Meera Syal calls for more diversity in TV industry during Bafta lifetime achievement award speech

Meera Syal called for more diversity in the TV industry as she picked up her Bafta lifetime achievement award credit:Bang Showbiz
Meera Syal called for more diversity in the TV industry as she picked up her Bafta lifetime achievement award credit:Bang Showbiz

Meera Syal called for more diversity in the TV industry as she picked up her Bafta lifetime achievement award.

The ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ star, 61, started her acceptance speech by sticking her glittering bindi on her face-shaped trophy at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on Sunday (14.05.23) and spoke of how she hoped her win would inspire others from her background to get into the entertainment industry.

She said: “To all my fellow travellers, all the ones who’ve been made to feel because of their race, sex or class that their stories don’t matter. They do because the untold stories are the ones that change us, and sometimes can change the world.”

Meera added there needs to be more diversity “not just in front of the camera but in the writers’ rooms, in makeup vans, and around tables where deals are done” – but thanked Bafta for “seeing us”.

The ceremony also saw Professor David Olusogam, 53, was also given a Bafta special award for his history documentaries, which have examined black British history and the legacy of slavery and empire.

He said: “If I have a hope it’s that people entering the industry today, people from backgrounds like mine, minority communities, council estates, that they might find their journey through the industry a little easier, that they might not fight so much for the validity of their voice and experience. Our industry is changing, it’s becoming more inclusive, tonight demonstrates that.”

Romesh Ranganathan, 45, co-hosted the event with his comedian friend Rob Beckett, 37, and oversaw the handing of awards to the night’s big winners, which included ‘I Am Ruth’ – Channel 4’s family drama about the damaging impact of social media on a teenager’s mental health.

It won best single drama and best actress for Kate Winslet, 47, who starred in the show with her 22-year-old daughter Mia Threapleton.

Kate used her speech to plead for “the people in power” to “criminalise harmful content” online, declaring: “We don’t want it, we want our children back, we don’t want to lie awake terrified for our children’s mental health.”

In a backstage chat, Kate said she was amazed she didn’t have more of a “plan” or composure after all her years at awards ceremonies, and praised her daughter for being “braver” than she ever was at her age in front of the camera.

‘Derry Girls’ was another of the night’s big winners, taking home best comedy award, while Siobhán McSweeney, 43, won best female performance for her role as Sister Michael in the show.

Double awards also went to Apple TV+’s ‘Bad Sisters’, a black comedy about domestic abuse, which is understood to be the streaming platform’s first Bafta win.

The award for best supporting actress went to Anne-Marie Duff, 52, and the show, created by ‘Catastrophe’ writer Sharon Horgan, also 52, also got best drama.

Another noteable moment saw the TV Bafta going to Paddington bear having tea with the late Queen during the ‘Platinum Jubilee: Party at the Palace’ celebrations shown by the BBC.

BAFTA 2023 – Full List Of Winners

Reality And Constructed Factual

‘The Traitors’ (BBC One)

Short Form Programme

‘How to Be a Person’ (E4)

Specialist Factual

‘Russia 1985–1999: Traumazone’ (iPlayer)


‘The Repair Shop: A Royal Visit’ (BBC One)


‘UEFA Women’s Euro 2022’ (BBC One)

Male Performance In A Comedy Programme

‘Lenny Rush – Am I Being Unreasonable?’ (BBC One)

Entertainment Programme

‘The Masked Singer’ (ITV)

Supporting Actress

Anne-Marie Duff – ‘Bad Sisters’ (Apple TV+)

Current Affairs

‘Children of the Taliban’ (Channel 4)

News Coverage

‘Channel 4 News: Live in Kyiv’ (Channel 4)

Single Drama

‘I Am Ruth’ (Channel 4)


‘Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’ (Netflix)


‘Joe Lycett vs Beckham: Got Your Back’ (Channel 4)


‘Mood’ (BBC Three)

Factual Series

‘Libby, Are You Home Yet?’ (Sky Crime)

Single Documentary

‘The Real Mo Farah’ (BBC One)

Comedy Entertainment Programme

‘Friday Night Live’ (Channel 4)

Soap And Continuing Drama

‘Casualty’ (BBC One)

Live Event

‘Platinum Jubilee: Party at the Palace’ (BBC One)

Entertainment Performance

Claudia Winkleman – ‘The Traitors’ (BBC One)

Supporting Actor

Adeel Akhtar – ‘Sherwood’ (BBC One)

Drama Series

‘Bad Sisters’ (Apple TV+)

Scripted Comedy

‘Derry Girls’ (Channel 4)

Leading Actor

Ben Whishaw – ‘This is Going to Hurt’ (BBC One)

Leading actress

Kate Winslet – ‘I Am Ruth’ (Channel 4)

P O Cruises Memorable Moment

‘Platinum Jubilee: Party at the Palace’ – Paddington meets the Queen (BBC One)