BAFTA TV Awards Talking Points: The Snubs, Records & Diversity Gains

The BAFTA TV Awards and TV Craft Awards emerged from their coronavirus slumber today, as nominations were unveiled for the delayed events, which will take place virtually on July 31 and July 17 respectively.

As usual with award nominations, the list of those recognized provoked a number of talking points, as well the traditional celebrations from those named on the shortlist. Let’s walk through some of the biggest themes.

The snubs
There were a couple of notable absentees from the nominations list, not least James Corden and Ruth Jones’ BBC Christmas Day comedy Gavin & Stacey. It was the highest-rated show on British TV in a decade, but there was no place for it in the best comedy category, although it did feature among the must-see moment contenders, which is voted on by the public.

The other show that raised eyebrows with its absence was Line Of Duty. From World Productions, the makers of Bodyguard, it is a huge hit with UK viewers, but only managed one nomination — again in the must-see moment category.

Record nods for Sky and Netflix
It was a good day for Comcast-owned Sky and Netflix. The former scooped 25 nominations, propelled by its original drama Chernobyl, which turned in 14 nods alone. The nuclear disaster series, co-produced by HBO, is now the most-nominated show in BAFTA TV Awards history alongside Killing Eve.

Netflix scored 24 nominations, which swells to 34 when you include the co-productions it is involved with, such as The End of the F***ing World. Unsurprisingly, The Crown was popular with BAFTA juries, picking up seven nominations, including best drama series. Netflix thinks its performance this year is its best yet.

Diversity gains
Deadline counted eight BAME nominees in the performance categories, which was an increase of nearly 167% on the three diverse nominees in 2019. Some 36% of the total BAFTA performance nominees were from diverse backgrounds, which was well up on 14% last year and 5% in 2015. That’s progress for an organization that came under fire for all-white acting nominations at this year’s Film Awards.

Among the talented BAME performers that made the TV Awards list in 2020 were Ncuti Gatwa for his turn in Sex Education, while Naomi Ackie is nominated for best supporting actress for The End of the F***ing World. 

HBO benefits from rule change
BAFTA tinkered with its rules this year, allowing shows to enter even if they did not premiere in Britain — the key qualifier being that creative control over the show must rest in the UK. One of the biggest beneficiaries of this was HBO, which garnered recognition for Chernobyl and documentary Leaving Neverland among its 30 nominations.

BAFTA thinks the rule change may have also been a factor in the number of entries growing. There were 517 submissions this year, compared with 504 in 2019.

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