The BAFTA Television and Television Craft Awards are enforcing new rules from the 2021 edition of the awards, incorporating the findings of its wide-ranging diversity review carried out earlier this year and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of nominees in the performance categories will increase from four to six. The total number of nominees in all other categories will remain as four, though the number of named nominees or production company representatives for each entry will increase from four to six.
Hannah Wyatt, chair of BAFTA’s television committee, says that the rationale behind this move comes down to the volume of high-end drama being produced, which is reflected in the number of entries. The Academy wanted to reflect that by having more nominees, she says.
“And then, equally, [it is] also to help continue the progress we’ve made this year and get really good representation in terms of diversity and inclusion as well,” Wyatt tells Variety. “This reflects the wider industry really, and the fact that there’s so much fantastic drama being made and entered, it will also hopefully encourage that diversity, and keep it moving in the right direction.”
Elsewhere, BAFTA is introducing a new daytime category for 2021, bringing the awards in line with the Emmys and the U.K.’s Royal Television Society awards. “We’ve been hit by this global pandemic, and there’s been a bigger spotlight on daytime. Everyone’s watching more television, including more daytime television; I think it plays a really particular role in entertaining and informing a really huge range of audiences across the British landscape,” says Wyatt.
From 2021, the Breakthrough Talent category of the Television Craft awards will be renamed Emerging Talent and divided into two categories: fiction and factual. “If you call it ‘breakthrough,’ that can be quite limiting,” says Wyatt. “In terms of people don’t necessarily have a ‘breakthrough’ moment; they have a gradual emergence.” Splitting the category into two would reflect different backgrounds of talents and genres, Wyatt explains.
BAFTA courted controversy earlier this year when Dominic Buchanan, one of the producers on BAFTA-winning series “The End of the F***ing World,” questioned the rules preventing him from accessing a BAFTA mask trophy, despite his company’s credit on the show’s award. BAFTA will now offer winners the chance to purchase two additional masks for key individual creatives who were part of the creative process, but not one of the six named nominees or production company representatives.
“The idea of the number of masks is something we’ve actually been considering for quite a long time,” Wyatt says. “It has come up over the past few years, and particularly this year. The television committee and the subcommittee had been looking at it for a number of months when Dominic’s letter was published; it just hadn’t been ratified through all the board processes that it needs to go through. We’re really delighted that that’s happened now.”
Next year will also see the formal introduction of the BFI diversity standards for the awards after a successful pilot in 2020. For 2021, productions must meet at least one of the standards and complete information on Standard C that pertains to training. For 2022, it will be compulsory for productions to meet standard C and at least one other standard.
Each broadcaster will continue to be permitted to put forward two additional entries after round one voting. For 2021, BAFTA is asking that, for all performance and craft categories, broadcasters must use at least one of the two permitted entries to put forward a candidate from an under-represented group, as addressed in the BFI diversity standards.
For 2020 only, and to reflect the impact of COVID-19, which forced filming to halt, the eligibility window for the soap and continuing drama category has been extended to the end of January 2021. The sport and live events categories will be merged for the 2021 Awards, and the minimum percentage of live programming reduced from 70% to 51%.
In addition, British craftspeople will now be eligible for television craft categories for international programs if the work itself took place outside of the U.K., as long as their usual place or residence and employment is the U.K.
And, as announced in the BAFTA 2020 review, BAFTA will be introducing mandatory conscious voting training for all members.
The BAFTA Television Craft Awards will take place May 24, 2021, and the Television Awards will take place on June 6, 2021.