Right after the BAFTA Awards for film were handed out on Feb. 12, the entire British Academy of Film and Television Arts membership, which numbers in the thousands, was busy casting their nomination ballots for the TV Awards. They had from Feb. 12 to Feb. 23 to vote for up to six programs or individuals per category.
The top six vote getters in each category then went through to a second round of voting. According to the BAFTA guidelines, “each broadcaster has the opportunity to enter an additional program per category, per channel. In the case of terrestrial channels that have digital channels, the broadcaster can only choose one of their digital channels in which to put a program forward; this does not affect their right to enter their terrestrial channels.” The broadcasters had from February 27 to March 3 to make these submissions.
Thus, the third round of voting may have upwards of 10 further contenders per category supplementing the original six choices of BAFTA members. Voting in this round, which runs from March 27 to March 31, is restricted to voters who sit on the separate juries for each award. They view the tapes and whittle the entries down to four nominees before choosing a winner. It is possible that many of these nominees and even winners could be the secondary submissions of broadcasters rather than the primary picks of BAFTA voters.
There are between nine and a dozen voters per panel and “each jury aims to be balanced in age, sex, experience, ethnicity and in broadcasting allegiances, with a track record of achievement in the genre and with no direct association with a short-listed programme. It must also comprise a mix of related skills such as writers, producers, directors, actors.”
With only four programs nominated per category, the odds of reaping bids are long. And they get even more remote for performers. While there are separate awards for one-off telefilms, miniseries (defined as two to five episodes) and drama series (six to 19 installments), all the performances across these genres are pitted against each other to fight for four slots for each of lead and supporting actor and actress.
On the comedy, there are no supporting awards. And none at all given for performers in continuing dramas such as “Coronation Street” and “Eastenders” which are mainstays of the ITV and BBC primetime schedules respectively with five episodes per week drawing upwards of 10 million viewers.
The craft awards nominations (akin to the Creative Arts races at the Emmys) will be announced March 28 with that ceremony on April 23. The main TV awards nominations will be unveiled on April 11 with the main ceremony on May 14.