Bafta responds after Matthew Perry left out of In Memoriam segment

Bafta has issued a clarification after viewers expressed their upset at Friends star Matthew Perry’s exclusion from the televised In Memoriam segment.

The Bafta Film Awards took place on Sunday (18 February) at London’s Royal Festival Hall, honouring the best releases and cinema talent of the past year.

Scottish actor David Tennant, known for his starring roles in Doctor Who and Broadchuch, hosted the ceremony and began proceedings with a speech that divided some viewers.

Later in the programme, there was more criticism to come as Friends star Perry was left out of the In Memoriam package.

During the segment,Ted Lasso actor Hannah Waddingham performed a stripped-back version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” as the screen showed images and clips of some film industry figures who’d passed away since last year’s ceremony.

The emotionally moving section included tributes to stars including Jane Birkin, Glynis Johns, Carl Weathers, Julian Sands, Tom Wilkinson and Tina Turner. Harry Belafonte, Alan Arkin and Sir Michael Gambon were also honoured.

Matthew Perry died in October (Getty Images)
Matthew Perry died in October (Getty Images)

However, a tribute to Perry was noticeably absent. The actor died in October, aged 54, at his home in Los Angeles following years of substance abuse.

Some viewers turned to social media to air their disappointment. One X/Twitter user wrote: “No mention of Matthew Perry in the #BAFTAs memorial?! Bad form @BAFTA.”

Elsewhere, another fan added: “Only came to make sure I wasn't the only person saddened at the glaring omission by @BAFTA of #MatthewPerry during the in memoriam tributes! #BAFTA2024 I’m pleased to see it’s not just me!”

Following the outraged response, Bafta issued a statement that noted that Perry’s exclusion was not an oversight, confirming that he will be honoured in May at the Bafta TV awards, instead.

The statement added: “We confirm he will be honoured in our forthcoming Bafta television awards in May, and on the in memoriam section on our website.”

Hannah Waddingham sings during the Baftas In Memoriam segment (EE BAFTA Film Awards 2024, BBC)
Hannah Waddingham sings during the Baftas In Memoriam segment (EE BAFTA Film Awards 2024, BBC)

Though Perry was best known for his role as Chandler Bing in all 10 seasons of the seminal New York-based sitcom, he also starred in several films throughout his career.

Bafta’s website states that Perry’s success in Friends “brought film opportunities, including Fools Rush In (1997), The Whole Nine Yards (2000) and its sequel, The Whole Ten Yards (2004), and 17 Again (2009)”.

Along with Perry, TV director Roy Battersby will be remembered in the forthcoming TV awards after Kate Beckinsale, Battersby’s stepdaughter, campaigned for his inclusion.

A Bafta spokesperson called Battersby “a renowned and trailblazing director” in a statement, and said the awards show was “sorry to hear” of his death.

You can read the full list of Bafta winners here.