Olivia Colman named most powerful person in British TV

Jim Waterson Media editor
Olivia Colman is also due to star in the BBC’s forthcoming Les Misérables drama and as Strawberry in an adaptation of Watership Down. Photograph: Ian West/PA

Olivia Colman has been named the most powerful person in British television, according to a ranking by the Radio Times.

The actor, who will star as Queen Elizabeth II in the next series of Netflix’s The Crown, comes top of the magazine’s TV 100 power list, which attempts to rank the on-screen and behind-the-scenes individuals who have had an exceptional past year in British television.

Colman rose to prominence in Channel 4’s Peep Show before making award-winning performances in Broadchurch and The Night Manager. She is also due to star in the BBC’s forthcoming Les Misérables drama and as Strawberry in an adaptation of Watership Down.

Chris Chibnall, the new Doctor Who showrunner, takes second place, while third place is shared by siblings Daisy May and Charlie Cooper – the creators, writers and stars of BBC comedy This Country, which parodies rural life.

Other stars who make the top 10 include Declan Donnelly, who is preparing to host I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here without longt on-screen partner Ant McPartlin, BBC natural history presenter David Attenborough, and Luther star Idris Elba.

Hugh Grant is in seventh place following praise for his performance in A Very English Scandal, one spot above Vanessa Kirby, who won a Bafta for her portrayal of Princess Margaret in The Crown. Benedict Cumberbatch, who is preparing to play Vote Leave boss Dominic Cummings in a forthcoming Channel 4 drama, comes ninth following his performance in Sky’s Patrick Melrose, while Nicola Walker completes the top 10 after appearing in The Split and Unforgotten.

Other individuals to make the top 20 include Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee, BBC journalist Carrie Gracie, who helped campaign for equal pay, and Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan.

The list is drawn up by dozens of actors and industry executives from major broadcasters and independent production companies, including Sir Lenny Henry, ITV director of television Kevin Lygo, and Amazon’s director of original TV Georgia Brown. Radio Times editors then choose the final ranking.

Susanna Lazarus, RadioTimes.com associate editor, said: “At a time of rapid change in the way we watch TV, how appropriate that our list is topped by a brilliant performer who has starred in some of the biggest broadcast shows of recent times and is soon to become the queen of on-demand as the lead in Netflix’s The Crown.”

The top 20

  1. Olivia Colman
  2. Chris Chibnall
  3. Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper
  4. Declan Donnelly
  5. Idris Elba
  6. David Attenborough
  7. Hugh Grant
  8. Vanessa Kirby
  9. Benedict Cumberbatch
  10. Nicola Walker
  11. Lisa McGee
  12. Gareth Southgate
  13. Carrie Gracie
  14. Richard Cowles
  15. Jodie Whittaker
  16. Laura Kuenssberg
  17. Romesh Ranganathan
  18. Gary Lineker
  19. Piers Morgan
  20. Lennie James