BAFTAs facing boycott from Netflix over snubs

THE BAFTA TV Awards were back to their glamorous best – with telly’s beautiful people stepping on to the red carpet for the first time since Covid sent the event online.

But behind the scenes, there has been controversy over how Channel 4’s brave and hugely popular HIV drama It’s A Sin failed to scoop a single gong.

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Olly Alexander was nominated for Leading Actor for his role in It’s A Sin
Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan wowed in this statement gown

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Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan wowed in this statement gown
Michelle Keegan, glamorous in this pink dress, abandoned the night well before the after-party

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Michelle Keegan, glamorous in this pink dress, abandoned the night well before the after-party

And the evening was branded a “flop” after big-name celebrities including Jodie Comer and michelle keegan abandoned the night well before the after-party.

Channel 4 bosses were not the only ones left disappointed as staff of netflix were frustrated its output was also overlooked.

The streaming giant’s hit show Sex Education failed to get two acting awards, for new Doctor Who actor Ncuti Gatwa and Aimee Lou Wood.

Squid Game missed out on two gongs, while Call My Agent, Lupin, Sweet Tooth and Nail Bomber: Manhunt all lost out.

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It felt like such a kicking, one worker at the bash joked and added they “wouldn’t bother coming next time”.

It’s A Sin was expected to sweep the board on Sunday night, with seven nominations — more than any other.

Olly AlexanderLydia West, Callum Scott Howells, David Carlyle and Omari Douglas were all up for gongs, and the show was in the running for Mini-series.

Around 18million viewers tuned in to the show, which covered the HIV epidemic among London’s gay community in the Eighties.

It’s A Sin was widely considered powerful and insightful, shining a light on LGBTQ+ history in a way that no other program has before. It educated, raised awareness and helped make thousands for charity.

But for the BAFTA TV jury, that clearly wasn’t enough.

Unlike the National Television Awards, which is largely voted for by the public, this shadowy panel is in charge of everything from whittling down long lists to making the final decision on who gets the actual gongs.

It meant It’s A Sin’s Lydia West lost out on the Leading Actress award to Jodie Comer for Channel 4’s Help, which tackled the care crisis during the coronavirus pandemic.

Callum Scott Howells, David Carlyle and Omari Douglas were all nominated for Supporting Actor, an award that went to Matthew Macfadyen in Succession.

BBC’s hard-hitting prison drama Time, starring Stephen Graham, took the award for Mini-series, while Must-See Moment was awarded to Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice’s silent dance section during a routine on Strictly Come Dancing.

Publicly, the cast of It’s A Sin—clad in jewel tones and pastel suits for the occasion—remained stoic.

Olly wrote on Instagram: “So, so, so happy to be back with my It’s A Sin family.

“Thank you so much for all the love for the show and congratulations to all the winners tonight. I LOVE BEING GAY.”

And show creator Russell T Davies shared a picture of the cast on Instagram, writing: “Look at these winners. We had a very happy night. Great shows won and great shows didn’t, and UK TV is wonderful. Long live It’s A Sin.”

But in reality the team were struck dumb by the snub.

One of the cast was heard declaring they would “drink the bar dry” in retaliation.

Meanwhile Olly Alexander fled the bash and did not join his fellow cast members at the after-party held at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.

Viewers at home were also baffled by the decision. One wrote on Instagram: “They will still be talking about this very special show and its amazing cast for years and years from now. #baftaknownothing.”

Another said: “I LOVED Time, Jimmy McGovern never fails to get you in the guts and Sean Bean and Stephen Graham were outstanding. But that award belonged to #ItsASin.”

HIV charity chiefs were similarly frustrated.

Richard Angell, of The Terrence Higgins Trust, wrote: “Can’t believe It’s A Sin didn’t win anything at tonight’s Bafta awards. Robbed.”

And TV critic Scott Bryan said: “This is not just a show for the year, it’s one of the shows that will stand the test of time.

“So to not see it get the recognition it absolutely deserves is gut-wrenching.”

The sense of disappointment extended to the after-party, which was short on major stars after top personalities such as Tess Daly and Olivia Colman gave it a miss.

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Just a scattering of stars such as Alma’s Not Normal’s Sophie Willan and Strictly’s Janette Manrara were enjoying the disco.

With viewers slumping to a peak of just 3.8million — down from 4.1million at the pre-pandemic bash in 2019 and well below the six million who tuned in for 2015’s event — it is a sentiment perhaps also shared in living rooms across Britain.

‘The judges’ decision are at odds with the public’

By Andy Halls, Head of TV and Bafta juror

IT’S a Sin doesn’t need an award to justify its place in the history books.

It was a groundbreaking drama when it aired, and it will be when it’s watched back in years to come.

And it has probably done more to educate people on HIV/Aids than any documentary or school book ever could.

But why did its cast of rising stars wake up on Monday morning with nothing but a hangover despite being the most-nominated series of the evening? That will be because it is the TV Baftas, where sense can sometimes go out of the window.

All the talk was around Olly Alexander being beaten in the Leading Actor category, or the show not winning Mini-series.

But if ever a decision summed up the lunacy of the awards, it was the Supporting Actor gong. Matthew Macfadyen took that home for Succession, despite Omari Douglas or Callum Scott Howells being obvious choices.

From my experience, many jurors often care more about the things their pals on Twitter enjoy and so their view of the world gets ever narrower. They get so caught up in making the “right decision” they miss an open goal by miles. Like on Sunday.

DECIDED BY LUVVIES

And the decision ends up being at odds with the views of the Great British public, for whom TV shows are made.

Rival bash the National Television Awards, for example, is a mainstream event voted for by the public — so most of the shows you think deserve to win generally do. The Baftas by comparison is decided on by telly luvvies.

Perhaps some of the juries thought they didn’t need to give their trophy to an It’s A Sin star given they would probably win one of the other six categories they were up for?

The only snub I agree with was Sean Bean winning Leading Actor over Olly Alexander. Sean’s turn in BBC prison drama Time was nothing short of exceptional. Any other year and Olly would have won it.

A disclaimer here, that I too am on a Bafta TV panel. But I only help whittle down 100 or so longlisted nominees before the public decides on what should win the Virgin Media Must-See Moment Award.

That was another that It’s A Sin was up for. But there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice were the nailed-on recipients of that gong.

Their silent Strictly routine was the TV moment of the year, one that if you didn’t watch live you immediately found it online.

But perhaps it’s time that the other Bafta categories followed suit.

Jodie Comer won the Leading Actress Award for Help

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Jodie Comer won the Leading Actress Award for Help
Ncuti Gatwa attended the bash just hours after being revealed as the new Doctor Who

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Ncuti Gatwa attended the bash just hours after being revealed as the new Doctor Who
Hugely popular HIV drama It's A Sin failed to scoop a single gong

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Hugely popular HIV drama It’s A Sin failed to scoop a single gong
Ant, Dec and Olivia Colman also picked up gongs

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Ant, Dec and Olivia Colman also picked up gongs
Tess Daly gave the after-party a miss

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Tess Daly gave the after-party a miss
Stephen Graham and wife Grace were evidently pleased after Time won Best Mini-series

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Stephen Graham and wife Grace were evidently pleased after Time won Best Mini-series
Omari Douglas was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in It's A Sin

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Omari Douglas was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in It’s A Sin
Co-star Callum Scott Howells was also nominated

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Co-star Callum Scott Howells was also nominated
Strictly's Johannes Radebe and his boyfriend John were in attendance

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Strictly’s Johannes Radebe and his boyfriend John were in attendance

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