Paul Mescal gets first Bafta for breakout performance in Normal People

IRISH actor Paul Mescal Paul Mescal last night scooped his first Bafta for his performance in the hit television series Normal People.

Raised in Kildare, the 25-year-old was at BBC Television Centre in west London to receive his best-actor prize which he dedicated to his co-star, Daisy Edgar-Jones.

Sally Rooney's breakout drama was the BBC's most-streamed series during the pandemic, racking up 62.7 million views last year.

After thanking the cast, Mescal spoke about the the great chemistry and friendship he shared with his co-star.

“You are the best scene partner and one of the best people I know,” he said.

After the ceremony, Mescal said the programme "totally changed my life and has given me an opportunity to continue doing the job that I love".

He said he would "love" to do another series of Normal People and "would work with Daisy again in a heartbeat".

"Regardless of work or anything like that, I'm just excited to see her so we can see each other again. It will be great," he said.

Diversity's Black Lives Matter inspired routine on Britain's Got Talent was also honoured with a TV Bafta last night.

The performance saw a man in a police uniform kneel on Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd and sparking more than 24,000 complaints to Ofcom.

But the TV watchdog dismissed the complaints, concluding that the routine's "central message was a call for social cohesion and unity".

Michaela Coel's powerful drama about consent, I May Destroy You, won the best mini-series prize at the ceremony, where gongs are being handed out at Television Centre in west London in front of a live but socially distanced audience of nominees.

Comedian Romesh Ranganathan was the first winner of the night, with Line of Duty star Adrian Dunbar presenting his gong for entertainment performance for his comedy series The Ranganation.

Inside No 9 was named best scripted comedy and the prize was collected by Reece Shearsmith, who joked: "We are in our sixth season, we have more episodes now than Countryfile, so we are going to keep going."

Actress Rakie Ayola paid a moving tribute to murdered black teenager Anthony Walker and his mother as she won a Bafta for her role in a TV drama about the life he might have lived.

Malachi Kirby was named best supporting actor for his role in Sir Steve McQueen's anthology series Small Axe, while Sex Education star Aimee Lou Wood won the award for female performance in a comedy programme and This Country's Charlie Cooper won the male comedy performance prize.

Sky Arts series Life & Rhymes won the entertainment programme gong, beating heavy hitters Strictly Come Dancing, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and The Masked Singer.

Casualty was named best soap or continuing drama, with the cast accepting the award remotely, standing in front of the entrance to the hospital set.

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