Dad steps up to accept son's BAFTA for starring role in BBC mockumentary This Country
ANOTHER award went to the BBC ‘mockumentary’ This Country at the BAFTAs on Sunday night – the series’ fifth - as Charlie Cooper won Best Male Performance in a Comedy. But Charlie was missing on his big night as he’d gone camping in Wales because he didn't think he had "a hope in hell" of winning, so his dad Paul Cooper sent a text to his son and stepped up to accept the award on his behalf.
“Charlie was over the moon when I texted him," said proud father Paul. "He couldn’t believe it. When he saw it later, he said I got the tone of the speech just right.”
Sibling series creators Daisy May and Charlie Cooper star in the documentary-style comedy about the lives of young people in a Cotswold village, following the antics of cousins Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe. It’s very much a family affair, with Paul playing Kerry’s wayward dad Martin and his brother, their uncle Trevor, the local antagonist Len Clifton.
Although the Cooper family now live in Cirencester, their roots are in Aldermaston, where Paul grew up - his father was former Bucklebury GP Bob Cooper and he was a pupil at St Bartholomew's School.He went on to work for Quantel, before moving to Gloucestershire with his wife Gill when daughter Daisy was four weeks old. Paul still works locally for the charity Hoarding Disorders UK.
Paul, Daisy and Uncle Trevor attended the scaled-down Covid-safe ceremony hosted by Richard Ayoade at the Television Centre in White City, in their own little bubble, the only people invited were the nominees with their A.N.Other. There were about 100 in an 800-seat theatre, in stark contrast to the first ceremony they attended in 2018 when Daisy won Best Female Comedy Performance for playing Kerry.
“That was a huge theatre with drinks and a meal then, very special,” Paul added. “But it was a highlight enough for Charlie that he was nominated – he’s very different to Daisy, chalk and cheese - he doesn’t have her confidence. He said ‘there’s no way I’ll win it’ and didn’t even send a speech.
“So as we sat down, I thought just in case I’ll scribble a list on a bit of cardboard. And that was my speech.”
On the winner's podium, Paul said he was very honoured to accept the award, adding: “We are so, so proud of you Charlie – well done son.”
Daisy was also nominated again this year for the third and final series, after the show came to an end last year. Like most parents keeping the peace, Paul was relieved Charlie has levelled up the score – “I’m sure Daisy has mentioned ‘I’ve got a BAFTA’ more than a few times. Now there will be no squabbling, no arguments,” he said.
So the BAFTA went back to Paul and Gill’s Cirencester home to await Charlie’s return. It spent the first night in the middle of the kitchen table.
“When I came down in the morning I realised Jill hadn’t locked the door. Our first thought was the BAFTA! … Luckily it was still there,” he said.
Watch Paul receive the award from comedian Rose Matafeo and his acceptance speech here.