BAFTA changes eligibility rules following Killing Eve controversy

8 October 2019, 12:55 | Updated: 8 October 2019, 14:26

BAFTA has announced changes to its eligibility rules following controversy over Killing Eve's inclusion earlier this year.

The critically acclaimed show, which premiered in the US, led the ceremony with several prizes at the 2019 TV awards, despite BAFTA rules stating that a programme must have premiered in the UK to be eligible.

BAFTA has also announced it is piloting new diversity requirements for the TV awards, having already introduced targets for the film ceremony.

At the TV awards in May, Jodie Comer, who plays assassin Villanelle in Killing Eve, won the award for leading actress, while Fiona Shaw was named best supporting actress, and the show won best drama series overall.

The show was produced in the UK but commissioned by BBC America, a subscription network jointly owned by BBC Studios and AMC, and so aired in the US first.

Now, BAFTA has said that UK programmes will no longer be required to premiere in the UK, enabling "the very best British creators and content to be recognised by BAFTA regardless of where the show is first transmitted".

Programmes which first aired outside the UK will qualify for the production categories if they are broadcast to UK audiences within the calendar year.

Hannah Wyatt, chair of BAFTA's television committee, said: "We are always looking to reflect the ever-changing industry, ensuring our rules remain fit for purpose.

"As we see British creative talent and productions increasingly capturing global audiences, we feel now in the right time to make this adjustment."

BAFTA is also planning to introduce the BFI's (British Film Institute) diversity standards for all UK production categories in time for the 2021 awards, taking race, gender, disability, age, socioeconomic background and sexual orientation into account.

One of the rules requires a show to have at least one character from an under-represented group, as well as meeting one or more of a list of targets for secondary and minor characters, including a 50-50 gender balance, 20% belonging to an under-represented ethnic group and 10% to be LGBTQ+.