• Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Bafta: Meera Syal calls for more diversity in TV industry

BAFTA Awards 2023 was held at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Sunday, May 14.

Meera Syal (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)

By: Mohnish Singh

Meera Syal, a well-known actor, screenwriter, and novelist of Indian origin based in the UK, has been conferred a BAFTA fellowship, the highest honour awarded by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film and/or television.

The Goodness Gracious Me and The Sandman star was awarded the BAFTA fellowship at the annual television awards held at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Sunday, May 14.

Syal, who was born to Punjabi parents and grew up in the West Midlands region of England, put a glittering bindi on her BAFTA and said, “This represents change.”

She added, “To all my fellow travellers, all the ones who have 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.”


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During her speech, the 61-year-old also emphasised that the TV industry needs more diversity. “We are all storytellers here. So, we know how much it matters, what stories we choose to tell, but more importantly, who gets to tell them. Not just in front of the camera, but in the writers’ rooms, the makeup vans, and around the table where the deals are done,” she said.

BAFTA said that as part of the fellowship, Syal will work directly with the arts charity over the coming year to mentor and support aspiring participants through BAFTA’s year-round learning, inclusion, and talent programmes.

“I hope to engage with many talented practitioners and continue working to make BAFTA a truly representative and celebratory place for all our creatives. And I am grateful for the chance to pay forward the opportunities and experiences I have been lucky enough to have over my career,” said Syal.

Jane Millichip, CEO at BAFTA, said, “Meera Syal has made an extraordinary impact on the screen and literary arts. As an actor and writer, she is an exceptional storyteller with enormous range, which means she is loved by peers and the public as much as she is critically acclaimed.”

The BAFTA fellowship is the latest recognition of Syal’s achievements in the field of arts, which include being made an MBE and then a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II.

Stay tuned to this space for more updates!

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