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BAFTA TV Awards winners: ‘I May Destroy You’ triumphs

Jun 7, 2021

The BAFTA TV Awards winners have been announced, and it was a big night for Michaela Coel, whose BBC and HBO series I May Destroy You scooped two of the biggest prizes of the evening.

During a pre-recorded ceremony at London’s iconic Television Centre, Coel walked away with best leading actress for her performance as sexual assault survivor Arabella, while I May Destroy You also scooped best mini-series, beating Steve McQueen’s Small Axe.

It follows I May Destroy You’s strong showing last month at the BAFTA TV Craft Awards, which celebrates the work of those working behind the scenes. Coel scored a BAFTA mask for best drama writer and best director at the ceremony.

After winning leading actress on Sunday, Coel collected her award in-person and thanked intimacy coach Ita O’Brien. Coel said O’Brien’s presence meant she could make a series about “exploitation, loss of respect, about abuse of power without being exploited or abused in the process.”

I May Destroy You’s BAFTA success is likely to bode well ahead of the Emmys in September. It also raises further questions about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s decision to completely overlook the series at the Golden Globes in February.

Other big winners on the night included Paul Mescal, who took home the BAFTA for best leading actor for his turn in BBC Three and Hulu drama Normal People. He beat hotly-tipped rivals including John Boyega (Small Axe) and Josh O’Connor (The Crown).

Indeed, Season 4 of The Crown did not collect a single prize on Sunday night, despite success elsewhere, including the Golden Globes. It was not all bad news for Netflix, however, after the streamer won best specialist factual program for The Surgeon’s Cut, while Aimee Lou Wood won best female performance in a comedy for Sex Education.

Elsewhere, Sky’s Save Me Too triumphed in the best drama series category, while there were prizes for Malachi Kirby (Small Axe) and Rakie Ayola (Anthony) in supporting roles.

The awards were presided over by Richard Ayoade in what was BAFTA’s first major in-person event since the spread of coronavirus last year. Nominees in attendance included Coel, Jodie Comer, Paul Mescal, and Billie Piper. It’s A Sin star and Years & Years singer Olly Alexander opened the show a performance of his new single Starstruck.

Below are the winners in full:

COMEDY ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAM

The Big Narstie Show Obi Kevin Akudike, Nathan Brown, Rina Dayalji, Ben Wicks, Toby Baker – Expectation, Dice Productions Entertainment/Channel 4

CURRENT AFFAIRS

America’s War On Abortion (EXPOSURE) Deeyah Khan, Darin Prindle, Andrew Smith – Fuuse Films/ITV

DAYTIME

The Great House Giveaway Production Team – Chwarel/Channel 4

DRAMA SERIES

Save Me Too Simon Heath, Jessica Sykes, Lennie James, Lizzie Rusbridger, Coky Giedroyc, Jim Loach – World Productions/Sky Atlantic

ENTERTAINMENT PERFORMANCE

Romesh Ranganathan – The Ranganation – Zeppotron/BBC Two

ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAM

Life And Rhymes Production Team – CPL Productions, Licklemor Productions/Sky Arts

FACTUAL SERIES

Once Upon A Time In Iraq James Bluemel, Jo Able, Miriam Walsh, Simon Sykes, Andrew Palmer, Will Anderson – Keo Films/BBC Two

FEATURES

Long Lost Family: Born Without Trace  Sally Benton, Rosie Schellenberg, Alice Goodyear, Paddy Lynas – Wall to Wall Media/ITV

FEMALE PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY PROGRAMME

Aimee Lou Wood –  Sex Education – Eleven Film/Netflix

INTERNATIONAL

Welcome To Chechnya: the Gay Purge (STORYVILLE) David France, Alice Henty, Askold Kurov, Joy A. Tomchin – Public Square Films/BBC Four

LEADING ACTOR

Paul Mescal – Normal People – Element Pictures/BBC Three

LEADING ACTRESS

Michaela Coel – I May Destroy You – Various Artists, FALKNA/BBC One

Michaela Coel

LIVE EVENT

Springwatch 2020 Production Team – BBC Studios Natural History Unit/BBC Two

MALE PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY PROGRAMME

Charlie Cooper – This Country – BBC Studios/BBC Three

MINI-SERIES

I May Destroy You Production Team – Various Artists, FALKNA/BBC One

I May Destroy You

NEWS COVERAGE

SKY News: Inside IDLIB Production Team – Sky News/Sky News

REALITY & CONSTRUCTED FACTUAL

The School That Tried To End Racism Production Team – Proper Content/Channel 4

SCRIPTED COMEDY

Inside No. 9 Adam Tandy, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith, Matt Lipsey, Guillem Morales – BBC Studios/BBC Two

Inside No.9


SHORT FORM PROGRAM

They Saw The Sun First  Stefan Hunt, Jess Lowe, Adam Gee – Fresh Film, Red Bull Media House/Red Bull TV

SINGLE DOCUMENTARY

Locked In: Breaking The Silence (STORYVILLE) Xavier Alford, Colette Hodges, Sacha Mirzoeff, Poppy Goodheart – Marble Films/BBC Four

SINGLE DRAMA

Sitting In Limbo Production Team – Left Bank Pictures/BBC One

SOAP & CONTINUING DRAMA

Casualty – Simon Harper, Loretta Preece, Sarah Beeson, Jenny Thompson – BBC Studios/BBC One

SPECIALIST FACTUAL

The Surgeon’s Cut – James Newton, James Van Der Pool, Andrew Cohen – BBC Studios/Netflix

SPORT

England Vs West Indies Test Cricket – Production Team – Sky Sports/Sky Sports Cricket

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Malachi Kirby – Small Axe – Turbine Studios, Lammas Park/BBC One

Malachi Krby

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Rakie Ayola – Anthony – LA Productions/BBC One

Rakie Ayola

VIRGIN MEDIA’S MUST-SEE MOMENT (voted for by the public)

Britain’s Got Talent Diversity perform a routine inspired by the events of 2020  – Thames, Syco/ITV

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