BAFTAS 2018: the highs and bottomless lows

Tallulah Young 17 May 2018

On Sunday, May 13, the 63rd annual British Academy Television Awards (the less glam cousin of the Film Awards that happened in April) were held at the Royal Festival Hall, hosted for the second year running by ex-Cantab Sue Perkins.

Sue’s a pretty cool lady, and a fellow Medwardian who I recently met backstage at the Union Chapel, Islington (by shamelessly plugging that New Hall connection – if Old Boys’ can do it?).  She gave me lots of advice on surviving life at the bridge, so now I feel like it’s okay if I take my turn.

Sue, if you’re reading this, please don’t do that again.  Twitter erupted with criticism, righteous indignation, and cries of hypocrisy.  Although I am far from agreeing with some of the armchair warriors in their homophobic, anti-feminist attacks on the woman who has lit up many of my evenings with her soggy-bottom based innuendos as Bake Off host, I do think it was a bit crap.

Honestly, avenging centuries of patriarchal oppression is no excuse for frankly bad jokes.  I laughed aloud just the once, when she digged at Olly Murs’ for live-tweeting about an alleged shooting in Selfridges, and that’s only because that was possibly the funniest thing that happened in 2017, amongst all the bombings, stabbings and terrorism, a moment of light relief.  What a dweeb.

Man-mountain Greg Davies had about two minutes on stage and was instantly way funnier than Sue, and effortlessly PC whilst he was at it.  A self-identifying “towering symbol of male privilege”, Davies observed that his presentation of the Female Performance in a Comedy Programme Award was “a grotesque metaphor for everything that’s wrong with gender equality”.

Do you know what else was funnier than Sue?  Daisy May Cooper’s outfit.  Yeah, a piece of bright red, presumably highly flammable polyester, in the form of an enormous Swindon FC top, had more charisma than Perkins displayed last night, even when thrusting her comedy partner Mel’s face into her lace covered bosom.  Cooper also wore £10 shoes she bought off eBay, but had whipped them off by the time she had to collect her second award of the night.  So clearly the inspo behind Kristen Stewart’s barefoot political statement at Cannes.

The BAFTAs finally awarded Netflix, which commentators deemed an official acceptance into the TV establishment for the wildly successful streaming giant.  Does giving the award to a (simpering) Supporting Actress really count though?  No Claire Foy? No Drama Series?

Nope, they gave that to Peaky Blinders and although the utter sex god that is Tommy Shelby tops Prince Phil in my books any day, I can understand the controversy.  What Tommy didn’t do though was stick his hand in a boiling deep fat fryer, so in my eyes ‘The End of the F***ing World’ were the real winners.

Ant or Dec proved they’re omnipresent as ever (rehab stints and all) when they missed out on the Entertainment Programme Award for their Saturday Night Takeaway, yet won anyway with Britain’s Got Talent, a pie they too have their multi-million pound fingers firmly in. 

My person of the night though was the iconic David Attenborough.  The man is liquid gold, and as the girl who locked herself in her bedroom for three days when Steve Irwin died in 2006 (true story, ask my mum), I am genuinely afraid that he might not be immortal.  Crikey.  Attenborough scooped up Virgin’s Must-See Moment Award for the scene of a mother pilot whale grieving the loss of her calf.  Despite the incredibly tough competition of Stormzy’s appearance on Love Island, Blue Planet II pulled through.  Enough to justify their loss in the Specialist Factual category?  Absolutely not.

Top Five Must Watch (the winners):

  • Love Island (Reality and Constructed Factual): tanned, oily strangers shagging in a villa teeming with 69 (see what they did there!) cameras and declaring their undying love within two and a half minutes will never get old
  • The Crown (Supporting Actress): an ode to the naughty sister, Princess Margaret steals the show
  • Ambulance (Factual Series): a completely moving piece of documentary
  • This Country (Scripted Comedy & Female Performance in a Comedy Programme): a scarecrow festival, an over-exuberant village vicar, and a poo in a tent – the West Country in its true beauty
  • Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad (Single Documentary): when Rio collected the award, he admitted: “I’m normally quite used to picking up trophies – but I’m not used to talking after”.  


Top Five Must Watch (the losers):

  • End of the F***ing World (Drama Series): they steal a car, rob a petrol station, murder a rapist, and it’s all darkly funny
  • Line of Duty (Drama Series; Leading Actress; Supporting Actor; Must-See Moment): I may never trust a policeman again…
  • Big Little Lies (International): Reese has come a long way from her Elle Woods days
  • Louis Theroux: Talking to Anorexia (Single Documentary): Lou, blunt as ever, gets to the heart of an epidemic
  • Eating With My Ex (Short-Form Programme): sign me up, I got some things to say