COMEDIAN Siobhán McSweeney has thanked her many social media fans for their outpouring of support after the BBC edited anti-Government references out of her Bafta award speech.
The Cork native, who is currently starring in Dancing at Lughnasa at the National Theatre, won the Bafta for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme during the ceremony on Sunday, May 14, for her part playing Sister Michael in the Channel 4 comedy.
In a heartfelt acceptance speech, in which McSweeney thanked series creator Lisa McGee, as well as paying tribute to her own mother, the actor criticised the governments in Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland for heir “ignorance and stupidity” in the treatment of the people of the North.
Following the ceremony Bafta uploaded the speech in full to their You Tube channel, which flagged to viewers that the version of McSweeney’s speech broadcast by the BBC on Sunday evening had been cut, quite extensively.
In McSweeney’s full speech she says: “To the people of Derry - thank you for taking me into your hearts and into your living rooms.
“I am daily impressed with how you encompass the spirit of compromise and resilience, despite the indignities, ignorance and stupidity of your so-called leaders in Dublin, Stormont and Westminster.
“In the words of my beloved Sister Michael, ‘it's time they started to wise up’. Thank you so much."
But in the version viewers of the BBC’s coverage watched, her words were edited to say: “To the people of Derry - thank you for taking me into your hearts and your living rooms... thank you so much.”
The realisation sparked much criticism of the BBC on social media, with McSweeney fans accusing the British broadcaster of censoring the actor.
— Jacob 🏳️🌈 (@OhHeyJacob) May 15, 2023
The BBC censored Siobhan McSweeney’s acceptance speech - that’s what happened!
Here’s what BBC viewers did and didn’t see and hear ⏬ pic.twitter.com/lhEwLpCUyW
— The London Economic (@LondonEconomic) May 15, 2023
Responding to the criticisms, a BBC spokesman said: “As in previous years, due to the nature of the show it is broadcast with a short delay, and while we always aim to keep the core sentiment of acceptance speeches, edits have to be made due to time constraints.”
An outpouring of support has continued since the incident, which McSweeney has addressed today.
In a social media post, which included a picture of the stunning red dress she wore to the Bafta ceremony, she stated: “I’m deeply moved by the amount of messages and lovely well wishes.
“I literally can’t reply to them all. Trying to do so would keep me busy til next year! Know I’m so so grateful. Thank you very much. I’m beyond lucky.”
I’m deeply moved by the amount of messages and lovely well wishes. I literally can’t reply to them all. Trying to do so would keep me busy til next year! Know I’m so so grateful. Thank you very much. I’m beyond lucky. pic.twitter.com/ShURdhTzRE
— Siobhán McSweeney (@siobhni) May 16, 2023
Derry Girls also won the Bafta for Best Scripted Comedy award on the night, with further gongs won for the Irish when Sharon Horgan's bad Sisters scooped Best Drama Series and Best Supporting Actress for one of its stars, Anne-Marie Duff.