Black Mirror actress Rakie Ayola receives Bafta Cymru award

Rakie Ayola poses at the BAFTA Cymru: St David's Day Celebration Q&A at BAFTA on February 20, 2023 in London, England.
Rakie Ayola joins an impressive list of recipients which includes Ruth Jones, Michael Sheen and Russell T Davies

Actress Rakie Ayola says she is "honoured and overwhelmed" to receive a prestigious Bafta Cymru award.

The annual Siân Phillips award is presented to a Welsh person who has made a significant contribution in a major feature film or TV programme.

The actress, from Cardiff, has appeared in shows like Black Mirror, Noughts + Crosses, Doctor Who and The Pact.

She joins an impressive list of recipients which includes Ruth Jones, Michael Sheen and Russell T Davies.

She is the first person of colour to receive the award.

Ms Ayola told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast she had been to Bafta Cymru ceremonies before and said "it just never occurred to me that my name would be added to that list".

"It's one of those things that I can't breathe in to be honest, I'll need to lie in a darkened room and think about it, or not think about it, it's massive."

In 2021 Ms Ayola received a Bafta for best supporting actress for her role in BBC One drama Anthony.

Ms Ayola decided aged eight that she wanted to be an actress after watching Barbra Streisand in Hello Dolly.

She grew up in Ely, where she attended Windsor Clive Primary School and Glan Ely Comprehensive.

Ayola attends the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2021 at Television Centre on June 06, 2021 in London, England.
The Cardiff-born actress was awarded for her contribution

The actress was a keen member of Orbit Youth Theatre, South Glamorgan Youth Theatre, South Glamorgan Youth Choir and the National Youth Theatre of Wales.

She dropped out of school before taking her A-levels after receiving an unconditional place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where she began a three year Acting Diploma.

In announcing her award, Bafta said Ms Ayola has been a passionate and long-standing advocate for widening the diversity and representation of talent on-and-off screen.

Rebecca Hardy, interim head of Bafta Cymru, said: "Rakie is an incredible talent who inspires, drives, and enriches the industry here in Wales and beyond.

"Dedicated to her craft, she delivers empathetic and connected performances, demonstrating not only her acting ability, but compassion and understanding of social and political issues that as viewers we can take so much from."

She will receive the award at the Bafta Cymru Awards 2023, which will take place at the ICC Wales in Newport on Sunday 15 October.

Watch on iPlayer banner
Watch on iPlayer banner
Watch on iPlayer footer
Watch on iPlayer footer