History of the BAFTAs

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts was formed initially as the British Film Academy in 1947. The chairman of this new organisation was David Lean and the aim was to promote British films and recognise the work of those who had made them.

In 1958 a merger took place with the Guild of Television Producers and Directors, and the name was changed to the Society of Film and Television Arts. Funding came in part from royalties donated by David Lean from his work on films such as Doctor Zhivago and Bridge on the River Kwai and this allowed the society to develop.

Further funding came from Queen Elizabeth II, who donated royalties in the 1970s from a documentary made about the Royal Family. This funding gave the society new offices and the name changed again to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts – BAFTA for short. The Queen attended the opening of the new building.

These days the BAFTA awards tend to be a good indicator of how actors and movies will fare at the Oscars in Hollywood and they take place in the early part of every year