BSkyB saves BAFTA nominees party

Burberry pulls out due to protest threat

LONDON — British Sky Broadcasting has stepped in to rescue the official BAFTA nominees party, which faced cancellation after its original sponsor Burberry pulled out.

The party, celebrating the nominees for this year’s British Academy Film Awards, is due to take place on the evening of Feb. 10, the night before the ceremony itself.

Clothing manufacturer Burberry was supposed to pay the entire cost of the event at London’s Natural History Museum, to which around 800 guests were invited.

But it withdrew earlier this week because of fears that protesters would picket the party over Burberry’s planned closure of a factory in Wales.

That initially forced BAFTA to cancel the event. But when news of the cancellation emerged, execs at satcaster BSkyB contacted BAFTA officials to offer their support.

BSkyB has no other link to this year’s BAFTA ceremony, which is being broadcast Feb. 11 on BBC1.

Sky’s managing director of channels and services Dawn Airey said, “Given that many of the attending film nominees will feature on Sky Movies, we are delighted to be able to show our support for them, and the industry, by ensuring what will be a wonderful curtain-raiser for the awards goes ahead.”

“We are delighted that Sky has saved the day,” BAFTA chairman Hilary Bevan Jones commented. “As a charity we cannot fund an event on this scale without the generous support of sponsors, and it is entirely fitting that Sky with its fantastic film offering can be our partner on this event.”

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