Bafta-winning actor Sean Harris gave special thanks to his drama teacher as he stepped up to receive his award for best actor at the prestigious ceremony last night.
Harris, who won for his role in the Channel 4 drama Southcliffe, gave an endearing speech in which he began by thanking his colleagues on Southcliffe, his agent, his dad, his friend Bob down the pub and a seven-year-old girl who he’d been filming with that week.
Then, after three minutes, as host Graham Norton, prompted: “Is that it?” Harris, who grew up in Lowestoft, Suffolk, added: “Really important, this one, a woman called Lesley Halley, who was Miss Halley, who was my drama teacher at school when I was this high [pointing to his knee].
"I should have ended up in Bernard Matthews or places like that and she went to my dad’s house and said: ‘I think your boy could be an actor’ and that was a big deal to my dad, he worked in the shipyards. So she put me on that road. Thank you Lesley.”
And the Lowestoft drama teacher was not the only teacher to get a mention at the awards ceremony in London.
Olivia Colman, who picked up best actress for her role in Broadchurch – one of three for the ITV crime drama – cried with emotion as she collected her award. She included in her speech a mention for “my friend Merk – she’s a teacher, she’ll laugh.”
Earlier this year, Dame Helen Mirren, on being awarded a Bafta for her outstanding contribution to film, delivered a moving tribute to her English teacher Alice Welding.
The actress known for Prime Suspect and The Queen credited Ms Welding for revealing to her the "power of literature".
“My journey to this place, right here, right now, began with a great teacher, Alice Welding, who died two weeks ago, at the age of 102,” Dame Helen told assembled cinematic luminaries in February.
“She revealed to me the power of literature, and she recognised my need to live in that world of imagination and world of poetry. She alone was the person who encouraged me to become an actor.”