Despite the title on this tape, this is the Bafta awards presented in March 1991, for programmes and films released in 1990.
It’s a star studded occasion, so who did the BBC entice to present the glittering awards, with a broadcast that also links ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York? That multi-talented star of several media, Noel Edmonds.
His opening speech is rather dull and stilted. But things turn around rapidly when he moves to the TV screen where Billy Connolly is hosting the ceremony in Los Angeles. This is much better stuff, and plays far better to Noel’s strengths.
Alan Whicker presents Best Factual Series
Cherie Lunghi presents Best Drama Serial.
Tom Stoppard presents the Writer’s Award.
The award goes to the great Simon Gray
In Los Angeles, Best Supporting Actress is presented by Richard Harris
The winner is Whoopi Goldberg, for Ghost
Presenting Best Supporting Actor, Amanda Donohoe and Mel Smith
The winner is nine year old Salvatore Cascio
Moira Stuart presents the best News/outside broadcast coverage. When she announces one of the nominees is ITN’s coverage of Mrs Thatcher’s resignation it gets a spontaneous round of applause.
Best Light Entertainment programme is presented by Ruby Wax
It’s won by Whose Line is it Anyway, the second mention in two days for Dan Patterson. I hope he’s in good health.
John Thaw presents Best Children’s Programme
The winner is Press Gang, written by a young Steven Moffat
Jean Boht presents Best Children’s Factual Programme
Best Single Drama is presented by Bill Paterson
Best Adapted Screenplay is presented by Jane Seymour and Karl Malden
It’s won by Goodfellas, and accepted, by two different satellites, by Nick Pileggi in New York and Martin Scorsese in Florida.
Jan Francis presents Best Comedy Series
Patricia Hodge presents the Huw Weldon award.
The Desmond Davies award is presented by Ludovic Kennedy
Tom Jones presents Best TV Original Music
Best Film Score is presented by Anthony Hopkins
David Suchet presents the award for Best Light Entertainment Performance
David Jason wins for Only Fools and Horses
Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie present the Originality award. It goes to Troubleshooter, the show where John Harvey Jones goes round companies and tells them they’re crap. A bit like Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares but for manufacturing.
The Flaherty Documentary award is presented by Roger Cook.
To present the Richard Dimbleby Award, Melvyn Bragg
Alan Alda presents Best Original Screenplay
Denis Lawson presents the Foreign Television Award to Krzysztof Kieslowski.
Hannah Gordon presents Best Animated Short Film. Judging by the clips, these were the days when an animated short film had to be deeply disturbing and ugly.
One of the nominees, Deadsy, looks like it was repurposed for Channel 4’s Four-Mations ident.
You can tell the pecking order in place, when the winner takes about a minute to make his way from his table right in the back of the room.
Best Film not in the English Language is presented by Anthony Perkins.
Best Director is presented by Francis Ford Coppola
The satellite to Florida was clearly money well spent, as Scorsese wins again.
Michael Elphick presents Best Short Film
Presenting the Michael Balcon award, Bernardo Bertolucci
Best Actor is presented by Shirley MacLaine
This award is interrupted by the loss of satellite contact with LA.
So Vanessa Redgrave presents Best Television Actor
Ian McKellen presents Best Television Actress
The winner is Geraldine McEwen
It says something about the state of parts for women that three out of four nominations came from the same drama, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit.
The Fellowship is presented by Donald Sutherland.
It’s awarded to Louis Malle
Now it’s back to LA, after a power failure, to announce the winner of Best Actor, Philippe Noiret.
Timothy Dalton and Whoopi Goldberg present Best Actress.
The winner is Jessica Tandy
Presenting the award for Best Film, Charlton Heston
Bafta gets it right, giving it to Goodfellas over Driving Miss Daisy (which won at the Oscars that year). The Florida satellite pays off once again.
John Mills presents a special award.
The recipient is Deborah Kerr
Robert Mitchum pays tribute to Kerr from LA.
And that’s it. This was a surprisingly good ceremony, thanks largely to Billy Connolly. There was very little in the way of awkward banter from the presenters in the UK, who mostly just turn up and read the nominations. But all the LA segments felt loose and spontaneous, and everyone there looked like they were having a great time.
Of course, the reason for having the bifurcated ceremony, unstated on the night, was that this was around the time of the first Gulf War, and, famously, lots of US stars were terrified of travelling to Europe. But whatever the reason, this worked beautifully. The LA location managed to attract plenty of real stars, and Connolly was on absolutely top form.
BBC Genome: BBC One – 17th March 1991 – 20:15
After this, there’s the start of a news bulletin, leading with the vote in the Soviet Union on whether the USSR should break apart. The recording stops after a couple of minutes.