Back in the Bafta race

Academy bends the rules for Gervais

Ricky Gervais is in with a chance of a Bafta award, despite the BBC forgetting to submit his name.

The academy has bent its own rules and added his name to the 'long list' of 16 names up for best comedy performance.

But the move has sparked unease because, unlike the other nominees, none of the academy members had a chance to vote for The Office star.

One producer told MediaGuardian the move set an unfortunate precedent ­ as names had never been added after the deadline before.

He said: " I think a lot of people will be complaining about it."

It's thought that Gevais's double triumph in the Golden Globes last month added to pressure on Bafta to make an exception.

The BBC told MediaGuardian it was "delighted that Ricky has made the nominations, and we thank Bafta for understanding it was a genuine clerical error".

Originally, 83 nominations were received in Gervais's category, which was whittled down to the 16-name 'long list' by Bafta members. Because of the BBC blunder, Gervais bypassed this stage.

A shortlist will be unveiled on March 23 folllowing another round of voting, and the awards will be given out on April 18.

A Bafta spokeswoman said Gervais was "missed off the list and now he isn't."

Published: 9 Feb 2004

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