Bafta TV awards 2021: This year's nominees celebrate a year of television that brought us together

After a year when we had nothing else to do but watch TV, BAFTA has got its nominations for the TV awards spot on, writes Iain Leggat

I’ve always enjoyed watching award shows. I don’t know whether it’s the desire to be part of the grand over-the-top ceremony, or just my fascination with how people react when they lose.

But the BAFTA Television awards have always sparked a different form of joy. They feel understated, more comedic, more sensible, and more impressive.

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The 2021 nominee selection represents what could be described as one of the great years in UK TV history (BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

This year, that description won’t just apply to the awards, but the nominees themselves.

The 2021 nominee selection represents what could be described as one of the great years in UK TV history. From big budget blockbusters like The Crown and Killing Eve, BBC Three’s impressive selection with Normal People and This Country, to pioneering classics like I May Destroy You and Small Axe - we have been treated to a golden year.

The latter two deserve every plaudit they receive, and will hopefully see creators Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You) and Steve McQueen (Small Axe) lift awards on Sunday. These weren’t just great pieces of TV. They were masterpieces handling topics of race, empowerment and assault with ease, capturing a cultural zeitgeist in a year like no other.

TV represented a place of solitude and comfort through the toughest of years. When the nation locked down, we ran to our remotes. The combination of no more pubs, no more sport and no more office meant no more conversation - TV filled these gaps in bucketfuls.

TV represented a place of solitude and comfort through the toughest of years (Bafta/Shutterstock)

We fell in love with Connell and Marianne in Normal People, gasped at the depiction of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in Quiz, got seduced by Simon Basset in Bridgerton, and felt normality slowly come back when Graham Norton returned with his big red chair.

But it was also in the darkest moments when the TV played its most vital role. Millions of households glued to their screens, watching our leaders announce lockdowns, death tolls, and warnings.

Let us all bask in the glory of TV on Sunday, celebrating not just every winner, but every nominee. The actors, writers, directors, producers and production crews have kept us sane this past year. I for one will have a tear in my eye when Richard Ayoade introduces the first of, I'm sure, many many montages.