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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced this year’s hosts for the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards and the British Academy Television Craft Awards 2021. 

Presenter, comedian, writer, actor and director, Richard Ayoade returns to host the Virgin Media BAFTAs for a second year, with the ceremony returning to a studio-based production being broadcast as-live on BBC One on the evening of Sunday 6 June.

Meanwhile, actor, writer and director, Gbemisola Ikumelo will take the helm as host of the British Academy Television Craft Awards for the first time, having herself scooped a BAFTA Award and nomination (for Brain in Gear and Famalam respectively) at the 2020 Virgin Media BAFTAs. The ceremony will be streamed live on the BAFTA YouTube channel, as well as via BAFTA’s Facebook page on Monday 24 May.

Nominations for the Virgin Media BAFTAs and the British Academy Television Craft Awards will be jointly announced at 7.30am BST on Wednesday 28 April on BAFTA website and Twitter, with Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment nominees announced on Tuesday 27 April on TwitterInstagram and the Must-See Moment voting website.

Both ceremonies will be socially-distanced studio records with a small number of Awards presenters either joining the hosts in the studio or via video call. Further details about the formats of both ceremonies will be announced in due course.

Gbemisola Ikumelo said: “I’m really excited to host this year’s British Academy Craft Awards and celebrate all the amazing behind the scenes individuals that quietly make our favourite TV shows what they are. I’m enjoying how inventive the BAFTA award shows have become in this climate. We’re making seriously tasty lemonade here and I for one am looking forward to not tripping and falling in-front of a bunch of drunk creatives!”

Richard Ayoade said: “I have been asked if, this year, I could say I am thrilled to be back as ‘host’ and, reluctantly, I am willing to pretend that I am. They have assured me that as soon as the world returns to normal, they will get someone decent again.”

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive at BAFTA, said: “We are delighted that Richard will be returning to host the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards. Richard hosted the Awards brilliantly last year and I really look forward to another year with him at the helm.  Equally exciting is our new host for the Television Craft Awards, Gbemisola Ikumelo. We have seen Gbemisola’s wonderful work on our screens as an actor, writer and director in Famalam and also Brain in Gear for which she won a BAFTA last year.”

Katie Taylor, Commissioning Editor Entertainment at the BBC says: “The BAFTAs are an undeniable highlight of the annual awards calendar and viewers on BBC One can look forward to seeing the very best of British TV being celebrated under the stewardship of our enigmatically entertaining host Richard Ayoade.”

The Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2021 will be produced by BAFTA Productions and Done and Dusted for BBC One. Commissioned by Katie Taylor, Commissioning Editor Entertainment at the BBC, Executive Producers are Cassandra Hybel (BAFTA) and Lisa Clark (Done and Dusted).

Gbemisola Ikumelo bio

Double BAFTA-nominee, Gbemisola Ikumelo was nominated in the ‘Female Performance in a Comedy Programme’ category for her role in FAMALAM and the ‘Short Form Programme’ category for BRAIN IN GEAR, which she wrote, co-directed and starred in, at last year’s VIRGIN MEDIA TV BAFTAs. BRAIN IN GEAR went on to win the ‘Short Form Programme’ award and has been commissioned for a full series by BBC Two. 

Gbemisola has a diverse storytelling background from acting to writing and directing. She is Founder and Artistic Director of FAITH Drama Productions, a not-for-profit arts organisation based in East London. FAITH provides training, work experience and support for aspiring actors from different backgrounds. In this role she has created many plays that have toured throughout the country. Her site specific piece, THE DEN received an Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre award and was also supported by the Barbican. 

Gbemisola is perhaps most recognisable from her various roles in BBC comedy sketch show FAMALAM (she also writes for the series). She was recently awarded the ‘Comedy Performance’ award at the 2021 RTS Awards for her performance in the series. Gbemisola was most recently seen in David Hare’s political thriller for BBC One, ROADKILL alongside Hugh Laurie and Corrina Faith’s horror feature THE  POWER. Next up, she will star in Amazon’s remake of Penny Marshall’s A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN about the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Gbemisola will appear alongside, Abbi Jacobson and D’Arcy Carden. Her additional screen credits include Netflix’s SEX EDUCATION, ITV’s BROADCHURCH and BBC Three’s SUNNY D. In 2019, she starred in Shola Amoo’s BIFA-winning THE LAST TREE, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and is currently streaming on Netflix.

Richard Ayoade bio

Richard Ayoade is a multi-award winning comedian, actor, writer and director. The success of Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place (which he co-wrote, directed and starred in) was followed by his BAFTA award winning role in The IT Crowd, and numerous other TV credits including The Mighty Boosh. Ayoade wrote and directed the BAFTA nominated film Submarine and wrote and directed The Double starring Jesse Eisenberg. He’s also voiced popular characters in The Mandalorian and the BAFTA winning Soul for Disney Pixar. He presented Travel Man and The Crystal Maze for Channel 4 and has released three books, Ayoade on Ayoade and The Grip of Film and Ayoade on Top, all published by Faber & Faber.

Walter Nicoletti
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