The 2008 British Academy television awards nominations include a record 24th BAFTA nomination for Dame Judi Dench after her performance in Cranford.

The Oscar-winning actress earned her 12th Bafta TV nomination to equal comedienne Victoria Wood's record while her 12 Bafta film nominations make her the actress most nominated by the academy.

Dame Judi will be up against Cranford co-star Dame Eileen Atkins in the best actress character, while Gina McKee receives her third Bafta nomination for The Street and newcomer Kierston Wareing is recognised for her performance in Channel 4's It's A Free World.

The male acting prize is contested between Matthew MacFadyen - for his role as a paedophile in Secret Life - Tom Hardy for Stuart: A Life Backwards, Andrew Garfield for Boy A and Anthony Sher for his portrayal of a Holocaust Survivor in BBC4's Primo.

The likes of Simon Amstell, Alexander Armstrong and Heston Blumenthal all receive their first Bafta nominations while the Sky+ audience award for programme of the year is contested between Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain, The Apprentice, Strictly Come Dancing, Cranford, Gavin & Stacey and Britain's Got Talent.

For his Paul Merton in China series, the comedian receives his 11th nomination from the Academy.

There is a shock in the continuing drama series, with Coronation Street omitted from the list, but Eastenders, Emmerdale, The Bill and Holby City all nominated.

Life on Mars, the 2007 audience winner, is nominated in the best drama series category, up against Skins, Rome and The Street.

Bafta head of awards Anne Marie Flynn said: "This year's shortlist reflects not only the great diversity of television which has been enjoyed by the public this year, but also the great quality."

18/03/2008 10:42:31