BAFTA TV Awards Change Rules To Allow Brit-Produced, U.S. Series To Enter Following ‘Killing Eve’ Controversy

Killing Eve won best drama series at last year’s BAFTA TV Awards but the Phoebe Waller-Bridge-created series seems to have had an even bigger impact on the event after organizers unveiled a formal rule change to allow U.S.-funded series to enter UK categories.

Last year, the BBC America drama found its way to pick up 14 nominations after The British Academy of Film and Television Arts bent its own rules to allow the series, produced by UK indie Sid Gentle Films.

Now, BAFTA has changed the rules meaning that ‘UK programs’ will no longer be required to premiere in the UK to be eligible for UK production categories. Series must still be initiated and developed in the UK with creative control residing in the UK, which Killing Eve was deemed to have done. The move comes as more and more British producers are being commissioned directly by U.S. networks and streaming services, although most of these shows come back to the UK in some form.

It comes after the BAFTA TV Awards changed the rules in 2016 to put more focus on the creativity rather than the funding. Before that, at least 50% of a show’s budget had to come from the UK to be considered for the non-international categories but the changes meant that shows such as BBC/AMC co-pro The Night Manager was eligible as the creative resided in Britain.

Emma Baehr, Director of Awards and Membership at BAFTA told Deadline that the way that the TV business was changing, particularly becoming more global with increased funding from around the world, meant that the organization wanted to ensure that the best British shows were eligible.

Hannah Wyatt, Chair of BAFTA’s Television Committee, said, “BAFTA is committed to rewarding British productions that can be enjoyed by British audiences. We are always looking to reflect the ever-changing industry, ensuring our rules remain fit for purpose. As we see British creative talent and productions increasingly capturing global audiences, we feel now in the right time to make this adjustment.”

Elsewhere, BAFTA is piloting the introduction of BFI Diversity Standards for all UK production categories, aiming to introduce these fully for the 2021 Awards. BAFTA’s committees and jury chairs are currently being offered independent unconscious bias training ahead of the 2020 awards season.

Amanda Berry, CEO at BAFTA, added, “Working in close consultation with the BFI and the wider television industry, we are delighted to be piloting the introduction of the BFI Diversity Standards, with the plan to fully introduce diversity standards for 2021. Our aim is to bring the industry together to improve diversity and inclusion through sharing best practice, encouraging collaboration, driving change and, ultimately, to become more inclusive.”

Next year’s BAFTA TV Awards will also include a Casting award in the Television Craft Awards for the first time.

Shaheen Baig, Casting Director of Peaky Blinders and Black Mirror, said: “I am delighted to see BAFTA recognising casting talent across the television industry. The award will help promote a deeper understanding of the vital role casting plays in television production, not only through championing representation on-screen but also in nurturing and discovering new talent.”

The BAFTA TV Awards will take place in London on Sunday May 17 2020 at the Royal Festival Hall with nominations announced on Thursday March 26. The British Academy Television Craft Awards will take place on Sunday April 26 2020, returning to The Brewery in London.

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