“Awards are a mirror to the industry.”
That was the message from Krishnendu Majumdar opening the BAFTA Television Awards in London this evening.
The outgoing BAFTA Chair used his final awards speech after three years in post to push the industry on its ongoing work for representation both on- and off-screen.
“I’m so proud of the journey we’ve been on and the seismic changes BAFTA has made over the last three years,” he said. “That work continues because progression on making this industry more representative, inclusive, and equitable is a collective responsibility. It’s on all of us.
“Awards are a mirror to the industry. They offer a snapshot of a moment in time. They reward excellence and celebrate success, and they also tell us a lot about the current picture of the UK television sector.
“So let’s redouble our efforts. Let’s look again at how we are supporting people from all backgrounds – not just to enter the industry but to stay in the industry and thrive in sustainable careers.
BAFTA itself is pushing hard to improve is own diversity work, with Majumdar making it a priority throughout his tenure. However, the number of nominees from ethnic backgrounds dropped to 24% this year, from more than 40% in the past two. BAFTA says the number in line with industry benchmarks and above the national population breakdown in the 2021 census.
Last year’s film awards saw the hashtag #BaftaSoWhite trend after what critics deemed to be a lack of diversity among its winners. There was also some surprise this year when all six Best Actress nominees in the TV awards were revealed to be white, as Deadline reported in March.
Earlier this month, Majumdar told members in a letter that “setting diversity quotas for voting is not the answer” for BAFTA awards programs.
As of this month, BAFTA’s current membership comprises a 42:58 female-male split, with 16% of members from underrepresented ethnic groups, 7% with a disability, and 12% identifying as LGBTQIA+.
Majamdar’s time as Chair ends next month, with Sara Putt replacing him.