Sunday 20 October 2019

It’s a great time for British storytellers, says Bafta chief

This year’s Bafta TV nominations include shows like Killing Eve, The Bodyguard and A Very English Scandal.

Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Norman Scott in BBC One’s A Very English Scandal (Kieron McCarron/BBC/PA)
Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Norman Scott in BBC One’s A Very English Scandal (Kieron McCarron/BBC/PA)

By Kerri-Ann Roper, Press Association Entertainment Editor

Bafta chairwoman Dame Pippa Harris has praised traditional broadcasters for making “extraordinary programmes” despite competition from streaming services.

The gritty female-fronted drama Killing Eve leads this year’s Bafta TV nominations with 14 nods, while other stand-out British dramas like A Very English Scandal and Bodyguard are also in the running for awards.

Netflix’s first adult interactive programme, Bandersnatch (Black Mirror), received three nominations, and the first episode of its revamped series of Queer Eye is on the shortlist for this year’s Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment.

Shows aired on broadcast television far outweigh those shown on streaming services in this year’s nominations, with Amazon not receiving any nominations.

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Dame Pippa Harris, chairwoman of Bafta, praised traditional broadcasters for making ‘extraordinary programmes’ (PA)

Dame Pippa told the Press Association: “I think it’s a tough time for them (public service broadcasters and linear platforms), to be honest, but I think if you look at the results here (Bafta TV nominations), the linear platforms and public service broadcasters in this country are making some extraordinary programmes, it’s been a really strong year.

“I think, in a way, that is what programme-makers and commissioners have got to do – which is to up our game to make the best shows that we can make and have the confidence to think they will connect with audiences.

“Netflix and Apple and all the other people now who are putting money into content, they will carry on doing that, but as long as the BBC and other PSBs carry on making this great content, I think they have a rosy future regardless of what the streaming services do.”

Amazon and Netflix both face competition from the Apple TV+ platform, which was announced this week and has signed up a host of A-list talent including Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Dame Pippa also hailed the success of British dramas resonating with audiences in other countries.

She said: “It goes in waves but it certainly feels, at the moment, this is an extraordinary time. I know from making dramas which sell around the world – we sell Call The Midwife in over 200 territories and it’s just as popular overseas as it is at home.

“And I think that’s always been the strength of, particularly British drama, we make stories for people in the UK, but people, as Andy Harries did when he made The Crown, but they sell, and people around the world find those stories fascinating, so I think it’s a great time for British storytellers.”

The Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards take place in London on May 12.

PA Media

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