The BBC has defended its decision to cut a politically-charged speech by Derry Girls star Siobhán McSweeney from the Bafta broadcast.
McSweeney, who plays Sister Michael in the hit Channel 4 comedy, won the award for best female comedy performance.
In her speech at the Royal Festival Hall, she said: “To the people of Derry, thank you for taking me into your hearts and your living rooms. I am daily impressed with how you encompass the spirit of compromise and resilience despite the indignities, ignorance and stupidity of your so-called leaders in Dublin, Stormont and Westminster.
“In the words of my beloved Sister Michael: it’s time they started to wise up.”
However, when the ceremony was televised on BBC One two hours later, McSweeney’s words had been excised, with only her thanks to the people of Derry remaining in the edit.
The two clips were posted side by side on Twitter and soon notched up over one million views.
The BBC responded: “As in previous years, due to the nature of the show, it is broadcast with a short delay, and while we always aim to keep the core sentiment of acceptance speeches, edits have to be made due to time constraints.”
The three-hour ceremony had to be whittled down to two hours for broadcast. However, the BBC did choose to fill time with backstage interviews, conducted by Chicken Shop Date presenter Amelia Dimoldenberg, which many viewers on social media dismissed as unnecessary.
McSweeney began her speech by telling the audience: “I’ve been warned to not do a political statement or not be really, really boring or sad.”
Bafta clarified that it had not issued any guidance about the content of speeches.
Last year, the BBC also cut a speech by Kayleigh Llewellyn, winner of the best drama series category, in which she demanded: “Get the Tories out.”
Among the other winners to have their speeches curtailed this year was Matt Frei, who accepted the best news coverage award on behalf of Channel 4 News.
He welcomed the Government’s decision to drop its privatisation plans for the broadcaster, saying: “We’ve had the Damocles sword of privatisation hanging over us that makes Penny Mordaunt’s sword look like a toothpick. But it’s gone.”