BAFTA has published the official rules and guidelines for the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards and the British Academy Television Craft Awards, alongside a timeline of key dates for 2021.

The criteria follow on from the changes announced as part of the BAFTA 2020 Review, which has been introduced to address a lack of diversity across BAFTA’s awards. The following changes also take in to account the COVID-19 pandemic and reflect its impact on the television industry in 2020.

Key changes include:

  • The formal introduction of the BFI Diversity Standards for the Television and Television Craft Awards following a successful pilot in 2020. BAFTA is taking a phased approach to implementation: for 2021, productions must meet at least one of the standards and complete information on Standard C (training). For 2022, it will be compulsory for productions to meet standard C and at least one other Standard
  • The number of nominees in the performance categories will increase from four to six
  • The total number of nominees in all other categories will remain as four, however the number of named nominees or production company representatives for each entry will increase from four to six
  • BAFTA will also offer winners the chance to purchase two additional masks for key individual creatives who were part of the creative process but not one of the six named nominees or production company representatives
  • Each broadcaster continues to be permitted to put forward two additional entries after round one voting. For 2021, BAFTA is asking that, for all performance and craft categories, broadcasters must use at least one of the two permitted entries to put forward a candidate from an under-represented group, as addressed in the BFI’s Diversity Standards.
  • BAFTA will introduce a new Daytime category for 2021, recognising the important role that daytime programming plays in the lives of viewers and in providing a pipeline for new and underrepresented talent
  • For 2020 only, and to reflect the impact of COVID-19 which forced filming to halt, the eligibility window for the Soap and Continuing Drama category has been extended to the end of January 2021
  • Similarly reflecting the impact of COVID-19, the Sport and Live Events categories will be merged for the 2021 Awards, and the minimum percentage of live reduced from 70% to 51%
  • British craftspeople will now be eligible for Television Craft categories for International programmes if the work itself took place outside of the UK, as long as their usual place or residence and employment is the UK
  • From 2021, the Breakthrough Talent category of the Television Craft Awards will be renamed Emerging Talent and divided into two categories – fiction and factual

The full rules and eligibility criteria for the 2021 Television and Television Craft Awards are available here

Hannah Wyatt, Chair of BAFTA’s Television Committee said: “We are delighted to confirm the updated rules and eligibility criteria today, alongside the dates for the 2021 awards. This announcement comes in the wake of the BAFTA 2020 Review publication, which involved an in-depth consultation with the industry and signalled the beginning of a significant cultural shift at BAFTA. We saw significant progress in the diversity of our 2020 Television Awards and these additional changes are designed to continue that trajectory, ensuring BAFTA champions an industry taking proactive steps to level the playing field.”

Key dates for the Television and Television Craft Awards have also been confirmed as follows, with further detail on the ceremonies to be announced next year.

  • Tuesday 24th November – first entry deadline for shows aired before 30 November 2020
  • Friday 8th January – final entry deadline for programmes broadcast in December 2020
  • Thursday 21st January – Thursday 4th February – voting takes place
  • Monday 29th March – Wednesday 14th April – Juries sit
  • Tuesday 27th April – Virgin Media Must-See-Moment shortlist announced
  • Wednesday 28th April – TV and Craft nominations announced
  • Monday 24th May – British Academy Television Craft Awards
  • Sunday 6th June – Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards

Jon Creamer