TV Personalities: Homegrown entertainers recognised
In the early days of British television, the national traditions of radio and music hall provided a huge pool of seasoned performers who had cut their teeth in variety and comedy stage shows. Suddenly, in contrast to the unattainable beauty of Hollywood movie stars, millions of TV viewers were watching homegrown talent, accessible figures who often came from similar backgrounds and didn’t sound all that different from them.

So it was only natural that in the very first Television Awards in 1954, a prize was given for TV ‘Personality’ – with the first winner being archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler. Later, as the lines between presenters and comedians became blurred, the award was renamed Light Entertainment Personality, being won down the years by the likes of Morecambe and Wise, Millicent Martin, Marty Feldman and Stanley Baxter. Now, with a broad remit across factual TV entertainment, the Entertainment Performance category continues to reward the nation’s best loved personalities.

Image: Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise on stage at the British Academy Film and Television Awards in 1980

BAFTA Archive

Video: Marty Feldman presents Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise (The Morecambe and Wise Show) with the award for Light Entertainment Personality in 1970 (Source: ITV Studios Limited).