Backstage At The Baftas: A Night Of Shocks

SUNDAY night at the London Palladium proved to be an evening of shocks.
I’m just back from the Bafta TV Awards after the usual hectic evening in the backstage press room.
The online version of tomorrow’s MEN Pg 3 story is here.
I managed to grab a spot right by the side of the press stage, again situated in the Stalls Bar.
Sat beside a Palladium poster from August 1935, featuring Gracie Fields topping the bill, it got pretty crowded at times.
But thanks to large screen TV feeds, an audio switchbox and that proximity to the stage, I did my best to do three things at once.
That is – covering both what was happening on stage in the main theatre and in the winners’ interviews a few feet away on the press stage, at the same time as writing the story on a laptop with our first edition deadline looming.

The awards ceremony started at 6.30pm and finished just before 9pm, with highlights screened “as live” on BBC1 between 8pm and 10pm.
It helps that the results are given out to the media, under a strict embargo, just before the event begins.
Eileen Atkins won the Cranford battle of the Dames to be named Best Actress – Judi Dench had put a fiver on her friend to prevail.

But there was real surprise in the press room, and elsewhere, that the Cheshire ladies failed to win best drama serial.
I also have to admit that my heart sank as I scanned the list of winners and discovered that Life On Mars had again lost out.
Philip Glenister, who plays Gene Hunt, seemed almost resigned beforehand to yet another Bafta snub.
Asked on the red carpet how confident he was, Phil replied: “I’m just here to enjoy it this year.”
Co-star John Simm (Sam Tyler) – not a fan of award ceremonies – was also there to see The Street named Best Drama Series for the second year running.
As you can read in the main story, The Street’s executive producer Sita Williams had words of consolation for Life On Mars.
Speaking in the press room, she said: “I think the world needs Life On Mars and The Street and it would be great if we could both win.”
Heroes won the International award.
Adrian Pasdar and Milo Ventimiglia, who play brothers Nathan and Peter Petrelli, caused a buzz when they came in to talk to us, along with series creator Tim Kring.
More on what they had to say tomorrow.
I also had a chat to Shameless star Gerard Kearns, who was all smiles after The Mark of Cain was named Best Single Drama.
Double British Academy winner Harry Hill told us about his plans for a new ITV1 series, possibly to be filmed next year, called Soapington Way.
But the highlight for many was the very last person on the press stage tonight.
If you saw the BBC1 highlights, you’ll know that Bruce Forsyth received a standing ovation as he accepted his Bafta Fellowship.
He also got a rare round of applause from the media as he walked into the press room.
Bruce, now 80, was on good form as he told us how touched he had been by the Palladium accolade.
“The whole audience seemed to capture a moment that will live with me forever.”
He also confirmed plans to host the next series of Strictly Come Dancing and tried to put claims of a subsequent TV retirement into perspective.
“Who knows what will happen in the future.”
I’ll have more on Bruce, those Heroes and the rest of tonight’s events in the morning.
Cranford Star Shines At Baftas
TV Awards Blogs


Filed under News

2 responses to “Backstage At The Baftas: A Night Of Shocks

  1. Janet

    I have now come to the conclusion that if Life On Mars had been nominated against a tomato, it would have been a red spherical object making its way to the stage last night.
    And as for Cranford. Words fail me.
    Thanks for your report Ian, hope the sandwiches weren’t as unpleasant as you envisaged!

  2. Paul Sheehan

    “Cranford” will be a strong competitor at this year’s Emmys. It airs on producing partner PBS in May. With Atkins’ surprise win, perhaps the powers that be will now promote her as well as Dench for best actress in a movie or mini-series.
    While Atkins never won a BAFTA before, she was a co-creator, with Jean Marsh, of “Upstairs, Downstairs.” That serial about life in Edwardian England won 2 BAFTAs and 4 Emmys as best series.

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