The BBC/HBO show won best mini-series and leading actress for Coel, who dedicated the award to the production’s director of intimacy Ita O’Brien.
“Thank you for your existence in our industry, for making the space safe for creating physical, emotional, and professional boundaries so that we can make work about exploitation, loss of respect, about abuse of power, without being exploited or abused in the process,” Coel said.
Paul Mescal won leading actor for BBC/Hulu show “Normal People.”
In the coveted drama series category, Lennie James’ Sky Atlantic show “Save Me Too” won over fancied rivals “The Crown,” “Gangs of London” and “I Hate Suzie.”
At the BAFTA TV Craft Awards that were announced in May, “I May Destroy You” had won the key awards of director, fiction, editing, fiction and writer, drama. while Steve McQueen’s BBC/Amazon show “Small Axe” had the most wins with five BAFTAs, including for make up and hair design, costume design, production design, photography and lighting, fiction and for scripted casting. Netflix’s “The Crown” was shut out then and on Sunday.
The lone win for “Small Axe” on Sunday was Malachi Kirby for supporting actor. Rakie Ayola won supporting actress for BBC’s “Anthony.”
BAFTA did not at any point address the scandal surrounding actor Noel Clarke, for which it has come under intense scrutiny. In late April, the actor and filmmaker was accused of sexual misconduct by several women, after which BAFTA suspended his membership, along with his Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award, conferred upon him in March.
Though BAFTA has said it was unaware of any sexual misconduct allegations against Clarke before naming him as the recipient of the awards, the org’s role in the matter has been criticized. The “Bulletproof” actor has vehemently denied all allegations.
The org, which undertook an extensive diversity review in the last year, did address representation at the awards. This year’s TV Awards mark the first since the Academy’s new rules were put in place. Introducing the awards, BAFTA chair Krishnendu Majumdar said the nominations “feel like a step in the right direction for representation on screen.”
“We know the industry has much more to do to improve diversity and inclusion,” added Majumdar, who played an integral role in overhauling the Academy’s existing structure. “And BAFTA as an arts charity is committed to driving standards to making meaningful progress and change.”
The Virgin Media Must See Moment award, voted for by the public, was won by dance troupe Diversity who performed a routine inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests on ITV’s “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2020. The routine attracted 24,500 complaints to U.K. media regulator Ofcom on the grounds that it was racist to white people. Ofcom declined to act on the complaint and ITV also backed the performers throughout the entire debacle.
The awards were hosted by actor and filmmaker Richard Ayoade (“Submarine”).
VIRGIN MEDIA BRITISH ACADEMY TELEVISION AWARDS: WINNERS
Romesh Ranganathan – “The Ranganation” – Zeppotron/BBC Two
“Inside No. 9” Adam Tandy, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith, Matt Lipsey, Guillem Morales – BBC Studios/BBC Two
Rakie Ayola “Anthony” – LA Productions/BBC One
“Life & Rhymes” – Production Team – CPL Productions, Licklemor Productions/Sky Arts
“Long Lost Family: Born Without Trace” – Sally Benton, Rosie Schellenberg, Alice Goodyear, Paddy Lynas – Wall to Wall Media/ITV
Malachi Kirby – “Small Axe” – Turbine Studios, Lammas Park/BBC One
“The Great House Giveaway” – Production Team – Chwarel/Channel 4
MALE PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY PROGRAM
Charlie Cooper – “This Country” – BBC Studios/BBC Three
“The Surgeon’s Cut” – James Newton, James Van Der Pool, Andrew Cohen – BBC Studios/Netflix
FEMALE PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY PROGRAM
Aimee Lou Wood – “Sex Education” – Eleven Film/Netflix
REALITY & CONSTRUCTED FACTUAL
“The School That Tried to End Racism” – Production Team – Proper Content/Channel 4
“I May Destroy You”- Production Team – Various Artists, FALKNA/BBC One
SOAP & CONTINUING DRAMA
“Casualty” – Simon Harper, Loretta Preece, Sarah Beeson, Jenny Thompson – BBC Studios/BBC One
VIRGIN MEDIA’S MUST-SEE MOMENT (voted for by the public)
“Britain’s Got Talent” – Diversity perform a routine inspired by the BLM protests – Thames, Syco/ITV
“Once Upon a Time in Iraq” – James Bluemel, Jo Able, Miriam Walsh, Simon Sykes, Andrew Palmer, Will Anderson – Keo Films/BBC Two
“Springwatch 2020” – Production Team – BBC Studios Natural History Unit/BBC Two
COMEDY ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAM
“The Big Narstie Show” – Obi Kevin Akudike, Nathan Brown, Rina Dayalji, Ben Wicks, Toby Baker – Expectation, Dice Productions Entertainment/Channel 4
“Sitting in Limbo” Production Team – Left Bank Pictures/BBC One
“Save Me Too” Simon Heath, Jessica Sykes, Lennie James, Lizzie Rusbridger, Coky Giedroyc, Jim Loach – World Productions/Sky Atlantic
Paul Mescal – “Normal People” – Element Pictures/BBC Three
Michaela Coel “I May Destroy You” – Various Artists, FALKNA/BBC One
“America’s War on Abortion” (EXPOSURE) – Deeyah Khan, Darin Prindle, Andrew Smith – Fuuse Films/ITV
“Welcome to Chechnya: The Gay Purge” (STORYVILLE) David France, Alice Henty, Askold Kurov, Joy A. Tomchin – Public Square Films/BBC Four
“Sky News: Inside Idlib” – Production Team – Sky News/Sky News
SHORT FORM PROGRAM
“They Saw The Sun First” – Stefan Hunt, Jess Lowe, Adam Gee – Fresh Film, Red Bull Media House/Red Bull TV
“Locked In: Breaking the Silence” (STORYVILLE) Xavier Alford, Colette Hodges, Sacha Mirzoeff, Poppy Goodheart – Marble Films/BBC Four
“England v West Indies Test Cricket” – Production Team – Sky Sports/Sky Sports Cricket