SUNDAY May 8 saw the annual British Bafta Television Awards which saw actors attacking the Government over proposals to change the BBC and Channel 4.
The leading actor award went to Mark Rylance for his role, playing Thomas Cromwell in the critically acclaimed BBC Two historical drama, Wolf Hall.
The director of Wolf Hall, Peter Kosminsky, which also won best drama, on accepting his award accused ministers of trying to “eviscerate” the BBC and Channel 4.
The star-studded night took place at London’s Royal Festival Hall, hosted by Graham Norton and comes just days before the government prepares to publish a white paper that sets out the BBC’s future role, function and structure.
Some have reported that the Government plan to axe popular BBC programmes like Strictly Come Dancing, whilst others fear that the new plans will lead to huge cuts at the corporation and that Channel 4 could potentially be sold off.
On accepting his award, Rylance said: “Woe to any government and any corporation who tries to get between the British people and their love of a good joke, a true story, a good song, a fact, a fiction, good sports commentating, newscasters who can hold themselves together as they tell stories about tragedies in Paris, people who can bake cakes.
“The incredible variety of popular culture in this country, it’s really blown my mind tonight.”
Peter Kay’s Car Share and Channel 4’s ‘This is England ‘90’ also won prizes.
Suranne Jones scooped the leading actress prize for her role in the BBC One matrimonial drama Doctor Foster.
Kominsky continued: “This is really scary stuff folks – not something I thought I’d see in my lifetime in this country.
“It’s not their BBC. It’s your BBC. There will be no more Wolf Hall, no more groundbreaking Dispatches.”
There has been no comment on the white paper’s publication by the government.
Funny-man turned serious actor, Sir Lenny Henry, picked up an exclusive award for outstanding contribution to TV, using his speech to ask the BBC to include diversity as part of its forthcoming plans.
Henry commented, he hoped that: “All those 14-year-olds out there super-glued to their phones, who hope to work in TV irrespective of their race, gender sexuality, class, disability, can realise that ambition, as I was able to realise mine – if we do this we will make this fantastic industry even greater.”