BAFTA Unveils TV Awards Rule Changes in Response to Diversity Push, Coronavirus Impact

BAFTA Award - Getty - H 2017
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The changes come just weeks after the British Academy announced seismic changes to its film awards.

Just two weeks after BAFTA announced a series of sweeping changes to its film awards rules following a major seven-month internal review, the British Academy has done the same for TV.

While nowhere near as comprehensive as for film — where more than 120 amendments to its voting, membership and campaigning processes were unveiled — the changes for the TV awards are still sizeable, and come not simply in response to the review but also the BAFTA television committee's annual assessment of its rules and guidelines across both the TV awards and TV craft awards.

Among the changes are the formal introduction of the BFI Diversity Standards for the TV and TV Craft awards following a successful pilot this year. The phased approach to integration means that for 2021, productions must meet at least one of the standards and complete information on standard C, which concerns training. By 2022, productions must meet both standard C and at least one other.

Elsewhere, the number of nominees in the performance categories will increase from four six, and while the number of nominees in the other categories will stay at four, the number of named nominees or production company representatives for each entry will increase from four to six. BAFTA will also offer winners the chance to purchase two additional masks for key individual creatives who were part of the creative process but not one of the six named nominees or production company representatives. This change would seem to to respond to a situation that arose earlier this year when The End of the F***ing World producer Dominic Buchanan penned an open letter calling out BAFTA for preventing him from receiving a physical award for the show, citing inclusivity issues.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, deputy chair of the TV committee Sara Putt said that the incident was "hugely regrettable" but added that conversations about ensuring the right creative talents were rewards had been going on for several years.

"We've been having conversations around the constantly changing and developing nature of TV production, and how there are now more key creatives involved, and that therefore it would it be appropriate to look at the number of masks we award," she said.

Other changes touch on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a new award in 2021 for daytime programming and — just for this year — the eligibility window for soap and continuing drama extended until the end of January 2021.

Alongside the new rules, BAFTA also revealed the new TV award dates for 2021, with the TV and Craft nominations due to be announced April 28, the Craft awards ceremony held May 24 and TV awards ceremony June 6.

"We are delighted to confirm the updated rules and eligibility criteria today, alongside the dates for the 2021 awards," said Hannah Wyatt, chair of BAFTA’s television committee.

"This announcement comes in the wake of the BAFTA 2020 Review publication, which involved an in-depth consultation with the industry and signalled the beginning of a significant cultural shift at BAFTA. We saw significant progress in the diversity of our 2020 Television Awards and these additional changes are designed to continue that trajectory, ensuring BAFTA champions an industry taking proactive steps to level the playing field."