Bafta's best actor makes history as first non-white winner


Adeel AkhtarImage copyright
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Adeel has also starred in The Night Manager and Apple Tree Yard

Adeel Akhtar has made Bafta TV history for being the first non-white best actor winner in the awards’ 62-year history.

He was recognised for his brilliant, tortured performance in BBC Three drama Murdered By My Father.

It featured Akhtar as a man who murders his daughter in a so-called honour killing, after she is “promised” to a man but falls in love with another.

The significance of his Bafta win was noted by the drama’s screenwriter.

Vinay Patel tweeted: “First non-white fella to win a #Bafta TV award for best actor? This guy. (Not me, obvs).”

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Twitter/Vinay Patel

It was a decent night for diversity at the ceremony, with Damilola, Our Loved Boy picking up two awards.

Wunmi Mosaku won best supporting actress and the programme – about the murder of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor and the family’s fight for justice – also won best single drama.

In an emotional acceptance speech, Wunmi said: “This is so bittersweet and I’d like to dedicate this to the memory of Damilola and his mother Gloria [who died in 2008].”

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Wunmi Mosaku played Damilola Taylor’s mother

The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story won best international show, while Exodus into Europe – which gave refugees cameras to film their own, often dangerous, journeys from their homeland, picked up best factual series.

Muslims Like Us, which featured 10 British Muslims with contrasting world views moving into a house together, won best reality and factual show.

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Sue – going solo without sidekick Mel

Baftas TV host Sue Perkins also put gender firmly on the agenda, taking aim at sexism in the TV industry: “I know what you’re thinking. Not another woman hosting an awards show, when will it end?” she said.

“I find it a little like Halley’s Comet, just a little less frequent.”

She also joked the best actress nominees were paid “just under the same amount as the leading actor” and introduced the award for best male performance in a comedy programme with: “It’s the age old question: Are men funny?”

And actor James Nesbitt announced his support for the Equal Representation for Actresses campaign when introducing the best actress award.

“For one female role there are three male roles,” he said. “This is an inequality that is not only about our industry, but it is an inequality that is absorbed by everyone on their screens every day.

“As the father of two children – two girls – this should change.”

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James Nesbitt presented Sarah Lancashire with the award for best actress


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