A wry sense of humor permeated the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards on Sunday, May 27. During his opening remarks, outgoing Academy Chairman Tim Corrie took the press to task for claims that BAFTA has gone mad and dumbed down content.
"We must have done something right," Corrie said in response to these claims. "BAFTA is a broad church, and as such, we embrace a remarkable range of talent, craftsmanship, creative enterprise, and sheer entertainment, as well as noise. And we are proud of that."
"Psychoville" wins the BAFTA New Media Award.
Like television talent on this side of the pond, Britain's creative forces branched out into the so-called new media. Most television programs have an online presence these days, including episode summaries, cast bios plus material that could not be broadcast.
"Psychoville," a BBC 2 program, is populated with characters like Mr. Jelly, a clown whose business has fallen off because he had one hand replaced with a prosthetic. The show took home the BAFTA Award for New Media.
"Thank you for this. There was a television series that accompanied the website; I don't know whether you saw it," said "Psychoville" writer Reece Shearsmith. "We loved doing them. The websites were all the best bits we couldn't put in the show online, so it was lovely not having to waste anything."
"Frozen Planet" loses to "Mummifying Alan" for Specialist Factual series.
"Frozen Planet," the brilliant documentary series about the coldest regions on Earth, was a hit in both the United States and Britain. The directors of each segment went the extra mile for the series, enduring extreme temperatures to shoot unprecedented nature footage.
This documentary series seemed like a shoo-in for BAFTA's Specialist Factual Award, but "Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret," won this honor. Alan Billis volunteered to have himself mummified so scientists could study the effects of the process used by the Egyptians. A team of scientists preserved his body, capturing the process with their documentary cameras.
In a video clip available on the Channel 4 website, Alan Billis talks candidly about his decision to become a body donor.
"Channel 4 was looking for someone with a terminal illness to volunteer to be mummified," Billis explained. "Once you're dead, you're dead. A funeral is just disposal. You take a dog to the vet, they put it to sleep and chuck it in a furnace. They do the same with us, but they charge us a fortune to put us in a wooden overcoat."
Based on the quality of the material on the Channel 4 website, "Mummifying Alan" could easily have won a BAFTA for its online presence, as well.
"Modern Family" loses in the International Category.
BAFTA's International Award had a short list of nominees that included the popular sitcom "Modern Family" Though the show's various takes on the family unit translate very well, the Danish political series "Borgen" took top honors in this category. The show follows the ongoing struggles of Denmark's first female Prime Minister.
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