The Duke of Cambridge, as President of the British Academy Film and Television Awards, officially opened BAFTA Piccadilly in London yesterday. BAFTA Piccadilly is a new public exhibition space and café, and will act as BAFTA’s headquarters for the next two years whilst the current premises undergoes a renovation.
Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said, “We are excited to be launching BAFTA Piccadilly, the first time a BAFTA café and exhibition have been open to the public. The venue, opened by BAFTA’s President HRH The Duke of Cambridge, will inspire future generations and emerging talent, as well as those who are interested in and want to discover more about film, games and television.”
William also opened the ‘BAFTA, Behind the Screens’ exhibition, celebrating the craft and work behind BAFTA-winning and nominated productions. BAFTA: Behind the Screens is the first time BAFTA-winning and nominated materials have been collated from across the world and displayed to the public for free. The exhibition also features sketches, models and interviews with the creators of award-winning games Lumino City and Monument Valley.
William chatted with Dan Postgate, the writer behind the revival of the stop-animation children’s show The Clangers, originally created by his father Oliver Postgate. Mr Postgate gave the duke a hand-knitted Clanger to give to Princess Charlotte and the royal quipped: “I’ve made enough clangers, so this will go down extremely well.”
When opening the exhibition, Prince William said, “I had the pleasure today of meeting some of BAFTA’s Prince William Scholars and was delighted to hear first-hand how the scholarship has benefitted their careers.”
The award is for those who want to be part of the entertainment industry, and it began in 2013.
Among the Prince William Scholars, the Duke met Matilda Ibini from London. Matilda applied to the programme in 2014 and has now landed a TV development deal with Wall-to-Wall Pictures to develop an original comedy-drama TV series.
The future King has had an association with BAFTA for nine years now, but the royal connection goes back to 1959, when Prince Philip was made president of the organisation.
During the visit, The Duke of Cambridge viewed storyboards, scripts and costumes from films and TV productions of the past 75 years, including The Favourite, The Clangers and Killing Eve. The Duke of Cambridge joked, “It’s safe to say that I felt quite under-dressed when stood in front of those Killing Eve costumes!”
As a gift, the Royal was presented with a pair of pyjamas made famous from Killing Eve! William also met actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, and spoke about his role in the film 12 Years a Slave.
Sally Woodward Gentle, Killing Eve’s producer, commented on his enthusiasm for the show: “Apparently he has watched it all. We didn’t test him, but he did say it was quite a final ending to series two. So at least he watched the last three minutes of the last episode!”
She continued, “He said he loved it. He talked about the dark humour of it, and Jodie and Sandra [Oh], how amazing they both are. And he talked about the humour you can get through the costumes, which is what Phoebe [de Gaye] is so clever at.”
BAFTA-winning producer Sally Woodward-Gentle, who produced Killing Eve, said, “All of the Killing Eve team were delighted with the five BAFTA wins at the Television Awards this year, and it is an honour to have Phoebe de Gaye’s work showcased as part of BAFTA’s new exhibition. I am delighted that the public will get to see the costumes which help bring
Villanelle’s character to life, alongside many other deserving BAFTA-winning and nominated projects.”
At the end of his speech, The Duke of Cambridge said, “This project will help to promote the growth of the creative talent in the UK, and internationally, and to ensure that talented people from all backgrounds are given the opportunity to succeed. It is thanks to your support that we will continue to see the British film, game and television industry go from strength to strength.”