Baftas: And the winner is... anyone but Channel 4

Blunder by organisers of Bafta awards sees station's shows left off voting form
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Chris Moyles and Alan Carr are among famous names who have been victims of a blunder that has undermined the credibility of one of the most glittering events in the British television calendar.

A shadow has been cast over the Bafta Television Awards, which are due to take place in June at the London Palladium, after an error in the voting process meant that the academy's members were not invited to consider a series of programmes which should have been nominated. These included the Radio 1 breakfast presenter's latest attempt to break into television, Chris Moyles' Quiz Night, and Alan Carr: Chatty Man, the camp comedian's celebrity talk show.

These shows, along with a list of other Channel 4 entertainment programmes, were accidentally omitted from the list of nominated programmes sent out to the 6,000 members of the academy for a voting process that is due to finish on Tuesday. The members have been asked to vote online to compile a list that will then go before a jury. Other shows missing from the list include The Events, a series produced and hosted by the illusionist Derren Brown.

The mistake was noticed only after hundreds of members had already cast their votes. But instead of restarting the whole procedure, which is audited by the leading accountancy firm Deloitte, Bafta decided to try to contact all the 300 members who had already voted and offer them the opportunity to reconsider their decisions.

One source close to the row said that the validity of the awards had been called into question by the mix-up. "A lot of the production companies who have made the programmes that were omitted feel that they have been short-changed," he said. "Had these been BBC programmes, there would have been much more of a fuss."

The Bafta Television Awards are considered the industry's most prestigious accolades and have been given annually since 1954. They run alongside the Bafta Film Awards, which took place last month in London.

Last night, Bafta tried to play down the importance of the "human error" and said it was confident of the validity of the voting process. "Upon the first round of voting for the television awards opening to the membership on Tuesday 2 March, a number of omissions were spotted," it said in a prepared statement. "The lists were immediately investigated, a human error discovered and amendments made online that afternoon."

Bafta said that the proportion of its members who had voted before the mistake was noticed amounted to 7 per cent of the total. "Each has been contacted individually to make them aware of the omissions and to give them the opportunity to submit their vote again before the deadline on Tuesday 9 March," it said. "By doing so, Bafta is satisfied that the entries originally omitted have been presented fairly to every voter in this first round, and that neither the integrity of the voting process, nor the chances of any entrant, have been affected in any way as a result of this error."