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Gogglebox boss criticises Government’s ‘destructive plan’ to privatise Channel 4

Stephen Lambert took aim at the Government’s plans to privatise Channel 4 (PA)
Stephen Lambert took aim at the Government’s plans to privatise Channel 4 (PA)

The media executive behind Channel 4 series Gogglebox has criticised the Government’s “destructive plan” to privatise the broadcaster while on stage at the TV Baftas.

The popular programme claimed the award for reality and constructed factual during the event at the Royal Festival on London’s Southbank.

With the cast of the show stood around him, Stephen Lambert, chief executive of Studio Lambert, took aim at the Government’s plans to privatise the broadcaster.

Virgin BAFTA TV Awards 2022 – London
Ant and Dec (Ian West/PA)

He said: “Googlebox might have ended when it started nine years ago because it had modest ratings but a publicly owned risk-taking Channel 4 believed in it and they stuck with it.

“If the Government goes ahead with its destructive plan to end Channel 4, these kind of risks will not be taken and a big part of what makes British TV great will have ended for no good reason.”

Hosted by comedian Richard Ayoade, the Bafta TV Awards celebrate the best of British television across multiple awards.

Bafta chairman Krishnendu Majumdar opened the event with a speech addressing diversity and the changing media landscape, before paying tribute to TV journalists working in Ukraine and Sir Billy Connolly, who will receive the Bafta fellowship during the ceremony.

Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway claimed the first award of the event, for best entertainment programme – marking the fourth time they have won in the category.

On stage, Ant McPartlin said: “What a great start to the night” before Declan Donnelly added: “We were convinced we weren’t going to get it this year so we came for a bit of a party.”

The TV Bafta for supporting actor went to Succession star Matthew Macfadyen, with writer Jesse Armstrong collecting the award and reading out glowing messages from his co-stars.

Virgin BAFTA TV Awards 2022 – London
Ncuti Gatwa (Ian West/PA)

Newly announced Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa received a loud round of applause from the audience at the TV Baftas as he came on stage to present the scripted comedy award alongside his Sex Education co-star Aimee Lou Wood. The gong went to Motherland.

The Earthshot Prize won the best live event award, marking Sir David Attenborough’s 96th birthday.

Accepting the prize on stage, Dermot O’Leary said it was a “privilege” to work on “such a life-affirming” programme.

He also gave a “special thanks” to the Duke of Cambridge as it is “easy to be cynical about somebody who has come from privilege” but the Earthshot Prize was “his baby”.

The gong for single drama went to BBC drama Together starring Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy.

Taking to the stage, scriptwriter Dennis Kelly read a letter from Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice criticising the Government and calling for a public inquiry.

The Underground Railroad won the award for best international.

The film powerfully depicts slavery in the US antebellum South based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel from 2016.

Collecting the award on stage, Sheila Atim, who played Mabel, said: “This is a really amazing moment.

“Thank you Barry (Jenkins) for making this production. I am extremely proud to be a part of it.

“I think it is a seminal piece which will stand the test of time.”

Lorraine Kelly sent a “special hello” to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as she took to the stage to present the news coverage award.

She joked: “Hello and a special hello to Boris. I’m Lorraine. It’s lovely to see you,” prompting cheers and laughter from the audience.

Mr Johnson appeared not to know who Kelly was during an interview with Good Morning Britain earlier this week.

The award went to ITV News At Ten for its coverage of the storming of the US Capitol.

The ceremony continues.

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