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Black stars take home top awards at 'most diverse' TV Baftas

WINNERS: Sir Lenny Henry and Michaela Coel

BLACK STARS including Sir Lenny Henry and Michaela Coel reigned supreme at last night’s TV BAFTAs.

The annual event, hailed by Bafta chair Anne Morrison as “the most diverse” in its history, saw big names from the community receive top nods for their work in television.

Actor and comedian Sir Lenny Henry, who has led a campaign for more diversity on TV, received the Bafta special award recognition of his outstanding contribution to television.

Speaking before the awards, he said: “This is fantastic. I am truly humbled and truly hopeful that this is a pan-industry acknowledgement that diversity must be at the heart of our industry if we are to reflect British society now and, most importantly, in the future.”

Michaela Coel, the star and writer of hit E4 series Chewing Gum took home the Best Female Comedy Performance.

It is her second Bafta in two weeks after winning the Breakthrough Talent award at the annual #TVCraft Awards on April 24.

Taking to Twitter after last night’s ceremony, she wrote: “Home, alone, chilling, and in the stillness I have Sir Lenny's words running through my mind. Keep striving, keep smiling.”

She later added: "Good night Thank you to CG set designer: Lucy Spink who made the estate so vibrant! & John Sorapure CG's amazing Director of Photography!”

Also among the winners was historian and broadcaster David Olusoga’s harrowing BBC documentary Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners, which revealed the extent to which the country profited from slavery, as well as how common slave ownership was among ordinary members of society, including the clergy and widows.

The two-part documentary won the Best Specialist Factual Award.

“I must say I am really glad it is the most diverse list of nominations we can remember but one must never be complacent, there is a lot of work still to be done,” Bafta chair Anne Morrison said ahead of the awards.

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