British Indian actor-writer Meera Syal honoured with BAFTA Fellowship
London: Popular UK-based Indian-origin actor-writer Meera Syal has been conferred a BAFTA Fellowship, the highest accolade bestowed by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film and/or television.
The 61-year-old, who was born to Punjabi parents and grew up in the West Midlands region of England, was honoured with an MBE and then a CBE by the late Queen Elizabeth II for her contribution to drama and literature.
Best known for television shows such as ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ and ‘The Kumars at No. 42’, Syal has made her mark as an award-winning actor, screenwriter and novelist over the years.
The fellowship will be presented to her during the BAFTA Television Awards ceremony as part of a special commemoration of her work to-date at the Royal Festival Hall in London on May 14.
She said she is “honoured and thrilled” with the award, particularly as this year’s award is twinned with opportunities to mentor and support participants in BAFTA’s learning programme.
“I hope to engage with many talented practitioners and continue working to make BAFTA a truly representative and celebratory place for all our creatives. And I am grateful for the chance to pay forward the opportunities and experiences I have been lucky enough to have over my career,” said Syal.
BAFTA said that as part of the fellowship, Meera will work directly with the arts charity over the coming year to inspire and nurture aspiring creatives through BAFTA’s year-round learning, inclusion and talent programmes.
“Meera Syal has made an extraordinary impact on the screen and literary arts. As an actor and writer, she is an exceptional storyteller with enormous range, which means she is loved by peers and the public as much as she is critically acclaimed,” said Jane Millichip, CEO at BAFTA.
Syal’s work has scored multiple BAFTA nominations and wins, features on school and university syllabuses. She has also received the Women In Film and TV Award for Creative Innovation, honorary doctorates from SOAS, Manchester and Birmingham Universities and was the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University in 2012.
She is known for bringing her distinctive voice to the UK’s creative arts across multiple artistic genres over four decades with at least 140 credits. Some of her best-known novels include ‘Anita and Me’ and ‘Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee’, which were then adapted for the screen.
Besides, she has taken on several acting roles on screen and also in radio dramas.