Bafta Cymru: Welsh news award given to wrong programme

Bafta Cymru gong
Image caption Bafta Cymru has apologised to all three broadcasters shortlisted

A Welsh television prize was handed out in error at this year's Bafta Cymru awards ceremony, it has emerged.

The winner of the news coverage award was announced as BBC Cymru Wales' Newyddion programme on S4C, when in fact it was ITV's Wales Tonight.

Bafta Cymru has apologised to the broadcasters and will conduct a review of its award jury voting processes.

The award has been presented to ITV for its coverage of the disappearance of April Jones last year in Powys.

Bafta announced the mistake three days after hundreds of people in the audience at the awards ceremony saw Newyddion collect the prize for its coverage of the 2012 Olympics.

The other programme in the final three was BBC's Wales Today, for its coverage of the Olympic Torch Relay in Snowdonia.

Bafta Cymru chairman Dewi Vaughan Owen said it had come to light since Sunday's ceremony that the award was given in error to Newyddion.

Mr Owen said the award was made "in good faith" on the night. In a statement on Wednesday he "apologised unreservedly" to the broadcasters, blaming a clerical error.

He presented it to the correct recipient Phil Henfrey, ITV Wales' head of news and programmes, on Wednesday and congratulated the channel on its achievement.

Asked if Bafta was aware of the mistake on Sunday evening, Mr Owen said he first became aware of it "in the early hours of Monday morning".

He confirmed that the chair of the award jury in question was at the ceremony, but that the mistake was not brought to his (Mr Owen's) attention until after the awards had ended.

But only the individual chairs of juries knew who the winners were because of the tight security.

He was also asked by BBC Wales News why it had taken three days to rectify the error.

Clerical error

Mr Owen said the Bafta Cymru office reconvened on Monday afternoon and undertook research of all files to confirm the correct winner.

He said he was in London on business on Tuesday and he was not contactable until late.

But his immediate action on receiving confirmation of the error was to contact ITV, and on Wednesday at 10:00 BST the award was officially given to the Wales Tonight team.

Mr Owen confirmed it was down to a Bafta clerical error and that "a full internal process" will now take place, and whatever the outcome of that process will be followed.

Bafta Cymru employs a full-time staff of three people.

When asked if he or Allison Dowzell, the director of Bafta Cymru, would be resigning, he said he believed that they were best placed to undertake the investigation into what happened.

He added that from a personal perspective he was in place through a formal election process and that his period as chair will come to a natural end.

A BBC Cymru Wales spokesperson said: "Firstly, we would like to congratulate the Wales Tonight team on their success in winning the award.

"A Bafta Cymru award is something to cherish and that's why the sense of disappointment within our Newyddion team now that they've been told they received the award in error is palpable.

"Clearly, we're extremely disappointed with what has happened.

"Nevertheless, the fact that the Newyddion team was shortlisted for the award in the first place is testament to the hard work they've put into the programme and the Olympics coverage.

"We have accepted Bafta Cymru's apology for the error and have asked them for reassurance that it cannot happen again."

ITV Wales' Mr Henfrey said: "I'm very grateful to Bafta Cymru for coming forward.

"It's a testament to a great achievement by the team and I'm very happy to accept the award and we'd like to dedicate it to the memory of April Jones.

"It was a shame and I think Bafta, when they apologised to us, wanted to make it clear that that moment for the team [of celebration at the ceremony] had been lost."

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