After two years of remote ceremonies, the Bafta TV Awards returned for a jubilant, fully in-person celebration of British television on Sunday night (8 May).
Richard Ayoade hosted proceedings – and he wasted no time making the obligatory Will Smith joke – on a night that saw prison series Time, lack drama Help and rapper and TV presenter Big Zuu emerges as the biggest winners.
Time star Sean Bean won Best Leading Actor for his portrayal of an English teacher who ends up behind bars. The BBC show also won Best Miniseries. While Bean wasn’t there to accept his award, a message was read out for him that paid tribute to his co-star Stephen Graham, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
Big Zuu took home the award for Best Entertainment Performance in his cookery show Big Zuu’s Big Eats. The program also won in the Features category.
In a lively and moving acceptance speech, he said: “To my mum right there, she came to this country four months pregnant from Sierra Leone during the rebel war… man come from humble beginnings.
“Representation is so important. Growing up, there wasn’t many chefs that looked like me on the telly. Now, there’s young people watching us doing our ting, thinking, ‘Do you know what? If these wastemen can win a Bafta, surely we can.’ And it is! And it is! And it is!”
Jodie Comer, meanwhile, won Best Leading Actress for her performance as a young caregiver in Help. In an emotional speech, in which she admitted she was “so scared”, she said: “I want to thank Ellie Harrison Jack Thorne for his integrity and passion, which is so infectious. He’s completely changed my view and priorities in regards to the work I want to continue to do going forward.”
In other highlights, BBC Three’s In My Skin won Best Drama, while Succession‘s Matthew MacFadyen and Help‘s Cathy Tyson won in the Best Supporting categories.
MacFadyen wasn’t there to accept the award, but series creator Jesse Armstrong was on hand to receive it and read out a text from MacFadyen’s co-star Nicholas Braun, about how much he enjoyed the scenes in which he was kissed on the forehead by MacFadyen’s character Tom Wambsgans.
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The creators and cast of It’s a Sin didn’t take home any awards, despite the Aids drama being the most-nominated show of the night. This will have come as a shock to many, although the series did win two awards at the Bafta Craft Awards this year, for Best Editor and Director.
Olivia Colman-starrer Landscapers also missed out on awards for Best Miniseries and Best Leading Actor, with David Thewlis nominated for the latter.
Rose Ayling-Ellis won the Must-See Moment award for her silent dance on Strictly Come Dancing. The soap star was the first deaf contestant to win strictly alongside her professional dance partner Giovanni Pernice.
Jamie Demetriou scored a hat-trick, taking home his third Bafta in three years for Stath Lets Flats. This time, he won in the Best Male Performance in a Comedy Program category. He was visibly nervous and kept threatening to sing.
See the full list of winners here.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.