Government's plan to sell Channel 4 takes centre stage at BAFTA TV Awards

by 24britishtvMay 8, 2022, 9 p.m. 11
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The government’s plan to sell off Channel 4 took centre stage at this year’s BAFTA TV Awards, with stars criticising the move and vowing to fight to keep the broadcaster out of private ownership.

A number of winners at the ceremony, which celebrated the best of British television, used their speeches to hail the value of Channel 4, which enjoyed a successful evening, picking up five awards.

Comedian Holly Walsh, who writes scripted BBC comedy award winner Motherland, told the audience: “Public service broadcasting is a testament to what makes the BBC and Channel 4 so bloody fantastic.”

Director Steve McQueen, who picked an award for his documentary Uprising, added that the public should “fight for inch, inch and inch” for Channel 4 and the BBC.

Gogglebox creator Stephen Lambert warned selling the channel into private hands would see shows like his disappear, after winning the constructed factual award category.

He said: “Googlebox might have ended when it started nine years ago because it had modest ratings but a publicly owned risk-taking Channel 4 believed in it and they stuck with it.

“If the government goes ahead with its destructive plan to end Channel 4, these kind of risks will not be taken and a big part will have ended for no good reason.”

Mo Gilligan won best comedy entertainment for his The Lateish Show and said the prize “means so much” because Channel 4 took him on when his mental health was struggling in 2017.

Jodie Comer claimed the leading actress award for her role in Channel 4’s Help and thanked the broadcaster for “believing in the script”.

Jamie Demetriou won the award for best male in a comedy for his role in Channel 4’s Stath Lets Flats.

The event, which was presented by IT Crowd star Richard Ayoade, saw ITV take home seven awards, slightly behind the BBC, which claimed nine.

Sean Bean won the leading actor prize for his role in gritty BBC prison drama Time, which was also crowned best mini-series.

Simon Maloney, who produced Time, read a letter on Bean’s behalf, in which the 63-year-old actor said he was “overwhelmed” to receive the award.

He also praised his “inspirational” cast members, including Stephen Graham, who collected the prize for best mini-series.

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice won the must-see moment for their silent dance on BBC One staple Strictly Come Dancing.

Their routine – during which they paused the music and danced in silence as a tribute to the deaf community – won praise from the public and Ayling-Ellis described it as a “very special moment”.

Among ITV’s successes were Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, which claimed the first award of the event, for best entertainment programme, and the news coverage award, which went to ITV News At Ten for its work on the storming of the US Capitol.

Bafta chairman Krishnendu Majumdar opened the event with a speech addressing diversity and the changing media landscape, before paying tribute to TV journalists working in Ukraine and Sir Billy Connolly, who received a Bafta fellowship.

Ayoade quickly aimed a jibe at Will Smith over his slap at the Oscars, quipping: “Bafta is celebrating 75 years at the heart of our industry.

“In 1955, there were only six categories, barely enough time to get up from your seat and slap someone before the whole ceremony would be over.”
• Female performance in a comedy programme: Sophie Willan, Alma’s Not Normal – BBC Two
• Drama series: In My Skin – BBC Three
• Must-see moment: Strictly Come Dancing, Rose and Giovanni’s silent dance to Symphony – BBC One
• Single documentary: My Childhood, My Country – 20 Years In Afghanistan – ITV
• News coverage: ITV News At Ten: Storming of the Capitol – ITV

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