Prominent Indian-origin actor-writer, Meera Syal, has been conferred the BAFTA fellowship by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). The fellowship is awarded to individuals in acknowledgement of extraordinary and exceptional contribution to film, video games, or television.
Syal, who featured in the popular BBC comedies "Goodness Gracious Me" and "The Kumars at No 42", will be felicitated at the BAFTA Television Awards, to be held on May 14 at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Reacting to the news, Syal said, “ I am particularly delighted that this year’s award is twinned with opportunities to mentor and support participants in BAFTA’s learning programme — where I hope to engage with many talented practitioners and continue working to make BAFTA a truly representative and celebratory place for all our creatives.”
As a fellow, Syal will collaborate closely with the arts organization throughout the course of the upcoming year to encourage and support aspiring creatives through BAFTA's year-round learning, inclusiveness, and talent activities.
Jane Millichip, CEO at BAFTA said “Meera Syal has made an extraordinary impact on the screen and literary arts. As an actor and writer, she is an exceptional storyteller with an enormous range, which means she is loved by peers and the public as much as she is critically acclaimed.”
Syal has honorary doctorates from SOAS, Manchester, and Birmingham Universities and was the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University in 2012. She has also earned the Women in Film and TV Award for Creative Innovation.
A West Midlands native, Syal started her acting career at the Royal Court in addition to her numerous and ongoing theatre roles. However, she transitioned quickly into screenwriting and wrote the scripts for "Bhaji on the Beach" in 1993 and "My Sister Wife" in 1994. She also wrote and performed in the groundbreaking comedy sketch show "The Real McCoy" from 1991 to 1994. This autumn, she will appear in ‘The Wheel of Time’ and ‘Mrs Siddhu Investigates,’ two new, high-profile series.