BAFTA Scraps Special Prize At 2021 TV Awards After Noel Clarke Controversy

TV

BAFTA has scrapped the special prizes at its TV awards this year following the controversy surrounding its decision to hand Noel Clarke a similar gong in April.

The main TV awards take place on June 6, but there will be no Fellowship prize or Special Award, which was won last year by Idris Elba. BAFTA told members that it has “temporarily paused” awards within its gift as it reviews procedures.

It follows BAFTA coming under fire for pressing ahead with Clarke’s Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award earlier this year, despite the charity being presented with allegations of sexual conduct made against the Bulletproof and Doctor Who star. Clarke vehemently denies wrongdoing.

BAFTA said it attempted to verify the allegations, but was unable to do so. The organization ultimately concluded that it would have been “improper” to halt the award “based on the extremely limited information that we had where the ultimate sources were unknown.”

Clarke’s BAFTA award and membership were later suspended when The Guardian published an investigation on Clarke, in which 20 women accused him of behaving inappropriately. Clarke has apologized if his “actions have affected people in ways I did not intend or realise,” but denies “sexual misconduct or criminal wrongdoing.”

A BAFTA spokeswoman said: “We have recently announced that we are conducting a review of the processes governing awards that are in the gift of the academy, so we have temporarily paused the Special Awards and Fellowships and they will not feature in this Sunday’s ceremony.”

The decision to scrap special prizes at the TV awards follows there being no achievement gong being awarded at the BAFTA TV Craft Awards last month. In 2020, Nicky Sargent and Vikki Dunn, founders of post-production facility The Farm, took home the Special Award.

The main TV awards take place on Sunday at 7PM. Those attending in-person will include Michaela Coel, Jodie Comer, Paul Mescal, Graham Norton, and Billie Piper as BAFTA invites nominees from categories including leading actor, leading actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, entertainment performance, male performance in a comedy, and female performance in a comedy.

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