Not winning a BAFTA (...phew???)
Last night was BAFTA night. The Pompeii documentary that I had been part of was nominated for an award in the Specialist Factual category ... so we all got dressed up in our best to go to the awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel.
Needless to say, I am not a regular at this kind of event, and found myself full of both admiration and loathing at the whole slickness of organisation. I met up with some members of the team (Richard , Caterina and Daisy on her first post-baby outing -- just remember, ladies, how wonderful and stressful that is!) in the bar of the Dorchester, before we drove up to the red carpet at the awards HQ.
This is where admiration and loathing kicks in. You get out of your car and instantly the ushers know whether to to say "to the left" or "to the right".. On the left are the paps, with their cameras getting the celebs; on the right are the poor bloody public who have really come to see the celebs, but actually get M Beard et al walking along.
Admiration? Well.. it IS fantastic how these guys instantly know whether you are photo-worthy or not. Loathing? Well, obviously don't get me going on celeb culture.
Inside, after a glass of champagne, I was on a BBC table -- with mates and new mates (including Tom Hugh-Jones, son of a Cambridge colleague who made "Human Planet" nominated in the same category as we were). And we waited till our category prize was announced (.."and the BAFTA goes to...).
We didnt win.
Now lets be honest. If we had won, I would have been very pleased and drunk more champagne than is wise (never mind having to give a lecture at 9 o'clock this morning); and would particularly have celebrated the success of those members of the team whose professional award this is (I guess getting a BAFTA is a bit like becoming an FBA in my day job).
But was I disappointed? In retrospect I dont think so. Of course, the whole occasion gears you up to want to win. (That's rather like academic job applications... you might apply for them when you are young just as a practice run, not expecting to get them, but once you have finished the application, you find you are a bit invested in the whole thing.)
But within a few minutes, I felt a bit of relief.
Look, I thought -- this was my first tv programme. It was wonderful -- really wonderful - to be nominated for a BAFTA. Actually to win... that would be a bit different. I mean I am hoping to do a bit more rather austerely popular characterful academic television. How would I have ever lived up to a BAFTA for my first shot at the genre? Wouldnt it always have been a bit of a ;poisined chalice?
So thank you all ... I think I have got just the affirmation that I wanted (in fact more than the approbation and minus the hubris). And I will try to do even better next time.