Anger after BBC cuts Siobhan McSweeney’s political speech at Bafta TV awards

The BBC cut part of Siobhan McSweeney’s acceptance speech at the Bafta TV Awards on Sunday night, where the Derry Girls actress took potshots at politicians.

After picking up the Best Female Performance in a Comedy prize for her turn as Sister Michael, the 43-year-old took aim at leaders of British, Irish, and Northern Irish parliaments.

The comedy about a group of teenagers growing up in Londonderry in the 1990s has been a sleeper hit, set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Addressing “the people of Derry”, the Irish actress said: “I am, daily, impressed with how you encompassed the spirit of compromise and resilience, despite the indignities, ignorance, and stupidity of your so-called leaders in Dublin, Stormont, and Westminster.

“In the words of my beloved Sister Michael, ‘It’s time they started to wise up’.”

This version was shown on the Bafta YouTube channel.

However, BBC One watchers would only have heard her say “To the people of Derry – thank you for taking me into your hearts and your living rooms,” as well as thanking her family and the show’s creator, Lisa McGee.

The broadcaster’s move was criticised online.

Twitter user @OhHeyJacob said: “What actually happened VS what the BBC aired. Tell me again how the BBC is unbiased? Why have they cut that out?”

Fellow user Tony McNulty said: “What on earth was wrong with showing what she actually said ffs?”

Maggie Anne Hayes added: “Such a more powerful moving speech. What great telly they just scrapped.”

Other speeches were cut in the night but no cut was as inflammatory as the one made to McSweeney — who has not yet publicly commented. It follows Gary Lineker stepping back from Match of the Day after he criticised the Government’s direction over deporting migrants.

The BBC press office said: “As in previous years, due to the nature of the show it is broadcast with a short delay, and while we always aim to keep the core sentiment of acceptance speeches, edits have to be made due to time constraints.”