The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced that cook, author and broadcaster Delia Smith CBE will be presented with a BAFTA Special Award during a tribute event on Tuesday 30 April at BAFTA's headquarters, 195 Piccadilly, in London. The Award is in honour of Delia's outstanding contribution to television cookery and services to broadcasting. 'A BAFTA Tribute: Delia Smith' will celebrate her body of work over the last 40 years.
Andrew Newman, Chair of BAFTA's Television Committee, said: "Delia Smith is one of the most influential voices in television cookery and has played an important role in not only pioneering the genre in television but also shaping the perception of cooking in the nation's consciousness.
"Delia was the first TV cook to be recognised by her first name alone and her achievements have paved the way for today's cooking programmes and formats. It is unlikely that Jamie, Nigella, Gordon, The Hairy Bikers, and much-loved competitions such as The Great British Bake Off or Masterchef would have happened without her contribution," he added.
On hearing the news, Delia Smith said: "After the initial shock, I'm very proud to receive this honour from BAFTA as I've been a passionate movie buff ever since I was a small child, and television broadcasting has been a huge part of my life. So thank you so much BAFTA!"
BAFTA produces one or two tributes a year to major figures from the television and film industries who have contributed greatly to the art form and demonstrated excellence in their field. In recent years, BAFTA has paid tribute to producer Betty Willingale, costume designer Phyllis Dalton, production designer Sir Ken Adam, cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, animator Ray Harryhausen and director Nicolas Roeg.
Delia Smith began her TV career in 1973 as presenter of a new BBC One series entitled Family Fare. Her first cookery book How to Cheat at Cooking had been published in 1971 and, several books later, Delia approached the BBC with the idea for their first televised cookery course. The result, Delia Smith's Cookery Course Part One, was broadcast in 1978, followed by Part Two in 1980 and Part Three in 1981.
Delia's later series for the BBC have included One is Fun in 1991, Delia's How to Cook, which ran for three series between 1998 and 2002, and Delia's Classic Christmas, which gained an audience of nearly 4 million in December 2009, and marked her first Christmas programme for nearly 20 years.
Delia Smith has sold over 21 million books worldwide. Her latest book, Delia's Cakes, was launched in February this year with an online cookery school on the Delia Online website.
Public tickets for 'A BAFTA Tribute: Delia Smith' will Go On sale on Wednesday 6 March at www.bafta.org/whats-on.
A film of the event will be made available on BAFTA's online learning channel BAFTA Guru (www.bafta.org/guru).