“This is not an awards show. There’ll be no interminable thank yous, no sobbing acceptance speeches or big star losers smiling through clenched teeth” grinned co-host Michael Parkinson, as he joined Joanna Lumley in welcoming viewers to Happy Birthday BAFTA, a star-studded variety celebration for its 60th anniversary.
Held at London’s Theatre Royal and broadcast on ITV, it was the first time BAFTA had turned the spotlight on itself for a televised show. Miss Piggy and Sharon Osbourne kicked off proceedings in style with an argument over which of them was in fact the most qualified to open the show.
Other guests included Halle Berry introducing a dance number from Billy Elliott: The Musical, Celine Dion performing her Titanic hit My Heart Will Go On, the cast of Upstairs Downstairs reunited, The Kumars interviewing Ben Kingsley, and Armstrong & Miller recreating the classic Morecambe and Wise Breakfast sketch.
Legendary comic Victoria Wood closed the show with a brand new set on the seven signs of aging: “I’ve had to write them down ‘cause the eighth sign of ageing is you can’t remember the first seven.”
Pic: Miss Piggy and Sharon Osbourne open the show (BAFTA/Ken McKay)