BAFTA yesterday announced an overhaul of its eligibility rules, following some controversy over Killing Eve’s nomination for best drama series at the 2019 awards.
These changes were implemented alongside a new, separate diversity directive, which insists that programming will have to hit certain diversity targets in order to qualify for nomination.
But what are the other new rules that were announced, how will they be enforced and why are the rules changing? Here’s the facts.
Why was there controversy over Killing Eve’s BAFTA nomination?
Back in March 2019, Killing Eve scored 14 BAFTA TV nominations, going on to win best drama series, best leading actress (for Jodie Comer) and best supporting actress (for Fiona Shaw).
This raised some eyebrows, since entries for BAFTA nomination previously had to make their worldwide premiere in the UK to qualify for consideration.
Killing Eve aired in the US on BBC America long before it came to BBC One and iPlayer, so it didn’t seem to fit the old model. A spokesperson for BAFTA later explained that, in this case, an exception had been made, with the show deemed eligible due to the “significant creative contribution from key talent on and off-screen residing in the UK”.
Now, though, BAFTA has decided to formally change its eligibility rules.
What are the new BAFTA rules?
BAFTA has announced that, from now on, shows will no longer be required to premiere in the UK to be eligible for UK production categories (i.e. any category outside of the ‘standalone ‘International’ award.)
However, series must still be “initiated and developed in the UK and have creative control residing within the UK, and/or a UK broadcaster has primary editorial control”. They must also be broadcast to UK audiences within the calendar year.
Why are the BAFTA rules changing?
Amanda Berry OBE, CEO at BAFTA, said that the rule change is about “enabling the very best British creators and content to be recognised by BAFTA regardless of where the show is first transmitted”.
Hannah Wyatt, Chair of BAFTA’s Television Committee, added: “BAFTA is committed to rewarding British productions that can be enjoyed by British audiences. We are always looking to reflect the ever-changing industry, ensuring our rules remain fit for purpose. As we see British creative talent and productions increasingly capturing global audiences, we feel now in the right time to make this adjustment.”
Additionally, Emma Baehr, Director of Awards and Membership at BAFTA, told Deadline that the change was being made to reflect the changing TV landscape and how it’s “becoming more global with increased funding [for British-made shows] from around the world”.
Krish Majumdar, BAFTA deputy chair, echoed these comments, telling Screen Daily that “TV is a global business and we have to support British creativity and excellence in this new world. If you look at the rules carefully, that is what we are doing.”
How will the new BAFTA rules work?
Playing down concerns that the new rules could lead to confusion and debate over the exact meaning of phrases like “primary editorial control”, Majumdar told Screen Daily that each show competing for a BAFTA nomination would be examined on a case-by-case basis by BAFTA TV committee, to judge if it meets the new criteria.
When are the BAFTA TV Awards 2019?
The BAFTA TV Awards will take place on 17th May 2020 at the Royal Festival Hall in London, with nominations due to be announced on 26th March next year.