The red carpet’s been rolled out, the champagne is on hand – it can only mean one thing… Yup, it’s the British Academy Television Awards, hosted by Sue Perkins. And RadioTimes.com are behind-the-scenes at London’s Festival Hall to report on everything that happens, from interviews on the red carpet to gossip from backstage to news of the night’s biggest winners, as they’re announced.
The ceremony starts at 7pm – and BBC1 will broadcast highlights from 8pm – but for minute-by-minute coverage on the evening’s headlines stay tuned with our live blog. It’s the only place to be.
On Twitter? Use the hashtag #RTBafta or tweet @RadioTimes to join in the conversation. And don’t forget to refresh this page for updates.
22:34: So, that’s it. I’m calling time on my increasingly rambling ramblings. It’s been a pleasure nattering away to you lot – I hope you’ve enjoyed my live blog. See you next year when we divvy out a brand new batch of BAFTAs.
22:28: Danny Dyer has been backstage telling us he’s destined to play Thomas Cromwell.
The blue blooded Who Do You Think You Are star didn’t speak on the BAFTA stage but he shared some marvellous musings behind the scenes. His Who Do You Think You Are royal reveal was one of THE TV moments of 2016 so when Danny Dyer didn’t get a chance to speak on stage at this year’s ceremony when the show picked up an award we were gutted.
Luckily RadioTimes.com was waiting behind-the-scenes where Dyer shared his thoughts about his regal heritage and the show’s big BAFTA TV Features win.
“I feel there was a little bit of a void in my life. I never quite understood why I was an actor or why I was famous. It never sat with me,” said Dyer of life before he took part in the BBC series.
“To understand that I have a blood line that’s extremely famous, for whatever reason, I suppose that did fill a little hole. It’s still really hard to get my head around to be honest. A couple of things did click into place and I understood myself a bit more” he told press backstage at the 2017 Bafta TV Awards.
He also confirmed that he had in fact purchased several ruffs, as promised at the end of the fateful episode. “I’ve got a couple of ruffs” he revealed. “Thought I’d get a couple of them. Switch it up a little bit. A big un and little un. A weekend ruff and a weekday ruff.”
And he’s already taken to wearing it about the house, in his own special fashion.
“Get out of the shower, whack it on. Just stand there in my ruff, stark bollock naked. Strong look.” Strong look indeed, Mr Dyer.
His heritage has given him a “ruff” idea of where he’d like to go next career-wise too.
“King Edward III, seriously? He’s my grandad. Thomas Cromwell, I know he weren’t royal but he was a proper boat, weren’t he, let’s be fair. Played by Mark Rylance. Surely I’m destined to play him” Dyer said
Stranger things have happened. We’re definitely going to watch this space.
22:17: The backstage quotes are coming in thick and fast. Here’s Sarah Lancashire backstage weighing in on a possible third series of Happy Valley. “There’s no scripts. We have to wait for Sally to be ready.”
Make it happen, Sally. Please, please make it happen.
22:13: Michael McIntyre may be a BAFTA winner for Best Entertainment Performance but don’t confuse Michael McIntyre’s Big Show with Michael McIntyre’s Chat Show. The former was a roaring (now BAFTA-winning) success but the latter was a bit of a damp squib, never getting a second series.
The man himself has been backstage weighing in on his successes – and failures:
“I wanted to be on the stage in a theatre because I’m used to that. I like a lot of people laughing. I’ve tried shows in television studios and let’s just say I wasn’t standing here after those.”
“I did once have a chat show and I’m thrilled that you’ve never heard of it. I bought the format and I’ve removed it from the face of the earth. Good luck finding that. It was on Netflix for a while. Let’s just say either there was something wrong with the star reviewing system or it didn’t register. I did try that and it turned out that I didn’t like sitting. That wasn’t a great format for me.”
22:10: The Night Manager was snubbed in all major categories except Best Supporting Actor. So how does BAFTA winner Tom Hollander feel about being the only cast member to make it to the ceremony – let alone up on stage?
“It’s a great honour. I wish more of them were here with me. The show itself has not been – it’s not as if it was under-exposed. We’ve probably had our fair share of attention and it’s really time to exit stage left and stop slapping ourselves on the back. But I am of course utterly thrilled to get an award on home territory.”
22:06: Anyone in the market for an SM:TV reunion? Of course you are! BAFTA winners Ant & Dec have been backstage telling us ITV have just agreed to their plans. “We came back and ITV said ‘you’ve just commissioned that on air have you?’ but they’re on board now,” said Dec. “We’ve had first discussions about it and it looks like it’s going to go ahead. Not this September, but August / September next year.
And Cat Deeley will be around, too. “Cat said yes,” he revealed. “We’re going to do it on a Saturday morning, I think. 9.25am. Three hours.”
Just like the good old days.
22:03: The team behind Planet Earth have been backstage talking about the third series which we’re assured “is coming”. Mike Gunton, executive producer, said: “Planet Earth III is in our heads. We haven’t started filming yet, it’s not commissioned. We’re planning what might be a Planet Earth III. Who knows? We hope David will be with us. You never know. If he’s here, he’ll be doing it, that’s for sure. He is the voice of natural history. If he’s still willing to do it, then he’ll do Planet Earth III too.
“I think it’s fair to say without him, it definitely wouldn’t be the same. All of us owe so much to Sir David for making the series what it is because there’s no-one else who can tell those stories the way he does.”
Has anyone texted Sir David about the win? “Sadly texting is not an option with him. He doesn’t do text. t’ll send him a letter.”
21:55: Phoebe Waller-Bridge has just picked up a Bafta TV award for her leading role in her acclaimed comedy Fleabag but she says she very nearly called time on the show after just one series.
The actress, who adapted the BBC3 series from her own one-woman stage show, thought the story was well and truly over after the show’s first run.
“There was some time when I wasn’t sure if I would write another series because it felt like quite a complete story” she told press backstage at the Bafta TV Awards. “And then I had an idea on a bus and I was like ‘damn, I might be open it up again now’. It was a relief. I’m starting to work on that now and talk about schedules and stuff.”
Waller-Bridge, who was visibly delighted with her win when accepting the award on stage said picking up her BAFTA was “the dream come true”.
“You’re living in your own head for so long with something like this and then all that self-doubt, you don’t know if you’re talking shit or everything you’re saying is really truthful. This is just the biggest reward.”
And she also dedicated the win to her Fleabag co-star, Olivia Colman, who was nominated alongside her. “This is mine and Olivia’s. We had promised each other some sort of mud fight either way, afterwards”, she said.
Waller-Bridge has yet to pen the script for Fleabag’s second series, thanks in no small part to her rather busy schedule. She’s due to appear in the new Star Wars Han Solo spin-off film in 2018 and is currently learning how best to avoid letting any secrets slip.
“I just started thinking I’d make up a completely ridiculous plot to the film tell everyone that was the plot. But I’ve been advised heavily not to do that”, she explained.
But there is one thing she can be 100 per cent honest about: She’s definitely not replacing Peter Capaldi when he leaves the Tardis later this year.
“I am not going to be the first female Doctor. That’s the end of the rumours. That I know of”, she said.
21:49: So, the headlines: big snub for Netflix and a stellar night for the BBC. I’ve counted these many times. I think these final tallies are right. But then again I’ve been typing like a maniac for six plus hours.
21:37: Joanna takes to the stage – and tries to persuade Jennifer Saunders to stay with her on stage. She fails. But she is a showman and her opening line shows us just why: “I’m like a piece of cellophane laid over the industry. I have done nothing,” she tells us.
“I wanted to be with people who left race and religion and gender and shoe size and things outside the door when I came in. I wanted to hang out with the boys in the band. I wanted to be a part of the sisterhood. I wanted to be in this great circus, in this fellowship, and now I’m standing here with my gorgeous family and my beloved friends and I couldn’t be happier.
She finishes ,“Jennifer you write it; I just do it,” before giving us one final flash of Patsy.
21:33: And now, finally (and I mean FINALLY – it’s been a long night of typing!) it’s Joanna Lumley’s BAFTA Fellowship, dished out by her Ab Fab co-star Jennifer Saunders. “She alone created Patsy Stone,” she gushes, “because on top of everything else she is a comic genius and a brilliant, brilliant clown and a person who never forgets how hard it has been to get where she is.”
21:29: The queen has been crowned! It is Sarah Lancashire who is named Leading Actress. Finally.
“I can’t breathe,” she gasps into the microphone, before thanking all her (many) brilliant co-stars. “Gosh, I even want to thank Nicola Walker and she’s not even in it.
“And of course, the phenomenally, scarily talented Sally Wainwright. Sally, you are the most brilliant producer and extraordinary director and extraordinary writer – I thank god you can’t act.”
But it was her parting line that drew the biggest reaction from the audience.
“Can I just say that Claire Foy, you have given me the best ten hours under a duvet that I’ve ever had.”
21:26: Leading Actress presenter James Nesbitt gives a shout out to gender equality in the industry before reading out nominees Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley), Claire Foy (The Crown), Jodie Comer (Thirteen) and Nikki Amuku-Bird (NW). This is one of the strongest categories of the night – will Netflix land at least one prize? Will Sarah Lancashire finally get her due? Will youngster Jodie land her first BAFTA? Or will Nikki’s masterful performance earn a prize?
21:23: Hear that? That’s the sigh of a million Cumberbatch fans whose man loses out as worthy winner Adeel Akhtar is named the recipient of Leading Actor for Murderd by My Father. He gives an under-stated, but rather lovely, speech dedicating the gong to his wife and ine-month old baby who “remind him to be kind and compassionate every day.”
21:21: And now for the last – and biggest two – awards of the night. The Leading Acting prizes. First up, actor, which has a shortlist recognising Adeel Akhtar (Murdered by My Father), Babou Ceesay (Damilola, Our Loved Boy), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Hollow Crown) and Robbie Coltrane (National Treasure).
Will it be one of the two huge stars – Coltrane and Cumberbatch – or the lesser known Akhtar or Ceesay?
21:19: Ant and Dec who add to their heaving shelf of silverware. They did have a fifty percent chance of winning here but it was a bumper series of Strictly so kudos to the lads for seeing off Ed Balls and his Gangnam Style (although a tiny part of me was hoping he might perform it one last time on stage).
21:18: Best Entertainment Programme is one of just four awards left. It’s ITV last chance to land an award – and it’s certainly their territory. But Saturday Night Takeaway and Britian’s Got Talent are up against Strictly Come Dancing and Michael McIntyre’s Big Show (the latter has already won Entertainment Performance). Who will it be?
21:14: Nope, I’m wrong. It’s People Just Do Nothing. Of course, this is a worthy winner but it feels strange not to see Fleabag up here – both comedy’s offer something different but Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s comedy was THE breakout hit of 2016. Still, a People Just Do Nothing acceptance speech certainly doesn’t disappoint.
21:10: DANNY DYER IS NOT MAKING A SPEECH. I repeat: DANNY DYER IS NOT MAKING A SPEECH. I’m not even listening to a woman who I’m sure has played a far bigger part in making this a fantastic piece of television. I’m just too darn disappointed (or maybe, five hours into this blog, I’m slowly losing it…)
21:09: Yes, he’s done it! It’s WDYTYA taking to the stage and we’re waiting with baited breath.
21:08: Best Features is Danny Dyer’s third and final shot at making it to the podium – this time for his Who Do You Think You Are? episode but hoping to scupper the party are The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs, Travel Man: 48 Hours In and, of course, Bake Off.
21:04: And the BAFTA goes to… Wunmi Mosaku for Damilola, Our Loved Boy. Could it be a clean sweep for the single drama based on the story of Damilola’s tragic killing? Babou Ceesay still has a shot at Best Actor. Still, this is Wunmi’s moment and she tells the audience:
“It was an honour to be a part of this… I’d like to dedicate this to the memory of damilola and his mother Gloria.”
21:01: Next, another ‘biggie’. Best Supporting Actress. Will it be Wunmi Mosaku (Damilola, Our Loved Boy), Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley), Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) or Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax)?
Surely next year it’ll be Nicola Walker for Unforgotten but this category feels like it’s between Wunmi and Siobhan.
20:59: It’s Sky Sports who take it with their coverage of The Open. That’s the second award of the night for Sky who also saw Steve Coogan recognized for Scissored Isle.
20:57: “Now it’s time for some sport which is a sentence I’ve never said before”. We can believe that, Sue. So she hands over to David Haye to present the Best Sport category.
The nominees are… The Open (Sky Sports 1), Rio 2016 Olympics (BBC1), Rio 2016 Paralympics (Channel 4) and Six Nations – England v Wales (ITV).
20:54: The cast of People Just Do Nothing are up on stage to present Best Soap & Continuing Drama. Corrie are controversially shut out of this one so it’s reigning champion EastEnders versus Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Casualty (in its 30th year).
It’s Emmerdale who scoop the prize (ridding us of yet ANOTHER opportunity to see the Dyer on stage). Sob.
20:50: Suranne Jones is on stage to present one of the ‘biggies’ – Best Supporting Actor. This is Line of Duty and The Night Manager’s big chance with Danny Mays and Tom Hollander respectively up for the prize. But they have the mighty The Crown pairing of John Lithgow and Jared Harris to contend with. Will Netflix get their first prize…?
Nope. The streaming service are shut out again as it’s Tom Hollander who gets the gong, delivering an understated speech which thanked his entire Night Manager cast and director Suzanne Bier.
20:46: Now it’s that time where we say farewell to those we’ve lost over the past year. Given the sort of year 2016 was, it’s a long old video with far too many famous faces flashing up on screen.
20:45: It’s Brooker, of course, who thanks his wife Konnie Huq for putting up with “this” and delivers a speech of the sort of acerbic wit we come to expect from him.
20:42: Rob Delaney is up on stage to present Comedy & Comedy Entertainment Programme (yes, Rob, it IS a silly name for a category). It’s Charlie Brooker v Charlie Brooker with 2016 Wipe and Cunk on Shakespeare up against one another. Can The Last Leg: Live from Rio topple his reign or could Taskmaster land Dave a much-coveted award.
20:36: Now it’s time for Reality and Constructed Factual – old favourites First Dates and The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds go up against newer hopefuls Muslims Like Us and The Real Marigold Hotel.
Can Channel 4 add another gong to their cabinet? Nope, this BAFTA goes to Muslims Like Us. That’s ANOTHER piece of silverware for the BBC who are having a cracking night. “Mobeen Azhar takes to the stage to collect the prize, thanking the brave commissioning of the Beeb who are certainly not regretting putting this one on TV.
Mehreen, one of the programme’s contributors, takes to the stage to say: “There are 1.6 billion muslims around the world and we knew it was impossible for the ten of us to represent every single one… Regardless of your race or your religion we need to write our own narrative and stand up for what we believe in.”
20:31: And the winner is… Planet Earth II’s snakes v iguanas. Never underestimate the pulling power of those iguanas, people. Although we’re rather gutted not to see the Dyer letting rip on the BAFTA stage.
Still, special mention must go again to Liz White – “snake lady” – who captured that thrilling chase but our favourite recipient has to be the giant iguana who, appearing via VT, grunts: ” I accept this award on behalf of David and my comrades who didn’t make it. OMG is that Danny Dyer? Better luck next time, buddy.”
Granted, that probably makes no sense if you’re not seeing it on TV.
20:28: Now it’s time for the one category decided for by us: Must-See Moment. This is the BAFTAs, darling – Ant & Dec can’t rely on the general public to vote for them 13 years in a row!
So, who are the nominees here? Well there are six and the category is a wonderful occasion to pit Ed Balls’ Gangnam Style against the snakes and iguanas of Planet Earth and Danny Dyer’s WDYTYA. The three remaining nominees are Game of Thrones’ Battle of the Bastards, Michelle Obama’s Carpool Karaoke with James Corden and Line of Duty’s Urgent Exit Required.
20:27: It’s Coogan, who isn’t at the ceremony, so Michaela carries off the award leaving a slightly peeved looking David Mitchell to clap along.
20:25: “I’m no expert but I’ve heard it takes balls to win this,” quips Michaela Coel as she steps up on stage to present Best Male Performance in a Comedy Programme. The category is being fought out by Asim Chaudhry (People Just Do Nothing), David Mitchell (Upstart Crow), Harry Enfield (The Windsors) and Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge’s Scissored Isle).
20:24: Right, back to manic typing. RT.com’s Frances is backstage at the winners’ press conference, speaking to Best News Coverage winner Victoria Derbyshire:
Discussing her recent cancer battle, she said that “with respect to BAFTA, awards mean nothing compared to cancer. I hope you’ll take that in the right way. You know what I mean.”
20:22: Nick recently had a stroke and his speech has been affected so it’s his daughter Isabelle who reads out his acceptance speech: “As I always say, the best stories are always true,” he tells the audience. “We’ve made some amazing films. Let’s continue to make many more.”
20:19: Next up, the Special Award – a rare category where we already know the winners (which means a little less manic typing for me. I’m seriously stretching my touch-typing skills tonight!). Past recipients have included Lenny Henry, Cilla Black and Clare Balding and this year the prize goes to veteran documentary maker Nick Fraser.
Who is he? Well, now you mention it I’ve written a rather handy guide to Nick right here.
20:16: National Treasure is the worthy winner of this one (PS. I was right!) That’s incredibly the FIFTH time writer Jack Thorne has won a BAFTA – he’s only 38! – and could be a sign that Robbie Coltrane could be recognised in the acting category later on for his portrayal of historic sex abuser Paul Finchley.
It’s Thorne up on stage to pick up the prize and he pays tribute to “the people whose stories haven’t been told – for those who were brave enough to come forward and those whose scars were too deep to do so, so thank you very much.”
20:14: The impossibly glamorous pairing of Ed Westwick and Eleanor Tomlinson are next on stage to present Best Mini-Series. Will it be The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, National Treasure, The Secret or The Witness for the Prosecution?
This feels like a two-horse race between The Hollow Crown and National Treasure. Although those might be my famous last words…
20:10: “And the BAFTA goes to… Moonlight,” Cuba quips. But of course it’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge. How could it be anyone else? The breakout comedy star of 2016 heads to pick up her first BAFTA. Surely the first of many?
“I have actually been wet dreaming about getting a BAFTA my whole life, “she tells the audience. But it wasn’t that line that made her mum cry… it was this: “Most of all, i just want to say thank you to my mother who said to me, ‘Darling you can be whatever you want to be as long as you’re outrageous.'”
20:08: Cuba Gooding Jr is back on stage to present the award for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme. This has got to be Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s night, hasn’t it? She’s up for Fleabag, against her co-star Olivia Colman. Surely they can’t go for the bridesmaid instead of the bride?
Still, if it weren’t to be Waller-Bridge, the prize could go to the excellent Diane Morgan for Cunk on Shakespeare or Lesley Manville for Mum. The ladies are killing it this year, this is one of the strongest categories of the night.
20:05: But of course it’s Planet Earth II who Pearl reads out, to huge cheers from the audience. No Attenborough in attendance but the team get plenty of applause, including Liz White who is the woman responsible for bringing snakes v iguanas to life.
Go on, let’s have a watch one more time…
20:04: Specialist Factual is up next – and Doctor Who’s Pearl Mackie is up on stage to present it.
This has got to be Planet Earth II, hasn’t it? No one else has snakes chasing iguanas, although Alan Bennett’s Diaries, Attenborough’s Life that Glows and Grayson Perry: All Man are still vying for the prize.
20:02: The winner? Why, of course it’s the programme that featured this wondrous moment…
The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration takes the BAFTA – could it be the only award of the night for ITV?
20:00: And – after that brief interlude – on to the category itself which has recognised The Centenary of the Battle of the Somme, Shakespeare Live! From the RSC, Stand Up to Cancer and The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration.
19:58: To mark Best Live Event, Sue takes advantage of the seven-second time delay to utter the phrase: “You blistering cock-faced f*** trumpets”. Bet you lot at home aren’t going to here that in full when it airs later on the BBC.
19:54: Tina and Charlotte stay on stage to hand out Best News Coverage – the contenders are BBC North West Tonight: Hillsborough Inquests, Channel 4 News: Brexit – Day One, Sky News Tonight – Aleppo: Death of a City and Victoria Derbyshire: Footballers’ Abuse.
It’s Victoria Derbyshire who takes home the BAFTA. The veteran broadcaster’s programme is all the more impressive for the fact that it was developed while it’s anchor was battling and recovering from serious illness.
The award-winning interview was with four footballers who sat for interviews with Victoria to discuss the abuse they suffered as nine and ten-year-olds. “As a result of what they did, hundreds of other potential victims came forward to the police,” says Victoria.
19:52: Hassan Akkad – who was a part of the documentary – takes to the stage with the team to accept the prize. He tells the audience:
“Exactly 20 months ago I was on a dinghy trying to cross from Turkey to Greece and I’m here right now. Ladies and gentleman, Exodus: Our Journey to Europe was my yesterday but it’s somebody else’s today and tomorrow. Since we’ve made this doc,umentary over 10,000 people have died trying to seek refuge in Europe. They’re not just facts, they’re not just statistics… and this goes to them – the untold stories.”
19:50: “And the BAFTA goes to… Exodus: Our Journey to Europe”. The documentary which used footage filmed by travelling refugees is a worthy winner here with its unique filming technique captivating viewers when it aired last year.
19:48: Tina Deheeley and Charlotte Hawkins are on stage next to hand out Best Factual Series. Will it be 24 Hours in Police Custody, Exodus: Our Journey to Europe, Kids on the Edge or The Prosecutors: Real Crime and Punishment?
19:48: So far, six awards to the BBC. All SIX that have been announced so far. Not a bad start for good old aunty.
19:45: Nope, it hasn’t been Netflix’s night so far. The prize goes to The People v OJ with BAFTA eschewing the streaming services for a series which aired on good old BBC2. Cuba Gooding Jr has taken the trip from the US to pick up the golden statue. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a year for me,” he says, clearly floored. He wants to “literally kiss every person in this room”. I’m sure plenty would be up for it.
19:44: Zawe Ashton is making the audience giggle with laughter as she steps up to the stage with Tuppence Middleton to distribute the gong for Best International Programme. Will it be The Night Of, The People v OJ Simpson, Stranger Things or Transparent?
Will Netflix claim its first BAFTA Television Award?
19:36: The impossibly glamorous Jessica Raine is up on stage to present Best Single Drama – but who will take home the prize? It’s Damilola, Our Loved Boy – and father Richard Taylor takes to the stage to deliver an impassioned, and memorable speech which we’ll leave for you here in full in case it doesn’t get aired:
“Today is a great day to remember – it’s very memorable. I just want to thank the team and I want to dedicate this to the memory of Damilola Taylor and to Gloria, my late wife, and first and foremost send an appeal – a strong appeal – to these young people on the streets killing themselves. Parents are crying, mothers are crying, the surge of killing has gone up recently in the city of London. I beg you all to stop this uncessary killing of innocent people. Stop it please, young people. Spread the message to them.”
19:35: Best Current Affairs goes to… Teenage Prison Abuse Exposed!
19:30: Presenters Stacey Dooley and Katie Piper stay up on stage to dish out the prize for Current Affairs, introducing the nominees: Inside Obama’s White House, Teenage Prison Abuse Exposed, Three Days of Terror: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks and Unarmed Black Male (This World).
19:25: Now it’s time for Best Single Documentary. The nominees? Behind Closed Doors, Hillsborough, How to Die: Simon’s Choice and Hypernormalisation. And it’s Hillsborough that takes home the prize with the film’s makers paying tribute to the families, survivors and – of course – the victims.
19:24: But the BBC decide to play it safe and go for Michael McIntyre. He’s certainly a funny man – and his speech is entertaining (“DADDY WON!”) but I’m still a bit miffed for Adam Hills.
19:19: Sex and the City’s Samantha – AKA Kim Cattrall – is on stage to hand out the prize for Best Entertainment Performance. It’s Adam Hills, Claudia Winkleman, Graham Norton and Michael McIntyre up for this one. My money is on Hills whose series The Last Leg doesn’t get nearly enough recognition. It’s up for Entertainment Programme too – if it wins here it could be the start of a very good night for the boys.
19:18: And the BAFTA goes to… Happy Valley! A shock decision as just about everyone had assumed it would be won by The Crown. That’s the first of three categories Happy Valley is nominated in – could they sweep the entire trio?
19:15: First up on stage it’s Sean Bean and Anna Friel who are on stage to present Best Drama Series. You know, the category I had a massive rant about below.
Will it be Happy Valley, War & Peace, The Crown or The Durrells? If it’s the latter I might kick off…
19:12: I really hope BBC1 show Sue’s opening gambit in full – she’s absolutely killing it up on stage. Of course we all miss Graham but so far she’s more than proving herself as his replacement.
19:11: The Replacement gets a special mention from Sue: “A show about how stressful it can be when someone takes over your job. I mean, I really couldn’t relate to it. Genuinely hand on heart, the very best of luck to the new Bake Off team. They’re going to need it. They’re about to discover what Mel and I left for them in the Bake Off groundsheet.”
19:08: And now Super Sue is on stage, promising a “strong and stable” BAFTAs. Sue’s former Bake Off co-star “Bezza” has already got a shoutout. “Give her a couple of white rums and she’ll be pressed up against one of the Casualty hunks. Nothing less than one of the senior registrars because she’s got class,” quips Sue.
19:03: Right, after a brief technical blip here at BAFTA, we’re back and the ceremony is about to get underway. First up, Mary Berry and Sue Perkins playing… strip poker. Yes, STRIP POKER.
Ed Balls shows up because all we need now is Ed Balls threatening to take his clothes off.
18:37: As the final nominees and guests trickle into the ceremony, I’m going to present my in-depth mathematical analysis of the shortlist (OK, it was just a bit of counting. I knew that maths A-level was going to come in handy one day.)
Here’s a channel-by-channel breakdown of this year’s shortlist: despite some of their biggest dramas missing out on major nominations – The Night Manager, Poldark, War and Peace, to name a few (see my rant below) – BBC1 has enjoyed a strong showing with 29 nods across the 25 categories. BBC2 has racked up 23 nominations and Channel 4 has 15. But a poor year at ITV has seen the broadcaster recognised just six times – the same number of nominations as Netflix which dominates the major categories with big-budget royal drama The Crown.
18:34: Take a bow, Rob Delaney. Your facial hair deserves a BAFTA of its own.
18:22: Now, if you’re a regular RadioTimes.com reader you’ll know we’re more than a little obsessed with Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith. So brace yourselves… BOTH are on the red carpet as I type and they’re hugging. Yes, HUGGING (!!!!!)
18:06: A rain delay is as good a time as any to have my promised rant about Best Drama. The nominees? The Crown, War and Peace, Happy Valley and The Durrells.
The what? The DURRELLS. Yes, I’ll happily admit there are a lot of people who love ITV’s idyllic drama set in sunny Greece (a far cry from London’s weather right now) but to promote it above The Night Manager and Line of Duty makes no sense to me. It’s worth mentioning that it’s not the most recent run of Line of Duty that’s been overlooked but series three which aired last year – you know, the one where Keeley Hawes acted her socks off and Dot quite literally stormed his way out of AC-12.
Now, I can see the appeal of Louisa Durrell and her motley gaggle of children. But come on BAFTA, does it really earn its place over the national talking points provided by LoD and The Night Manager?
17:51: The heavens have opened on the red carpet and I’m now feeling rather chuffed to be sat safely inside Royal Festival Hall. There’s a bottleneck of celebs desperate to get inside the doors – if it was me I’d have my scarf wrapped around my head – as what was a bright and sunny arrivals area starts to look very damp and dreary indeed. Here is Sarah on Facebook, braving the downpour outside…
17:47: I don’t think I’m going to be the only who looks at Eleanor Tomlinson tonight and says “WOW”.
The Poldark actress is on the red carpet and she’s a showstopper – but Poldark is absent (yes, ABSENT) from this year’s nominations. If you ask me, it’s a crime ET isn’t up for Best Actress – she’s the best thing in it – but she isn’t the only one controversially omitted from the shortlist. Here are all this year’s snubs, helpfully rounded up by my colleague James.
17:44: Are you a noughties teenager who spent an exhausting amount of time ogling over Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl? I know I’m not the only one who who is currently swooning over Ed Westwick on the BAFTAs red carpet.
You’re probably wondering what Chuck is doing mingling with the masses rather than cruising around in his limo – it’s probably got something to do with the fact Ed Westwick is in new drama White Gold with Inbetweeners stars Joe Thomas and James Buckley. They’re playing double glazing salesmen in the 1980s because, of course.
17:41: When it comes to nominations, Netflix is ruling the roost, thanks in large part to its royal drama The Crown. Now, you may be wondering why the streaming service suddenly has so many spots on the shortlist. (OK, you’re probably not wondering. That’s wishful thinking. But I’m going to tell you anyway.)
This year BAFTA brought in some new rules which mean that The Crown and other original programmes broadcast through online platforms are eligible in the major categories rather than being confined to the international one. The crucial denominator is creative control: if the creative control rests in Britain (eg. The Crown), the programme can be considered in the more general categories even if its budget (in the royal drama’s case, an eye-watering £100m) comes from elsewhere.
Interesting tidbit: this year Netflix has as many nominations as traditional broadcaster ITV after picking up five for The Crown and one for Stranger Things. ITV has been shut out of most of the major categories, although its Sunday night escapism The Durrells sneaked into the Best Drama category (NB: I’ll probably rant about that later after a couple of glasses of wine).
17:32: There may be no real-life royals on tonight’s red carpet but we’ve got our eyes peeled for plenty of fictional ones. Like His Royal Highness Jared Harris who plays George VI in Netflix drama The Crown. All hail this BAFTA nominee who’s going head-to-head with his co-star John Lithgow in the Supporting Actor category.
17:28: The celebs are coming in thick and fast to London’s Southbank and so far we’ve got eyes on Eleanor Tomlinson, Grayson Perry, Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly making their way along London’s Southbank.
And while they may not have arrived yet, here’s a sneak peek at Best Male Performance in a Comedy nominee Asim Chaudry…
17:10: Time for some Best Actress analysis. Up for the coveted prize are Claire Foy (The Crown), Jodie Comer (Thirteen), Nikki Amuka-Bird (NW) and Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley). If I had it my way it would go to Sarah Lancashire. The woman is a goddess and for me, no one holds a torch to her tortured cop Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley. But Claire Foy’s nuanced and skilled lead in The Crown is a hot favourite and – with all the momentum in favour of the Netflix drama (Foy’s already won a Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild award this year) – I predict she’ll walk away with the prize.
Still, never underestimate BAFTA’s ability to go with the inexperienced underdog over old hands (see: Georgina Campbell). Up and comer Jodie Comer and lesser known Nikki Amuka-Bird could feasibly steal this one. As with many of the categories this year, it’s hard to make a confident call.
17:06: The number one question I predict you will have once the ceremony starts: WHERE IS GRAHAM NORTON?! The BAFTAs’ regular host has stepped aside for this year’s ceremony but we’ll forgive him – last night he was busy letting rip on Eurovision so tonight he’s made way for former Bake Off host Sue Perkins who has been out on the red carpet already, recording a few links for BBC1.
We can’t wait to see what Super Sue has in store for us.
16:59: While we wait for more famous faces to trickle through, I’m going to do some deep dive analysis of the major categories. Starting with Best Actor.
The nominees are: Adeel Akhtar (Murdered by My Father), Babou Ceesay (Damilola, Our Loved Boy), Robbie Coltrane (National Treasure) and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses). The first two actors are up and coming; the second pair are bona fide stars. Coltrane has already picked up three BAFTA awards and while a golden mask has so far eluded Cumberbatch, he has plenty of silverware to make up for it.
But Cumberbatch and Coltrane’s roles take place across a whole series, while Akhtar and Ceesay both starred in one-off dramas. According to my very interesting trivia below (go on, scroll down and read it), that means the judges will have seen the entire performances of the latter pair but only one episode featuring their more established rivals. Will this play a part in the decision? Let’s not forget 2015 when talented rising star Georgina Campbell was recognised over her experienced rivals Sarah Lancashire and Keeley Hawes for one-off BBC3 drama Murdered by My Boyfriend.
16:48: Sarah is catching the early arrivals on the red carpet. So far, we’ve spotted Andrew Buchan, Scarlett Moffatt and the first of The Crown’s many nominees – Jared Harris. Oh, and lots of screaming fans.
16:39: And speaking of nominations, you probably want to have a good read of those (right here). It’s a strange list this year, notable as much for its inclusivity as its notable omissions. No Night Manager? No Poldark? No Line of Duty? If you’re scratching your head, you’re not alone.
16:31: So, this is that awkward time in the blog where not all that much is happening… As we wait for the celebs to arrive on the red carpet, I could tell you all about my sweaty journey here on the tube, but you probably don’t want to read about that – so instead how about I entertain you with some fascinating (yes, fascinating) BAFTA trivial. Like…
Did you know that programmes hoping for selection on the shortlist are able to submit just one episode as evidence for the judges to consider? That means that series such as Line of Duty must pick one of their six hour-long instalments, while single dramas like NW or Damilola, Our Loved Boy get to submit their piece in its entirety.
Now, much has been made of the absence of Tom Hiddleston on the shortlist – especially after the Brit picked up the Emmy and Golden Globe for his role as Jonathan Pine in The Night Manager. But it’s worth bearing in mind that the jury was judging his performance on one episode and one episode alone, rather than his abilities across the entire series. Could that have played a part in his notable absence from the list of nominees?
16:17: How about some formal introductions? My name is Susanna Lazarus (@susannalazarus), I’m RadioTimes.com’s News Editor and I’ll be your trusty companion over the next six hours on this live blog. With me are Frances Taylor (@fraylor) who will be asking questions of all the winners backstage and our reporter Sarah Doran (@sarahisnotthere), who’s already been broadcasting from the very sunny red carpet…
15:17: The red carpet is due to begin in just under an hour and a half and RadioTimes.com’s Sarah Doran is getting ready to report from the entrance to London’s Festival Hall as TV’s biggest stars head inside the ceremony.
Who’s on the guest list? Plenty of major players are expected, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Olivia Colman, Pearl Mackie, Claire Foy – and even Ed Balls!
For a closer look at the full list of attendees, click here.
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