BAFTA to Honor TV Chef Delia Smith With Special Award

Delia Smith - P 2013
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Smith, a regular on British TV screens since 1973, will be the subject of a BAFTA Special Award in April.

LONDON – TV cook, author and broadcaster Delia Smith, a familiar face to millions in U.K. households, is to be presented with a special award by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Smith is scheduled to pick up a BAFTA Special Award during a tribute event April 30 at BAFTA’s central London HQ. The special nod is in honor of Smith's contribution to TV cookery and services to broadcasting.

"A BAFTA Tribute: Delia Smith" will celebrate her body of work over the last 40 years.

BAFTA’s television committee chairman Andrew Newman noted that Smith was "the first TV cook to be recognized by her first name alone, and her achievements have paved the way for today’s cooking programs and formats." Newman suggested that popular cookery programs such as ratings-winners The Great British Bake Off or Masterchef  "would not have happened without her contribution."

Smith said: "After the initial shock, I’m very proud to receive this honor from BAFTA as I've been a passionate movie buff ever since I was a small child, and television broadcasting has been a huge part of my life. So thank you so much BAFTA."

BAFTA produces "one or two tributes a year" to major figures from the television and film industries who have contributed greatly to the art form and demonstrated excellence in their field.

Smith follows recent tributes for producer Betty Willingale, costume designer Phyllis Dalton, production designer Ken Adam, cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, animator Ray Harryhausen and director Nicolas Roeg.

Smith began her TV career in 1973 as presenter of a BBC One show entitled Family Fare. Her first cookery book How to Cheat at Cooking was published in 1971 and, several books later, Delia approached the BBC with the idea for the first televised cookery course. The result, Delia Smith’s Cookery Course Part One, was broadcast in 1978, followed by Part Two in 1980 and Part Three in 1981.

Smith has been a regular on British TV screens ever since. Delia’s Classic Christmas, which gained an audience of nearly 4 million in December 2009, marked her first Christmas program for nearly 20 years.

The cook and broadcaster has sold over 21 million books worldwide.