BAFTA TV Awards’ new rules explained

Everything you need to know about BAFTA's new rules for eligibility and dates for next year's ceremony.


The BAFTA TV Awards Ceremony was rather different than usual in 2020 – going ahead without a studio audience and at a delayed date, due to the coronavirus pandemic.


And while the hope is that things may be back to normal for the 2021 ceremony, a few changes have been made following the usual review of this year’s event, both in terms of addressing the lack of diversity across BAFTA’s awards and taking into account the pandemic’s effect on the television industry.

Read on for an explainer about the new rules below.

What are the new BAFTA rules for 2021?

Perhaps the most major change sees the formal introduction of the BFI Diversity Standards, a scheme which was successfully piloted in 2020.

These standards will be phased in over the next few years, with 2021 requiring productions to meet at least one of the Standards and complete information on Standard C (which focuses on new entrants and development opportunities) while in 2022 they must meet Standard C and at least one other Standard.

The four Standards relate to on-screen representation, themes and narratives, creative leadership and project team, industry access and opportunities and audience development.

Other changes will see an increase in the number of nominees across all performance categories, with the total rising from four to six across the board.

There will still be just four nominees in all non-performance categories, but each entry will now be able to list up to six named nominees or production company representatives.

Meanwhile BAFTA will also offer winners the chance to purchase two additional masks for creatives who were part of the creative process but not one of the six named nominees.

As usual, broadcasters will be allowed to put forward two additional entries after round one voting but there is a change here too – with BAFTA asking that at least one of those two additional entries comes from an under-represented group.

And BAFTA will also be introducing mandatory conscious voting training for all members, in addition to providing voting members “a clearer contextualisation of ‘excellence'”.

Are there any new BAFTA TV categories for 2021?

There is – for the first time the 2021 awards will see a Daytime category, to “recognise the important role that daytime programming plays in the lives of viewers and in providing a pipeline for new and underrepresented talent”.

There will also be a merging of the Sport and Live Events categories for one year only, due to the pandemic, with the minimum percentage of live reduced from 70 per cent to 51 per cent.

Meanwhile the Breakthrough Talent category of the Television Craft Awards will be renamed Emerging Talent and divided into two categories – fiction and factual.

What are the other BAFTA TV eligibility changes for 2021?

Given the huge impact the pandemic has had on filming in 2020, the eligibility window for the Soap and Continuing Drama category has been extended to the end of January 2021.

Another change sees British craftspeople become eligible in the Television Craft categories for work overseas, as long as their usual place or residence and employment is the UK.

What are the dates for the BAFTA TV Awards 2021?

The following timescale has been announced by BAFTA:

Tuesday 24th November: first entry deadline for shows aired before 30 November 2020

Friday 8th January: final entry deadline for programmes broadcast in December 2020

Thursday 21st January – Thursday 4th February: voting takes place

Monday 29th March – Wednesday 14th April: Juries sit

Tuesday 27th April: Virgin Media Must-See-Moment shortlist announced

Wednesday 28th April: TV and Craft nominations announced

Monday 24th May: British Academy Television Craft Awards

Sunday 6th June: Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards

 What have BAFTA said about the changes?

Hannah Wyatt, Chair of BAFTA’s Television Committee said: “We are delighted to confirm the updated rules and eligibility criteria today, alongside the dates for the 2021 awards.

“This announcement comes in the wake of the BAFTA 2020 Review publication, which involved an in-depth consultation with the industry and signalled the beginning of a significant cultural shift at BAFTA.

“We saw significant progress in the diversity of our 2020 Television Awards and these additional changes are designed to continue that trajectory, ensuring BAFTA champions an industry taking proactive steps to level the playing field.”


Find out what to watch with our TV Guide.