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Bafta viewers cringe as Mr Swallow skit leaves crowd looking confused

‘What was the point of that?’ asked one baffled viewer on Twitter/x

Annabel Nugent
Monday 19 February 2024 05:01 GMT
Hugh Grant and Ryan Gosling awkwardly laugh as Mr Swallow performs on Bafta stage

Nick Mohammed’s “Mr Swallow” skit at the Baftas had his starry audience looking very confused.

The 2024 British academy film awards, now in its 77th iteration, took place on Sunday night (18 February) at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

The star-studded event was hosted by Doctor Who star David Tennant, and was attended by actors including Margot Robbie, Claire Foy, Ayo Edebiri, Ryan Gosling, and Danielle Brooks.

Oppenheimer and Poor Things were the big winners of the night, with Christopher Nolan taking home his first-ever Bafta prize for his epic atomic bomb movie. You can see the full list of winners here...

Also present at the star-studded ceremony was pop star Dua Lipa, David Beckham, and Prince William who made a solo appearance at the awards show with Kate Middleton still in recovery from her surgery last month.

Between the presentation of awards, the audience was treated to a musical performance by Hannah Waddingham and a comedy sketch by Mohammed.

The latter, however, appeared to confuse some of the Bafta crowd, especially the American stars who are unfamiliar with Mohammed’s act.

Mohammed, 43, performed as his excitable alter ego Mr Swallow – a character he has portrayed across stage and TV for over a decade.

He most recently played the character in his stage show The Very Best and Worst of Mr Swallow, which began touring in March last year. The show was well-reviewed, earning a four-star review from The Guardian.

Mohammed, who is best known to fans for his role as Nathan Shelley in the Apple TV+seriesTed Lasso, appeared on stage in roller skates.

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“For my international friends out there, I’m a cross between [British ice dancers] Torvill and Dean and the crab in The Little Mermaid,” he said, introducing himself.

He also joked about his ethnicity being continuously mistaken by the industry, adding: “I’m here representing the South Asian community. I’m not South Asian – I’m genuinely not. Mum’s from Cyprus and dad’s from the Caribbean, but that’s what the industry has decided apparently: I’m South Asian. No word of a lie.”

During the skit, the camera panned to a number of celebrities – some of whom appeared baffled by the performance.

The camera panned to Barbie star Ryan Gosling who one viewer said looked “absolutely clueless”.

“Oh goodness, I don’t think anyone not British is going to undestand what the hell just happened with Mr Swallow,” wrote one person Twitter/X.

Those watching the broadcast on BBC One at home were also largely unimpressed with Mohammed’s two-minute skit, with many describing it as “cringey” on the social media platform.

“Mr Swallow was ringingly unfunny,” wrote one person, and another said: “Baftas ruined by Mr Swallow… wtf was that. Ruined the night for me.”


“What is Mr Swallow doing here?” said someone else, with a fourth person writing: “What am I watching? [...] Totally unfunny.”

Another wrote: “Tried so hard to fast-forward it but was unfortunately watching it in real-time.”

“That Mr Swallow cringe fest was everything I hoped [had] died out on British TV decades ago,” said one person, with another viewer adding: “Well, that was not remotely funny Mr Swallow.”

It wasn’t the first moment to fall flat that night, with some viewers also unsure about host David Tennant’s dry opening monologue.

You can read The Independent’s four-star review of the televised awards show here.

You can follow along with live updates from the 2024 Baftas here…

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