Timothy Spall praised for ‘real’ speech after shock Bafta TV Awards 2024 win over Brian Cox

Timothy Spall praised for ‘real’ speech after shock Bafta TV Awards 2024 win over Brian Cox

Timothy Spall has been praised by viewers of the 2024 Bafta TV Awards for his sincere and unrehearsed acceptance speech.

The actor, 67, won the Best Actor prize for his role in the four-part BBC true crime drama The Sixth Commandment.

Brian Cox had been the heavy favourite to take home the trophy for his role in Succession, while Steve Coogan was also tipped to be a contender for his portrayal of celebrity paedophile Jimmy Savile in The Reckoning.

Dominic West (The Crown), Kane Robinson (Top Boy) and Papa Essiedu (The Lazarus Project) were also nominated in the category.

However, it was Spall who emerged victorious, and the actor appeared to take the podium without having written a speech.

Spall described the acting profession as being “a soppy old thing, standing up pretending to be somebody and pissing around in costume”.

“The reality is, sometimes you get a chance to play people that have had a terrible thing happen to them, and all they wanted is love. This is a story about many things, about terrible crimes, but it’s also about love,” he told the audience at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

“We’re just storytellers, aren’t we, really? When it makes a difference and we can all share in the human condition ... even though acting is a silly stupid thing, it’s lovely.”

Gesturing at the trophy, he muttered: “I’ve always wanted one of these.”

Viewers shared praise for the actor on social media.

Really pleased Timothy Spall won best #BAFTAs actor for Sixth Commandment,” wrote journalist Harry Wallop. “It was such a fine performance in a really compelling drama. (And lovely acceptance speech – so rare for someone to admit they actually rather coveted a Bafta!)”

Timothy Spall at the TV Baftas 2024 (BBC)
Timothy Spall at the TV Baftas 2024 (BBC)

“As someone who grew up on [the Spall-starring 1980s comedy] Auf Wiedersehen Pet, great to see Timothy Spall get a BAFTA and give a brilliantly human nonscripted speech. Always be Barry to me,” another person wrote.

“Timothy Spall giving the the most ‘real’, genuine speech, from the most deserved winner,” someone else wrote.

Elsewhere at the ceremony, Joe Lycett showed up dressed as Queen Elizabeth after losing a bet, while a dance tribute to Peaky Blinders left some viewers scratching their heads.

You can find the full winners list here.