BAFTA TV Awards 2021 roundup: Diversity’s Black Lives Matter performance triumphs as The Crown misses out

Jordan and Ashley Banjo accept their award. Credit: PA

Dance group Diversity's controversial Black Lives Matter performance has won a top gong at the Baftas - winning the ceremony's only award voted for by the public.

Ashley Banjo thanked the thousands of people who complained about the dance troupe’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent as the routine won the only award voted for by the public, the must-see moment.

The performance saw a man in a police uniform kneel on Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd and sparking more than 24,000 complaints to Ofcom.

But the TV watchdog dismissed the complaints, concluding that the routine's "central message was a call for social cohesion and unity".

Banjo and his brother Jordan covered their faces in their hands as it was announced the dance troupe had won.

Ashley Banjo said: "This is mad, this is so much more than just an award.

"I want to just say first thank you to every single person who voted for us, it means so much.

"Thank you to everyone who stood by us.

"Every phone call, text, comment, DM, you guys made the difference to what was a really dark time, being in the storm of 30,000 complaints and just a torrent of racially charged abuse, threats, all of it, it was a dark time and that support made all the difference.

"In a way, I have to say thank you to the people that complained, the people that did all of that abuse because you showed the truth.

"You showed exactly why this performance, this moment, was necessary.

"But for all of those people, just take a look, because as much as there are so many conversations and so much that needs to change, this is what change looks like.

"And I'm so proud to be standing here and so thankful to all of those people.

"And for me, this is about not representing the minority.

"It felt like we weren't at the time, but standing here right now, this represents the majority.

"So thank you all so much.

"Let's keep having those difficult conversations, let's keep standing up for what's right regardless of the colour of our skin and we will achieve that equality."

Meanwhile, The Crown, which was nominated for four prizes, left home empty handed.

Josh O'Connor, who was nominated in the leading actor category for his turn as the Prince of Wales, was defeated by Normal People's Paul Mescal, while Tobias Menzies, who plays the Duke of Edinburgh, lost out on the supporting actor prize to Small Axe's Malachi Kirby.

Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Princess Margaret, was pipped to the supporting actress prize by Rakie Ayola for Anthony while Save Me Too beat the show to the drama series prize.


Rakie Ayola sat down with Nina Nannar for a chat before the ceremony - listen here:

Ayola paid a moving tribute to murdered black teenager Anthony Walker and his mother as she won a Bafta for her role in a TV drama about the life he might have lived.

She was recognised for her performance as Gee Walker in Anthony, a one-off film written by Jimmy McGovern about the life her son might have lived had he not been murdered by two white men in an unprovoked racist attack in a Liverpool park in 2005 when he was 18.

Collecting the best supporting actress Bafta, she said: "I would ask anyone, if you think for a second that you know anybody who thinks all they have is to take the life of another, do whatever you can to stop them.

"Gee Walker said to me the one reason she wanted her son's story to be told is because she thought people might watch it and they might think about it just long enough for someone to get away, just a few seconds to get up off the floor and run."

Michaela Coel's sexual consent drama I May Destroy You won best miniseries, with the writer named best actress at the ceremony for her performance in the programme.

Collecting the actress prize, she dedicated the award to the show's director of intimacy Ita O'Brien, saying: "Thank you for your existence in our industry, for making the space safe for creating physical, emotional, and professional boundaries so that we can make work about exploitation, loss of respect, about abuse of power, without being exploited or abused in the process.

"I know what it's like to shoot without an intimacy director, the messy, embarrassing feeling for the crew, the internal devastation for the actor.

"Your direction was essential to my show.

"And I believe essential for every production company that wants to make work exploring themes of consent."

Paul Mescal was named best actor for his turn in Normal People and thanked "the best scene partner," his co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones. Malachi Kirby was named best supporting actor for his role in Sir Steve McQueen's anthology series Small Axe, while Sex Education star Aimee Lou Wood won the gong for female performance in a comedy programme and This Country's Charlie Cooper won the male comedy performance prize.

Sitting In Limbo, inspired by the Windrush scandal, was named best single drama.

Writer Stephen S Thompson dedicated the win to the victims of the scandal, adding: "We see you, we hear you, and we honour you."

Save Me Too, starring Lennie James and Suranne Jones, was named best drama.