Equal pay in spotlight as ‘Killing Eve’ sweeps BAFTA Awards

Equal pay in spotlight as ‘Killing Eve’ sweeps BAFTA Awards
BBC America via CNN
"Killing Eve" is a BBC America drama starring Sandra Oh as an office-bound intelligence analyst in the U.K., who realizes there's an implacable Russian assassin (played by Jodie Comer) leaving a trail of bodies across Europe.

Veteran journalist Joan Bakewell and actor David Schwimmer put a humorous spotlight on equal pay for women at the BAFTA TV awards in London on Sunday as the female-led cast of thriller “Killing Eve” won big.

Bakewell, who was awarded the BAFTA Television Fellowship — the highest accolade in British broadcasting — spoke of the struggle of women in the industry to earn as much as their male counterparts.

She told the audience: “It has been a long journey, and along the way I’ve had the encouragement and professional support of many, many women, making their own bid to [have] as much a chance as men.

“And possibly earn as much. That would be nice,” added the 86-year-old, who won the award after more than five decades as a radio and TV presenter, primarily in the arenas of current affairs and culture.

Bakewell wasn’t the only guest turning the spotlight on equal pay. Schwimmer, who was presenting the award for Best Comedy program alongside British comedian Nick Mohammed, quipped about the lack of diversity on the hit sitcom “Friends” and salary of his co-star Courteney Cox.

“We all remember how diverse ‘Friends’ was,” Mohammed joked during the presentation.

“Thank you, thank you. It was a groundbreaking show and half the cast were women,” replied Schwimmer, adding: “And I made sure we were all paid equally.”

“Sorry, wasn’t Courteney making more than the rest of you when you first started?” said Mohammed.

“Yes that was a problem,” said Schwimmer, to huge laughs from the audience.

The British Academy Television Awards is the top award ceremony for British television. This year, the BBC thriller “Killing Eve” came out on top, winning three trophies — including best actress, best supporting actress and best drama series.

The show features an eccentric Russian assassin named Villanelle — played by award-winning newcomer Jodie Comer — and an MI6 investigator who becomes obsessed with her, played by Sandra Oh. Fiona Shaw, who plays an MI6 boss, won the award for best supporting actress.

Based on Luke Jennings’ novel “Codename Villanelle,” the TV series was written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is also the creator of the hugely popular BBC comedy-drama “Fleabag.”

In her acceptance speech, Shaw paid tribute to Waller Bridge’s “glass-shattering genius and wayward imagination”.

A teary Comer dedicated the award to her late grandmother and said her win was “just the dream.”