coveted prize.

The Times Breakthrough award will return for 2012, shining a light on the up and coming talent to look out for.The ceremony, to be attended by the best talent from across the arts, will be held at The Dorchester on 1st May 2012. They will air at 9pm, on Sky Arts 1 HD and on the move with Sky Go.

“The South Bank Sky Arts Awards represents everything we at Sky Arts stand for,” comments James Hunt, director, Sky Arts. “Where else but at this incredible ceremony might you find Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and Ronnie Wood side by side with Nigel Kennedy, Alfie Boe, and Bryn Terfel? We like to think that we, at Sky Arts, do exactly what the South Bank Sky Arts Awards does so brilliantly – celebrates the best of the arts, in one place.


Classical Music

Ll?r Williams: Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Cycle at Edinburgh Festival

Harrison Birtwistle with Boston Symphony Orchestra: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra at Boston Symphony Hall

Sir Colin Davis and the LSO: Nielsen’s Symphony Cycle at the Barbican


Fresh Meat, Channel 4

Twenty Twelve, BBC4

Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, BBC2


Zoo Nation, Some Like it Hip Hop, Sadlers Wells

Akram Khan, Desh, The Curve

Arthur Pita, The Metamorphosis, Linbury Studio


Attack The Block


We Need To Talk About Kevin


Pure, Andrew Miller

Charles Dickens: A Life, Claire Tomalin

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Jeanette Winterson


The Damnation of Faust, ENO

Mignon, Buxton Festival

Heart of Darkness, Linbury, Royal Opera

Pop Music

Adele, 21

PJ Harvey, Let England Shake

Kate Bush, 50 Words For Snow


Matilda, RSC,

One Man Two Guvnors, National Theatre

Constellations, Royal Court

TV Drama

Sherlock, BBC 1

This is England ’88, Channel 4

Top Boy, Channel 4

Visual Art

Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, British Museum

David Chipperfield: The Hepworth Wakefield

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture , Royal Academy

The Times Breakthrough Award

Comedy: Adam Riches

Classical music: David Bates

Dance: Yonah Acosta

Film: Felicity Jones

Literature: Stephen Kelman

Opera: Sophie Bevan

Pop music: Michael Kiwanuka

Theatre: Joseph Drake

TV Drama: Jessica Raine

Visual Art: Haroon Mirza

The Dorchester Outstanding Achievement Award

The winner will be announced on the day, last year Dame Judi Dench was bestowed the gong.


Sky Arts brought the South Bank Sky Arts Awards back for 2011. The South Bank Show will also return to screens from 27th May, following the announcement in 2010 that it would no longer air on terrestrial television, adding to the growing roster of original British content across Sky’s entertainment channel portfolio.

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