Heroines of BAFTA

The TV BAFTA’s took place on Sunday evening at London’s Royal Festival hall. The event was attended by some of the stars and creators of the best comedies, documentaries and dramas and as the winners were revealed, it became clear this was a great night for women. As I’m sure you already know, BBC’s Killing Eve was the talk of the ceremony as it picked up three awards from five nominations for Best Drama, Supporting Actress and Leading Actress. Many articles have already been written about why this witty, stylish drama (created for TV by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) was a worthy winner and while I agree, that isn’t the subject of this post.

I want to focus on the lesser known women, in particular Nicola Shindler, who received the Special Award. Nicola is the founder of the independent drama production company Red Productions, whose work has won a total of 11 BAFTA’s. She founded Red Productions 21 years ago and they have produced several well-known TV dramas including Clocking OffQueer as FolkScott and BaileyHappy ValleyTrust Me and The Five. Their forthcoming drama Years and Years will be broadcast on BBC One from Tuesday 14

Joan Bakewell was also honored with the BAFTA Fellowship for her work as a journalist and presenter. She has been working in TV since 1965 and her presenting roles span several genres – from arts and culture to current affairs, across both radio and televisionBakewell’s most notable early success was Late Night Line-Up, a discussion programme broadcast on BBC Two in the 1960s.

Emma Thomas with her BAFTA TV Craft Special Award. Image: BAFTA/Guy Levy

Another BAFTA honouree is Emma Thomas who won the BAFTA TV Craft Special Award. The TV Craft Awards were held in April and Emma was honoured for her work as a Script Supervisor. Having worked in the industry for over three decades, she has worked on over 50 productions including Birds of a Feather, LutherCatastrophe and the police series drama The Bill. Emma is also on the board for WTFV – an organisation that supports women working in film and TV, and a member of the BAFTA board.

During his speech before announcing the winner of the Best Actress Award, actor and comedian Steve Coogan joked “of course, women are quite fashionable at the moment,” and he’s right. We are currently amid a wave of female empowerment and recognition, especially within film and TV. But what the work of the women mentioned indicates is that this wave is long overdue.

By Karla Williams

Karla is a TV Screenwriter and co-founder of MsMono.