BAFTA stars fire shots at government over CH4 privatisation and Covid

BAFTA stars fire shots at government over CH4 privatisation and Covid

BAFTA winners fire pot-shots at the government over CH4 privatisation and Covid… with Lorraine Kelly joking: ‘Hello to Boris, I’m Lorraine’ after PM had no idea who she was

  • The celebration of the great and the good in TV and film was hijacked by a number of political statements
  • Lorraine Kelly set the tone when she sent a ‘special hello’ to the Prime Minister as she hosted the news award
  • In My Skin creator Kayleigh Llewellyn urged audience to ‘get the Tories out’ after ‘slithering into government’

BAFTA stars last night fired a series of pot-shots at the government over plans to privatise Channel 4 as well as its response to the Covid pandemic.

The celebration of the great and the good in TV and film was hijacked by a number of political statements, including one demand to ‘get the Tories out’, which had to be hastily cut from the televised broadcast.

Presenter Lorraine Kelly set the tone when she sent a ‘special hello’ to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as she took to the stage to host the news coverage award.

She joked: ‘Hello and a special hello to Boris. I’m Lorraine. It’s lovely to see you,’ prompting cheers and laughter from the audience.

Mr Johnson appeared not to know who Kelly was during an interview with Good Morning Britain earlier this week.

Meanwhile, a number of winners used their speeches to hail the value of Channel 4 and criticise Government plans to privatise the broadcaster.

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

Gogglebox won its second TV Bafta for best constructed factual show and the chief executive of production company Studio Lambert, Stephen Lambert, used his speech to voice opposition to the Government’s plans.

He said: ‘Gogglebox might have ended when it started nine years ago as it got 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 of what makes British TV great will have ended for no good reason.’

Presenter Lorraine Kelly set the tone when she sent a ‘special hello’ to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as she took to the stage to host the news coverage award

Gogglebox won its second TV Bafta for best constructed factual show and the chief executive of production company Studio Lambert, Stephen Lambert (pictured), used his speech to voice opposition to the Government’s plans to privatise Channel 4

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

He said: ‘They let me bring black boy joy, I really appreciate it. It would not have been possible without Channel 4, I know everyone has said it but it is so important.’

In a statement responding to the criticism, a DCMS spokesperson said: ‘Channel 4 is a great UK success story and this government wants it to thrive for the long-term.

‘Our proposals will improve Channel 4’s access to capital and the ability to make and own content will allow it to create new revenue streams and compete as effectively as possible for audiences, programmes and talent with the streaming giants.’

Elsewhere, In My Skin creator Kayleigh Llewellyn also took aim at the Conservatives in her speech, urging the audience to ‘get the Tories out’ after they ‘slithered into government’ in 2010. However, the speech wasn’t broadcast in the final edit of the programme.

Together scriptwriter Dennis Kelly, meanwhile, used his platform to read a letter from families who lost loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic that criticised the Government’s handling of the crisis.

Together, starring Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy, won the award for single drama before Kelly detailed demands from campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice calling for a public inquiry to be expedited.

Reading from a sheet, he said: ‘The UK has seen one of the worst global death tolls through the pandemic. This Government’s response has ranged from careless to downright negligent. Our loved ones’ lives treated as expendable, collateral damage.

‘Bereaved families have been ignored, lied to and gaslighted by a Government seemingly too busy partying to spare us thought, even daring to tell us that they were too busy to meet with us or start an inquiry promptly.

‘We may never know how many of our loved ones’ lives could have been saved if things had been done differently, but we will not rest until we know that everything possible has been done to ensure others are spared this heartbreak and pain.’

Together, written by Kelly and directed by Stephen Daldry, follows a family from the first days of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 to the present day.

Continuing to read the letter, Kelly added: ‘Prime Minister, if you are listening, start the Covid inquiry now so we can learn lessons and save lives.’

In a statement, the Government said: ‘Every death from Covid-19 is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

‘We have always said there are lessons to be learnt from the pandemic and the Prime Minister has committed to holding a full public inquiry, to be chaired by Baroness Hallett.’

Elsewhere, In My Skin creator Kayleigh Llewellyn also took aim at the Conservatives in her speech, urging the audience to ‘get the Tories out’ after they ‘slithered into government’ in 2010

Together scriptwriter Dennis Kelly, meanwhile, used his platform to read a letter from families who lost loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic that criticised the Government’s handling of the crisis

The Duke of Cambridge also spoke out as has shared his hope that programme creators will continue their ‘invaluable work’ and keep ‘environmental issues high up on the agenda of programming’ during an address at the Bafta TV awards.

William spoke to the audience at the ceremony as part of a pre-recorded video highlighting ‘planet placement’, referring to the inclusion of environmental messaging in TV shows.

He cited the ‘unique role’ of programme creators who can ‘ensure climate change and sustainability remain at the forefront of our collective consciousness’.

He added: ‘By creating innovative, educational and emotive content for television, writers and producers are playing a unique role in ensuring the future of our planet is something that we all want to talk about.

‘Over the past year, we’ve seen some fantastic examples of this across a wide variety of programmes and genres.

‘I hope you will all continue to carry on your invaluable work, keeping environmental issues high up on the agenda of programming in these years ahead.’

During the ceremony, Dermot O’Leary gave a ‘special thanks’ to the Duke of Cambridge after accepting the Bafta best live event award for the Earthshot Prize, which the presenter described as William’s ‘baby’.

The Earthshot Prize was launched in 2020 by the Duke of Cambridge and Sir David Attenborough to reward ambitious initiatives helping the environment.

The prize ceremony, hosted by TV presenter O’Leary, 48, and radio host Clara Amfo in October last year, saw five projects awarded £1 million.

He described working on the show as a ‘privilege’ and ‘the most life-affirming experience for all of us’.

He added: ‘A word as well, just a special thanks to Prince William, because it is very easy to be cynical about someone who comes from such privilege but he approached the whole thing with this incredible empathy and enthusiasm, vitality and this really is his baby which is why Earthshot is now fourth in line to the throne.’

Amfo, 37, added: ‘I think the thing I’m really proud of about this show is that it wasn’t supposed to be preachy and ‘we’re all so terrible’.

‘I think it was the thing Maya Angelou once said ‘when you know better, you just do better’. So I think this is about us learning to do better.’ 

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