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Ashley Banjo ‘forever grateful’ a year on from Bafta Must-See Moment win

Ashley Banjo won the Virgin Media Must-See Moment Award in 2021 (Ian West/PA)
Ashley Banjo won the Virgin Media Must-See Moment Award in 2021 (Ian West/PA)

Dancer and TV personality Ashley Banjo has said winning the Must-See Moment Award at the 2021 TV Baftas “changed the game” for the Diversity dance troop.

Banjo and Diversity won the Virgin Media Must-See Moment Award, which is the only British Academy Television Award voted for by the public, for their Black Lives Matter performance on Britain’s Got Talent in September 2020.

The performance saw a man in a police uniform kneel on Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd and sparking more than 24,000 complaints to Ofcom.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain a year on from the win, Banjo said: “Any time I get the opportunity to say thank you to people I always do because those votes and that Bafta, honestly, just changed the game for us.

“It kind of was such a beam of light in a dark time. So, we will be forever grateful for that.”

Reflecting on the shock of winning, Banjo said: “Imagine, we’d gone from most complained about and then you put the same moment out for a public vote, there’s a big part of you that thinks things probably won’t happen but we’re very grateful even still for all the support, so when it happens, the look on our faces, me and my brother, was absolutely real.

“We were like astonished.”

The Virgin Media Must-See Moment Award celebrates the diversity of British TV and the moments that get the nation talking, tweeting and laughing throughout the year.

For 2021 the award nominees include Adele’s onscreen reunion with the teacher that changed her life and Rose Ayling-Ellis’s silent dance with Giovanni Pernice on Strictly Come Dancing.

Also in the running is Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly having a dig at alleged lockdown-busting parties held in Downing Street on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, the gruesome red light, green light game featured in episode one of hit South Korean series Squid Game, and Colin’s devastating Aids diagnosis in Channel 4 drama It’s A Sin.

Bimini Bon Boulash’s verse in the Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK performance of UK Hun? on BBC Three completes the list of nominees.

Banjo revealed that Ayling-Ellis and Pernice’s silent dance is his must-see moment for 2022.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021
Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice performed a silent dance on Strictly Come Dancing to honour the deaf community (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

He said: “For me, I mean, it’s hard. I want to see what happens and what the public think, but I think that Rose and Giovanni’s moment on Strictly was a really, really special one.

“That’s what I love about the Virgin Media Must-See Moment, is that it’s so diverse. It’s so wide-ranging and there’s moments for everybody, so it’s always interesting to see what people pick.”

A year on from his win, Banjo was asked by GMB presenter Susanna Reid whether the award helped to alleviate the pain of the complaints.

Speaking via a video call from Leicester, Banjo said: “Absolutely, that is literally why I’m here today, I was standing in this very room last night performing on tour with Diversity to a sold-out crowd and I was literally talking to them about how incredible the Bafta moment was, and I can’t believe it was that long ago you know, so much time has flown.”

The winner will be announced at the Virgin Media Bafta TV Awards on May 8.

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