U.K. Directors Call Out BAFTA Over TV Awards Omissions

U.K television directors say they are consistently being snubbed at the BAFTA TV awards, which took place in London on Sunday.

“Congratulations to all the fantastic directors at the helm of last night’s BAFTA-winning programs,” tweeted Andy Harrower, CEO of professional screen directors association Directors U.K. “So much work goes on behind the scenes, but at the moment, this is work for which directors are not consistently recognized.”

Harrower went on to tweet that despite BAFTA’s own rules regarding candidates for nominations, which state that directors should be nominated ahead of executive producers, directors regularly find themselves left off the list.

“BAFTA rules state that you may list up to six people in your submission from ‘the core creative team and those who had lead creative contribution to the program,’” Harrower continued. “Directors are the beating heart of any production. The rules also state that BAFTA expects directors to be credited in submissions for both scripted and non-scripted programs. Too often, this simply doesn’t happen.”

“When accepting awards submissions and listing nominees on their website, BAFTA must ensure that their own crediting rules are enforced. They must ensure that directors are mentioned. Every time.”

In a review of last night’s awards, Variety found that at least three of the shows nominated left out directors from the production team: “Moneybags,” which was nominated for best daytime; “RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K.,” which was nominated for best reality and constructed factual; and “An Audience with Adele,” which was nominated for best entertainment program.

“Moneybags” nominated four executive producers, a producer and a production manager while director Ollie Bartlett was left off the list. “RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K.” nominated five executive producers (including RuPaul) and a series producer over director Tony Grech-Smith; and “An Audience with Adele” nominated three executive producers, a head of live and a production executive instead of director Liz Clare.

Representatives for “Moneybags” producer Youngest Media, “RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K.” producer World of Wonder and “An Audience With Adele” producer Fulwell 73 did not respond to Variety by press time.

Under BAFTA’s own submission rules for the awards, the organization states that for non-scripted projects, the BAFTA television committee “would expect the producer and director to be listed, followed by any others who had creative control over the program.”

“Executive producers would be accepted if the candidate had creative contribution and as long as the above credits have not been omitted,” the guidelines continue.

The rules also say that candidates “will be reviewed at point of entry.”

However, directors believe BAFTA should do more to ensure the rules are followed.

“It seems to me the rules are being ignored,” says Steve Smith, director of “The Graham Norton Show” and former chair of Directors U.K. “And it seems that BAFTA are simply unable to police them. I don’t know whether they don’t have the resources, but I would have thought the easiest thing is to check the nominations every time they come through and go, ‘Is there a director there?’ If there’s not, why not? Because most programs have a director.”

While it is still no doubt an honor to have worked on a BAFTA-nominated show, those whose names are submitted as part of the production team receive their own BAFTA award statue as well as a certificate. “It’s a professional recognition,” Smith points out. “If it’s just the production that’s won the award then I don’t think you can legitimately claim to be a ‘BAFTA award-winning director.’”

Harrower adds that the issue isn’t limited to just BAFTA.

“It’s a symptom of the state of the industry that directors aren’t consistently recognized for their work, particularly across unscripted and multi-cam genres,” he told Variety. “The issue of fair crediting absolutely isn’t isolated to BAFTA nominations. Directors are vital to the delivery of a final piece — they work across departments as creative problem solvers, crafting shows into what you see and enjoy on screen. The contribution of the director must be recognised, credited and protected.”

Variety has reached out to BAFTA for comment.

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