With wins for Leading Actor and Best Mini-Series, Chernobyl has now made BAFTA history – becoming the most-awarded TV show (in a single year) ever.
Going in to the Virgin Media BAFTA TV and Craft Awards, Chernobyl was already the clear frontrunner with 14 nominations.
The show was able to convert the majority of those nominations into wins; across the Craft Awards and the TV Awards, the HBO and Sky co-production Chernobyl scooped a grand total of nine awards, garnering prizes for its music, editing, directing, photography and lighting, costume design, sound, and production design.
At Friday night’s awards, Jared Harris was on hand via live-link to collect the Leading Actor award for his performance as Valery Legasov in the drama about the nuclear power plant catastrophe in the Soviet Union in 1986.
Having broken the record, Harris told journalists ‘backstage’ (well, in a Zoom call): “Wow, that is amazing. I had no idea – that’s incredibly generous of BAFTA, to award that many. I mean, one of the things that I’ve noticed about the BAFTA awards over the years is, they’re pretty judicious about spreading the love… So that’s incredibly generous of BAFTA to do that!”
Chernobyl’s writer Craig Mazin suggested he would quit while he was ahead, saying: “Now I’m not joking when I say I should retire! Wow.”
To date, the drama has won more than 60 awards, including two Golden Globes and 10 Primetime Emmys.
Commenting on the wins, Sky UK’s Managing Director of Content Zai Bennett said he was “incredibly proud that the terrifying true story of Chernobyl is BAFTAs’ most awarded series in a single year ever.”
Glenda Jackson won the Leading Actress award for BBC One’s unflinching Alzheimer’s drama, Elizabeth is Missing, her first role on television in 25 years and she revealed that her return to television was “quite by chance”.
The 84-year-old two-time Oscar winner was bemused by the virtual ceremony, which was hosted by writer and presenter Richard Ayoade, and said she would celebrate with a glass of Champagne and one last cigarette before bed.
The BAFTA TV Awards were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, like the entire TV and film industry, and nominees and winners appeared on screen via a variety of video conferencing platforms, although guest presenters such as Normal People stars Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones were with Ayoade in person on the closed at the BBC TV Centre in London.
Emmerdale won the BAFTA award for Soap and continuing Drama and its executive producer Jane Hudson made the point that all the soaps deserved recognition from the industry for being the first productions back safely filming after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Comic actor and write Jamie Demetriou also had a night to remember. He won the BAFTA for Male Performance in a Comedy Programme for his Channel 4 comedy Stath Lets Flats, which also won for Scripted Comedy.
Channel 4’s black comedy-drama The End of The F***ing World also took home two of the night’s main honours, for Best Drama and Supporting Actress, which went to Naomi Ackie.
Comedian Mo Gilligan won Entertainment Performance for The Lateish Show and said he hoped his award would inspire other people like himself.
See all the winners at the BAFTA TV Awards 2020.
The BAFTA TV Awards 2020 screened on BBC One on Friday, 31st July. Watch them now on BBC iPlayer.
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