LONDON – “I May Destroy You” won two main prizes at the 2021 British Academy Television Awards, in a ceremony that rewarded TV that tackled tough issues including sexual consent and racism.
The drama about a woman dealing with the aftermath of a sexual assault was named best miniseries, while creator and star Michaela Coel won the best actress prize.
Coel dedicated the award to the show’s director of intimacy, Ita O’Brien, “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.”
Paul Mescal was named best actor for Irish love story “Normal People” at a live ceremony on Sunday with a limited, socially distanced audience.
The best supporting actress trophy went to Rakie Ayola for “Anthony,” a drama based on the death of a Black British teenager in a racist attack in 2005. Malachi Kirby was named best supporting actor for “Small Axe,” director Steve McQueen’s series about Britain’s West Indian community from the 1960s to the 1980s.
“Sitting in Limbo,” inspired by the true story of long-time British residents from the Caribbean threatened with deportation by the government, was named best single drama. Thriller “Save Me Too” took the BAFTA for best drama series.
A tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement by dance troupe Diversity on “Britain’s Got Talent” was named must-see moment of the year, chosen by the public. The routine — which included a man in police uniform kneeling on another dancer — drew both praise and thousands of complaints to the broadcasting regulator.
Troupe member Ashley Banjo thanked supporters, and said people who complained about the routine “showed the truth.”
“You showed exactly why this performance, this moment, was necessary,” he said.