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BAFTA Chair Krishnendu Majumdar Reflects on Television Awards’ Virtual Pivot

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) managed to stage its glitzy Film Awards in February at the Royal Albert Hall with legions of celebrities just before the coronavirus lockdown, but its Television Awards on Friday will be a very different affair.

Gone is the traditional red carpet. This year’s event is a virtual ceremony, which will be hosted from an audience-free studio by comedian, filmmaker and actor Richard Ayoade (“Travel Man,” “The IT Crowd”).

Even if it’s not possible for all the nominees and the TV industry to gather in person on the night, BAFTA chair Krishnendu Majumdar — who took over in June from producer Pippa Harris — says it’s important for BAFTA to “celebrate the brilliance and the importance of television” during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

The co-founder of Me+You Productions, Majumdar is currently producing a new series of Dominic Savage’s drama anthology, “I Am,” starring Suranne Jones and Ashley Walters, for Channel 4, which goes into production on Monday. He was previously a showrunner on the BAFTA-nominated hit global franchise “An Idiot Abroad.”

“Especially at the moment, with what we are living through, television really brings people together,” says Majumdar. “TV is one of the most dominant cultural forms in the world today. Long form TV drama has, I think, taken over from the novel in terms of storytelling.”

On hand at Friday’s virtual BAFTA TV Awards will be talent including Adrian Lester, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Paul Mescal and Nina Sosanya to help announce this year’s winners, while the likes of Jeff Goldblum, Chris O’Dowd, David Tennant and Kermit the Frog will present awards via video link.

As with the BAFTA Craft Awards, held earlier this month, the winners will provide pre-recorded acceptance speeches. Frontrunners for this year BAFTAs, considered the U.K.’s

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