Bafta TV Awards: Delayed ceremony to go ahead behind closed doors

Jodie Comer and Benedict Cumberbatch with their Baftas

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Winners won’t be able to get as close as Jodie Comer and Benedict Cumberbatch did last year

This year’s Bafta Television Awards will be broadcast from behind closed doors after being delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The honours are normally handed out at a glittering ceremony attended by the country’s biggest TV stars.

But this year, Richard Ayoade will host from a closed studio and winners will give acceptance speeches virtually.

The event had been due to take place on 17 May, but will now happen on 31 July. It will be broadcast on BBC One.

The nominations will be announced next Thursday.

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Richard Ayoade will present the Bafta TV Awards for the first time

In a statement, actor, presenter and writer Ayoade joked: “I am as surprised as you are that this is still going ahead.”

Bafta’s Craft Awards, meanwhile, which celebrate behind-the-scenes achievements, will now be streamed on 17 July, hosted by fellow comic actor Stephen Mangan.

While many of this year’s major film and TV awards – including the Oscars, Bafta Film Awards and National Television Awards – took place before the virus began to wreak havoc around the globe.

But some others have since taken place behind closed doors. In March, Fleabag won two prizes at an adapted Royal Television Society Programme Awards, while Dara O’Briain hosted the Bafta Games Awards from home in April.

Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry said they were “proud” to be able to deliver two more awards shows “during this difficult time”.

“We want to celebrate and reward the talented individuals who make up the television industry, both behind and in front of the camera, many of whom have continued to entertain and inform the nation in recent weeks,” she said.

Elsewhere, it was decided this week that the Turner Prize, the most high-profile award in British art, will not be given out this year because of the upheaval caused by the coronavirus.

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