UPDATED: Dominic Buchanan, one of the producers on BAFTA-winning series “The End of the F***ing World,” has questioned the rules preventing him from accessing a BAFTA mask trophy, despite his company’s credit on the show’s award last month.
The show, a co-production between Netflix and U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 that was first pitched by Buchanan and Jonathan Entwistle in 2012, picked up two BAFTAs at the July 31 TV Awards for its second season — a supporting actress win for Naomie Ackie and the prize for best drama series for Clerkenwell Films, Dominic Buchanan Productions, Channel 4 and Netflix.
In an open letter circulated across the U.K. entertainment industry on Monday, Buchanan wrote that BAFTA rules allow only four names to be put down for consideration for best drama series — a writer, a director, a producer and an executive producer.
For consideration at the 2018 BAFTA TV Awards, the team decided to name Clerkenwell Films executive producer Ed Macdonald in the exec producer slot, “as he had been the driving force for the show via Clerkenwell,” Buchanan wrote. Clerkenwell asked BAFTA if Buchanan could be included, “but we were denied,” wrote Buchanan.
Under BAFTA’s rules, only members of the creative production team are accepted as nominees, but it’s understood the org does not actually stipulate who those roles should be or how many producers can be named. In 2018, the names of two executive producers were submitted by the show team. Buchanan wasn’t one of them.
For the 2020 awards, it was again decided that Macdonald would be put forward. “To give you an insight into my thinking, as long as my production company is named, all should be OK if we win, right?” wrote Buchanan of the decision.
A week following the awards, Buchanan discovered from Macdonald’s correspondence with BAFTA that there would be a delay in delivering the physical award due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“I took it upon myself to message the BAFTA rep and ask if they would be sending me a copy of the award directly, since my name and company, ‘Dominic Buchanan Productions’ is the co-producer with Clerkenwell,” wrote Buchanan. “A few days of no response and then, seven whole days after the awards themselves, and a couple days after I emailed BAFTA, I got the fateful email response, in short: I would not be receiving the famed mask award because the rules stipulate only the four people who were named in the entry would be.”
Buchanan was also informed by BAFTA that he couldn’t purchase a replica of the mask, but could instead buy a certificate. The ‘Nominations and Winners’ section of the BAFTA TV Awards rules state: “BAFTA does not issue replicas of the award.”
“Certain companies directly involved with nominated programs could be eligible to purchase a duplicate nominees or winner certificate so that they can have a record of their involvement,” read the rules. “Applications must be made via the BAFTA entry site after the ceremony.”
“Imagine the devastation of being me, with everything I have achieved, and now not being able to get a copy of the actual BAFTA Award my show won, that my production company, that yes albeit due to ego, my name is a part of,” wrote Buchanan.
“Imagine the furthered trauma of being the only Black person on the entire eight-year journey for a successful show (only Kharmel Cochrane has been on the journey almost as long as me), and everyone who is going to get the physical BAFTA is white? Was the decision to exclude me racist? No, I don’t need to reach for that, because that would be untrue. My white colleagues who will get their award actually deserve it.”
In a statement shared with Variety, BAFTA said: “We would like to thank Dominic for raising his concerns as part of our ongoing review of the Film, Games and Television Awards, which scrutinizes our processes, and for his ongoing contribution as a BAFTA member, which is hugely valued.
“Our current rules around candidates for nomination for the 2020 Television Awards are clear and the decision on who is put forward as a named representative of the Production Team is made by the entrant and not BAFTA. In this instance, Dominic was not put forward in either 2018 or 2019 and no appeal was submitted through our appeals process at the point of entry. We continue to review our rules and eligibility criteria each year, and as part of our ongoing review the number of candidates for nomination is one of the elements under consideration.”
At the beginning of his letter, Buchanan wrote: “Let me tell you a story about how the system will always fail us, where archaic rules can inflict pain and trauma on all creators, but specifically how Black filmmakers/creatives like myself, and let’s be honest, other filmmakers/creatives of color, will never truly feel supported nor included until these institutions change rapidly.”
Lucy Forbes, who directed four episodes of the series, will get a physical award because her name is on the list supplied to BAFTA. Destiny Ekaragha also directed four episodes. However, Buchanan points out that, “Destiny misses out here too as Lucy was put forward.”
Ekaragha tweeted on Monday that the “BAFTA that we ‘won’ wasn’t as inclusive as I thought. Can’t say I’m surprised but it still kinda hurts. Dominic Buchanan went through a madness to create TEOTFW, I went through a madness directing it. But. Same old, same old I guess….”
So, that Bafta that "we" won wasn't as inclusive as I thought. Can't say I'm surprised but it still kinda hurts. Dominic Buchanan went through a madness to create TEOTFW, I went through a madness directing it. But. Same old, same old I guess… https://t.co/zBKQp87HRk
— Destiny Ekaragha (@Destinyfilms) August 10, 2020
The producer said he has corresponded with BAFTA chair Krishnendu Majumdar. “I will keep the details private, but it doesn’t look like I’ll get a physical award,” wrote Buchanan. “Ed Macdonald from Clerkenwell is attempting to lobby on my behalf to get me a copy of the mask, we shall see.”
“BAFTA is absolutely committed to being actively anti-racist and to driving lasting change in the industry, which is why we have conducted a root and branch review across all of our Awards, the results of which we will report on in September,” Majumdar said in a statement. “We also introduced the BFI Diversity Standards pilot at this year’s Television Awards with a view to formally implementing them from 2021. BAFTA is always open to discussion with our members as well as the wider industry, and we thank Dominic for raising his concerns. We will continue to speak with him directly, and will be reaching out to the entrant to discuss this further.”
BAFTA is currently undergoing a wide-ranging review of its Film, Games and TV Awards, with concerns around diversity and representation at the heart of the process.