Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan took digs at the BBC, the Gary Lineker controversy and the furore over Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield’s visit to the late Queen’s lying in state as they opened the British Academy TV Awards with P&O Cruises with a string of ‘edgy’ jokes.
The pair kicked off the ceremony in London’s Royal Festival Hall on Sunday night, with shows including The Crown, This Is Going To Hurt and Bad Sisters battling it out.
It comes after it was confirmed earlier on Sunday that Holly and Phil will both appear on This Morning tomorrow, despite reports their friendship has completely broken down amid a tense 48 hours of talks.
Beckett said: ‘As we all know this year, there have been one or two issues with the subject of the BBC and balance. It’s not easy for comedians to host an award show on the BBC. We need to be funny. We need to be professional and also offer balanced views. This booking is perfect for balance.
‘I see a room filled with some of the hardest working and most talented people in TV all driven by a passion and a love for their craft.’
Savage! Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan took digs at the BBC, the Gary Lineker controversy and the furore over Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield ‘s visit to the late Queen’s lying in state as they opened the British Academy TV Awards
Ranganathan added: ‘Whereas I see a roomful of shark-eyed narcissists.’
The pair then chimed in unison: ‘Balance.’
Gesturing to Imelda Staunton, who is in the running for the best actress prize for her role as the late Queen in The Crown, Beckett said: ‘She’s nominated for her performance in The Crown.
‘Apparently, Holly and Phil got to watch that a couple of days before everybody else. A little bit of edge for you, early doors.’
The This Morning hosts were criticised on social media after they saw the late Queen lying in state without taking part in the public queue.
They later insisted they would ‘never jump a queue’ and their visit was for the purposes of reporting on the event.
Later Rob joked: ‘A few months back we were left hoping that The Traitors would be making a swift return to BBC One. Well that’s what some of the papers called the Match Of The Day presenters anyway. Are we edgy? I think we might be edgy.’
Lineker was briefly suspended as host of Match Of The Day in March over his criticism of the Government’s asylum policy on Twitter but returned to air following a boycott by top on-air talent at the broadcaster.
Brutal! The pair kicked off the ceremony in London’s Royal Festival Hall on Sunday night, with shows including The Crown, This Is Going To Hurt and Bad Sisters battling it out
Pundits and presenters dropping out of a host of football shows in solidarity with Lineker prompted two days of disruption to TV and radio schedules.
Siobhan McSweeney won her first BAFTA TV award for best female performance in a comedy programme, for playing Sister Michael, the eye-rolling principal of the show’s Our Lady Immaculate College in the Channel 4 programme Derry Girls.
The comedy about a group of teenagers growing up in Londonderry in the 1990s was a sleeper hit that built a large and committed following across its three series. Set during the Troubles, the show was praised for offering a new perspective on the period of the IRA and loyalist ceasefires through the eyes of a group of young girls.
In the humorous speech, which she said in double speed given the short time given, she said: ‘So I’ve been warned not to do a political statement, so as my mother laid dying in Cork, one of the very last things she said to me was would I not consider retraining as a teacher. If she could see me now, getting a Bafta for playing a teacher. Joke’s on you.’
She also thanked Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee ‘for not listening to me when I said I could play all the girls parts’ and she also thanked Channel 4, adding ‘you have my devotion’.
McSweeney added: ‘To the people in Derry, thank you taking me into your hearts and living room, despite the ignorance of your so-called leaders in Dublin, Stormont and Westminster. Into the words of my beloved Sister Michael, ‘its time they started to wise up’.
The reality and constructed factual award was given to psychological adventure show, The Traitors, and collecting the prize, presenter Claudia Winkleman, 51, said she and the team are ‘blown away by this, thank you so much’.
She also thanked the BBC and referenced the meeting where commissioning editors agreed to make the show saying: ‘We are going to Scotland, we’re going to use the word murder – are you okay with that?’
Lenny Rush took home the award for Best Male Comedy Performance for his lauded performance in Am I Being Unreasonable?
Anne-Marie Duff, won the Supporting Actress Award for the comedy Bad Sisters, said she was ‘completely shocked’ and thanked the cast and production team.
She added that TV is a ‘political arena’ and said she had a message to people at home.
Duff said: ‘If someone..is in their life who is bullying them who is telling them that who they are is wrong, that what they are isn’t enough…I am telling you now you are everything.’
Lavish! Stars descended on London’s Royal Festival Hall for the star-studded ceremony