Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky hit out at the Government at the Baftas, saying it is trying to “eviscerate” the BBC, adding that he felt now “is a dangerous time for broadcasting in Britain”.
He was speaking at the awards as he accepted a Bafta for the best drama series for the Hilary Mantel adaption.
He referred to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale’s reported plans to interfere with the scheduling of shows such as the BBC News and Strictly Come Dancing as similar to the “bastions of democracy Russia and North Korea”.
He said: “In many ways our broadcasters, the BBC and Channel 4, which they’re also attempting to eviscerate, are the envy of the world and we should stand up and fight for it.”
Mark Rylance, who won best actor ward for Wolf Half, backed Kosminsky and told his star guests: “Woe to any Government or corporation who tries to come between the British people and their television.”
The best actress award went to Suranne Jones in BBC drama Doctor Foster.
Hull-born Sir Tom Courtenay accepted the award for best supporting actor as he begrudgingly accepted his title as a “veteran” of the industry.
Yorkshire talent featured again when The Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, from Leeds, made an appearance with Mary Berry.
And Leeds-born and raised comic Leigh Francis, who found fame with a series of comic characters, most notably Keith Lemon and once worked as an artist on the Yorkshire Evening Post, won a Bafta for best entertainment performance for Celebrity Juice.
Victoria Wood, Sir Terry Wogan and Ronnie Corbett were among the actors and industry members lost in the past year who were remembered in a tribute segment at the awards.
Strictly Come Dancing beat the likes of Britain’s Got Talent and Adele At The BBC to take home its first ever TV Bafta.
One of the show’s co-hosts, Claudia Winkleman, joked that she “regretted the three tequilas” she had had, adding: “Huge thanks to the producers, the judges and our amazing dancers, we cannot believe it. We’re going out for five days after this.”
Craig Revel Horwood, a judge on the best entertainment programme winner also took a dig at the Government saying: “If they are in charge of anything entertainment-wise it would be a complete disaster, we don’t want them in charge of any decisions, creatively.”
The comedy and comedy entertainment programme category was won by Have I Got News For You.
One of the show’s team captains, Ian Hislop, also praised the BBC and its independence.
He said: “I’m reiterating the theme, I’d like to thank the BBC, who have allowed us to be rude about the Government ... and indeed rude about the BBC itself, which is a privilege you are given with public service broadcasting and not on state television.”
The Bafta Fellowship award went to comedy writing duo Alan Simpson and Ray Galton, who recorded a video thank you.
Simpson said their speech had been written for them because “we can’t afford our prices”.
He joked: “There are so many people to thank for this award but most of them are dead.”
Sherlock star Martin Freeman presented the Radio Times audience award to Poldark.
Channel 4’s First Dates was named the winner of the reality and constructed factual category.
Sir Lenny Henry was presented with a special award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the medium.
The British stand-up comedian, actor and writer, who is best known for his work on Comic Relief and as a presenter of programmes including The Magicians, The Lenny Henry Show and Three Of A Kind, was honoured with the Alan Clarke Award.