BBC balance, Gary Lineker and Holly and Phil all subject of Bafta gags

Comedians Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan took digs at the BBC, the Gary Lineker controversy and the furore over Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield’s visit to the late Queen’s lying in state as they hosted the Bafta TV awards.

The duo, who are hosting the ceremony for the first time, opened the show with a string of “edgy” jokes.

Beckett said: “As we all know this year, there have been one or two issues with the subject of the BBC and balance.

Bafta Television Awards 2023
Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan opened the show with a string of ‘edgy’ jokes (Yui Mok/PA)

“It’s not easy for comedians to host an award show on the BBC. We need to be funny. We need to be professional and also offer balanced views. This booking is perfect for balance.

“I see a room filled with some of the hardest working and most talented people in TV all driven by a passion and a love for their craft.”

Ranganathan added: “Whereas I see a roomful of shark-eyed narcissists.”

The pair then chimed in unison: “Balance.”

Imelda Staunton attending the Bafta Television Awards 2023
Imelda Staunton is in the running for the best actress prize (Yui Mok/PA)

Gesturing to Imelda Staunton, who is in the running for the best actress prize for her role as the late Queen in The Crown, Beckett said: “She’s nominated for her performance in The Crown.

“Apparently, Holly and Phil got to watch that a couple of days before everybody else. A little bit of edge for you, early doors.”

The This Morning hosts were criticised on social media after they saw the late Queen lying in state without taking part in the public queue.

They later insisted they would “never jump a queue” and their visit was for the purposes of reporting on the event.

Later Beckett joked: “A few months back we were left hoping that The Traitors would be making a swift return to BBC One.

“Well that’s what some of the papers called the Match Of The Day presenters anyway.

“Are we edgy? I think we might be edgy.”

Lineker was briefly suspended as host of Match Of The Day in March over his criticism of the Government’s asylum policy on Twitter but returned to air following a boycott by top on-air talent at the broadcaster.

Pundits and presenters dropping out of a host of football shows in solidarity with Lineker prompted two days of disruption to TV and radio schedules.