Welsh actress Rakie Ayola has won the BAFTA for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Gee Walker in the BBC One TV drama, Anthony.
Accepting her award, Rakie Ayola paid a heartfelt tribute to Anthony Walker, the black teenager who was murdered by two white men in an unprovoked attack in a Liverpool park in 2005. The standalone film, written by Jimmy McGovern, considered the life Anthony Walker might have had had he not been murdered. Ayola received the BAFTA for her portrayal of Gee Walker, Anthony’s mother.
Collecting the award, Ayola asked the audience to consider what they could do to make a positive change in the fight against racism and hate crime. She said:
“I would ask anyone, if you think for a second that you know anybody who thinks all they have is to take the life of another, do whatever you can to stop them. Gee Walker said to me the one reason she wanted her son’s story to be told is because she thought people might watch it and they might think about it just long enough for someone to get away, just a few seconds to get up off the floor and run.”
The BAFTA awards were held in West London’s Television Centre in front of a small, socially distanced audience of nominees. Fans were able to tune in remotely. Other winners from the night include Malachi Kirby who won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Small Axe; Paul Mescal, who took the Leading Actor BAFTA for his role in Normal people; and Michaela Coel who won the Leading Actress award for her role in I May Destroy You.