Liz Truss, NHS waiting times and Vladimir Putin all feature in Bafta gags

Comedians Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan have poked fun at the economy after Liz Truss’s spell as prime minister, NHS waiting times and Russian President Vladimir Putin as they hosted the Bafta TV awards.

The duo, who hosted the ceremony for the second consecutive time, opened the show with a monologue featuring a host of “topical” gags.

“Deal Or No Deal returned with Stephen Mulhern as the host, although thanks to Liz Truss the banker hasn’t been able to offer him anything lower than a 17% five-year fixed rate,” Ranganathan joked, referencing Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister.

Liz Truss’ resignation honours list
Former prime minister Liz Truss was the target of jokes (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Last month, Ms Truss again refused to apologise for the banking crisis, pointing out that “mortgage rates have gone up across the world”, and reiterated her criticism of Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey.

Beckett continued the opening monologue: “At the end of last year, Ncuti Gatwa became the 15th incarnation of Doctor Who.”

“At least someone could get a doctor’s appointment – am I right guys?” Ranganathan joked.

Beckett said “here we go, did someone order double politics”, to which Ranganathan replied: “A little bit of topical.”

Later they introduced two stars of The Responder, a drama about a first response police unit in Merseyside, to announce an award.

“Which unfortunately means they could arrive on stage anywhere between two minutes and five hours,” Ranganathan joked, to which Beckett replied: “Triple politics.”

The duo also made reference to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“There’s also been loads of great documentaries and current affairs shows this year, such as Putin Vs The West,” Ranganathan said.

Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin was mentioned at the Baftas (Nick Potts/PA)

“Unfortunately, we’ve been told that Putin can’t make it tonight. But a lot of the West is here,” Beckett joked.

Ranganathan closed the monologue saying he hoped the awards go “some small way to bringing the country together”.

“Like Elton John’s set at Glastonbury, the final of The Traitors or Nigel Farage on I’m A Celebrity,” he joked, referencing the British politician placing third on the ITV reality show.

The duo also took aim at famous faces including Barney Walsh, the son of TV star Bradley Walsh, presenter Lorraine Kelly and The Traitors host Claudia Winkleman.

Beckett said: “We were all glued to a gripping drama of Succession, to see who of the next generation would follow in his father’s footsteps.

“Yes, it turns out it was Barney Walsh,” Ranganathan joked.

Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards 2019 – Arrivals – London
Bradley Walsh and Barney Walsh (Ian West/PA)

“The brilliant Top Boy has also been nominated for three awards this year. It’s a show full of guns, laundered money and drugs. Incidentally all things that are on Lorraine Kelly’s rider,” Ranganathan told the audience.

He also said he enjoyed the thriller Slow Horses.

“I love Gary Oldman’s character, anyone who isn’t afraid of farting on national TV is fine by me… speaking of which Claudia Winkleman is here,” Ranganathan joked.

Beckett added: “The producers of The Crown are hoping to take home four Baftas this evening.”

“Which will make up for the fact they are never, ever, ever getting an MBE,” Ranganathan said.

The duo kicked off the Bafta TV awards issuing stern instructions to the star-studded audience.

Beckett said: “We are back for a second year as hosts. There were a few mistakes made last year so if you win, we love a good acceptance speech – but keep it tight.”

Ranganathan added: “Actually don’t say anything at all.

“Producers, you can come up to the stage if you must, but please stand at the back and let the famous people talk.

“To the actors, it’s impossible to ‘fall in love with a script’ – you read it, you liked it and thought it would make you some money.”

Beckett continued: “If you have got to make a political point remember we have got to follow you, so keep it light.”