The BAFTA TV Writer Award

on 01 July 2011. Posted in TV

By Gail Renard, Chair of the WGGB Television Committee

Let me start by saying I have every respect for BAFTA. I’m a member and also a proud BAFTA Award winner and, if I could, I’d use the picture from that moment as my passport photo.

But writers have been coming to the Guild with a grievance. It's been a concern that, for the past few years, BAFTA has shifted the Writer Award to their Craft Awards, which is no longer a part of their main televised Television Awards.

Added to that, BAFTA only give one award for writers, covering wildly different genres. In this year’s category were the one-off Eric And Ernie; comedy series Getting On and The Inbetweeners, as well as the dramatic mini-series, Five Daughters. These shows are all superb and award-worthy in their own ways, but how can one possibly (and fairly) compare televisual chalk and cheese?

Over the past two years, the Guild’s Television Committee has written to BAFTA on several occasions asking them to reconsider. Our requests have been sadly refused. In answer to our members’ continuing pleas, the TV Committee proposed a motion which was passed unanimously last week: 'The AGM would respectfully ask BAFTA to reinstate writers as part of the main awards, where they clearly belong. The writer is the creator of any work.'

We also asked BAFTA for separate comedy and drama awards for writers; as there already are for actors and every indeed other category.

As ever, let’s remind the world that without writers, there’d be no shows. We start with a blank
page, often without pay at first, sometimes developing a project for years. We create something out of nothing. We’re there at the start as the creators; an integral part of the production. We should bethere at the end as well, getting honoured alongside our peers who wouldn’t be there, but for our work.

Let’s all join together and ask BAFTA to please reinstate the writers' awards in their main ceremony and to have separate comedy and drama awards for writers. And remember, despite rumours to the contrary, that writers are highly photogenic.