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2 October 2017
John Rhys DaviesBAFTA/

BAFTA-winning writer Abi Morgan and acclaimed Lord of the Rings actor John Rhys Davies revealed as recipients


Cardiff, 28 September 2017: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in Wales, BAFTA Cymru, has revealed the Special Award recipients for this year’s British Academy Cymru Awards, taking place on 8 October 2017, as announced at this evening’s BAFTA Cymru Nominees Party.

BAFTA-winning writer Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Shame) will become the 13th recipient of the Siân Phillips Award. Morgan, who was born in Cardiff, is being honoured with the award – sponsored by Pinewood – as a Welsh person who has made a significant contribution to international television production and feature filmmaking.

The Siân Phillips Award, selected by the BAFTA Cymru Committee, has previously been awarded to make-up artist Siân Grigg, director Euros Lyn, actor Rhys Ifans, writer Russel T Davies, actor Michael Sheen, actor Ioan Gruffudd, writer/actress/producer Ruth Jones, actor Rob Brydon, actor Matthew Rhys, actor Robert Pugh, producer Julie Gardner and journalist Jeremy Bowen.

The BAFTA Cymru Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television, sponsored by SONY Technology, will be presented to acclaimed actor and producer John Rhys Davies. Known to many as Gimli in Lord of the Rings, or as Indiana Jones' comic sidekick, Sallah in two of Lucas Films’ Indiana Jones adventure films, John has appeared in over 150 television shows and films since the early '70s.

Hannah Raybould, Director of BAFTA Cymru, said: “The BAFTA Cymru Committee recognises Abi Morgan’s talents and her huge contribution to such an array of films and television programmes, including The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher and Shame, co-written with Steve McQueen. 

Her work on The Iron Lady earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Original Screenplay, while her work on Shame earned her a BAFTA nomination for Outstanding British Film. She has recently written The Invisible Woman for BBC Films, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, and Suffragette for Film4. In 2013 she won an Emmy for the 1950s newsroom drama, The Hour.

We are also very much looking forward to celebrating the extensive career and ongoing contribution of Emmy-nominated actor John Rhys Davies during the ceremony with a look back at his work from 1964 to the present day.”

The BAFTA Cymru Nominees Party, at which the announcement was made, celebrates the nominees for the upcoming British Academy Cymru Awards across Welsh film and television production, craft and performance categories.

Individuals and companies representing the nominated productions gathered at the BAFTA Cymru Nominees Party, hosted at the new Cornerstone venue and sponsored by Mad Dog Casting. Guests were treated to food from award-wining Spiros Fine Dining, and champagne from BAFTA partner Champagne Taittinger.

BAFTA Cymru Nominees Party Guests in attendance included Actress Award nominees Carys Eleri, Eiry Thomas, Kimberley Nixon and Mali Jones; Actor Award nominees Dyfan Dwyfor, Jack Parry Jones and Mark Lewis Jones as well as writers Fflur Dafydd and Owen Sheers. 

Other guests included Connie Fisher, Jonny Owen and Vicky McClure; Caryl Parry Jones and craft award nominees related to Sherlock; Damilola, Our Loved Boy and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and more.

Member of the public are invited to join nominees and special guests at this year’s awards. A limited number of tickets are still available for the Champagne reception, ceremony and after party at the new venue – the Radisson Blu - priced at £95, which includes a limited-edition Awards brochure.

Details of the nominees and guests attending the ceremony will be announced during the week of the Awards, to be held on 8 October.

The ceremony will be live streamed to BAFTA Cymru’s Facebook once again this year, with a special event being held by New York Welsh at the Sunken Hundred Welsh bar in Brooklyn, attended by Matthew Rhys and others guests. For the first time this year, BAFTA will also be live-streaming from the red carpet where viewers will be able to hear from guests as they arrive.

Post-production and facilities company Gorilla returns as Key Event Sponsor and returning sponsors and partners have been confirmed as Mad Dog Casting, Buzz Magazine, Cuebox, Deloitte, Ethos, Hotel Chocolat, Champagne Taittinger, Working Word, ELP, Ken Picton, Princes Gate, Villa Maria, AB Acoustics, Capital Law, Genero, Trosol, S4C, Aberystwyth University, Cardiff and Vale College, Cardiff Council, BBC Cymru Wales, University of South Wales, Audi, Sugar Creative, Pinewood Studios Group and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

New sponsors for 2017 are Cardiff BID, Channel 4, Clarins, Curzon, DRESD, Iceland, Lexon Printing Group, Media Access Solutions and Tiny Rebel.

Tickets can be purchased from the St David’s Hall Box Office
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For further information, please contact our PR team:

Lydia on 029 2045 5182 [email protected],

Notes to editors:

John Rhys Davies Biography

John Rhys-Davies is one of modern cinema's most recognisable character actors. While best known as Gimli in Lord of the Rings, or as Indiana Jones' comic sidekick, Sallah, in two of Paramount's Indiana Jones adventure films, John has appeared in over 150 television shows and films since the early '70s.

He was baptised Henry John Davies in Christian Temple Ammanford. John grew up in Wales, England and East Africa. He even gained his first TV credit, playing Sir John Oldcastle and Sir John Falstaff for Anglia TV.  

John was 28 when he made his first regular television series appearance in 1972 as Laughing Spam Fritter in the BBC's Budgie, before joining John Hurt on The Naked Civil Servant, I, Claudius and Claudius the God.

John’s performance earned him both an Emmy nomination, which led to Victor/Victoria with and Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first instalment of the Indiana Jones movies.

For the next two decades, John worked on numerous films and television shows and made memorable guest appearances on Chips, The Scarecrow and Mrs King, Murder She Wrote, Perry Mason, Tales from the Crypt, Star Trek: Voyager, and The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne. In 1982, he appeared in Ivanhoe and in 1985 in King Solomon’s Mines.

In 1986, he played the Russian General Pushkin in the first Timothy Dalton James Bond film The Living Daylights. 1989 saw John playing Joe Gargery in the Disney Channel's adaptation of Dickens' Great Expectations, starring in the miniseries version of War and Remembrance with Robert Mitchum, David Dukes, and Jane Seymour, and returning as Sallah in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

After appearing with Damon Wayans in The Great White Hype (1996), John recorded voice work for the animated films Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996) and Cats Don’t Dance (1997). He has done additional voice work for Animaniacs, Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, Pinky and the Brain, The Fantastic Four, and The Incredible Hulk.

John has also branched out to other media, starring in video games such as Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, Dune 2000, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, and Quest For Glory IV.  He is working on Chris Roberts' (Wing Commander) new game Squadron 42.

John joined the cast for The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003), which were shot simultaneously over an 18-month period in New Zealand.

In 2001, John began work on the Jackie Chan film Highbinders (2002). John starred opposite Gerrard Butler in the David Anspaugh directed film Game of their Lives (2005), the NZ film The Ferryman released (2007), the Tristan Lorraine thriller 31 North 62 East (2009), the big budgeted Mexican film La Leyada Del Tesoro (2011), starred opposite Jason Statham in In the Name of the King (2011), Saul: The Journey to Damascus (2014) for friend and producer Leif Bristow, and the epic revolutionary-themed film Behind the Mask (2015).

John then returned to US television in Lady Musketeer opposite Gerard Depardieu and mini-series Revelations (2005) starring with Bill Pullman and Natascha McElhone.

In 2016 he starred in five films including Winter Thaw an adaptation of the Tolstoy short story Martin the Cobbler, and Aux, a horror film shot in Epping Forest. As of May 2017, he has spent two months in Ohio finishing a five-month shoot for Starbright, made two short films The Invader’s Song, and Shamira, starred in one animated feature film, Beast of Burden, attended three fan conventions, and co-produced a documentary in Malta with his friend Philip Glassborow.

Abi Morgan biography:

Abi Morgan was born in Cardiff and, after initial ambitions to become an actress, she decided to become a writer while reading drama and literature at Exeter University. She then took a postgraduate writing course at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

Abi gained her first television writing credit in 1998 on the continuing ITV drama series Peak Practice, following that with a television play My Fragile Heart (2000) and a BBC2 drama Murder in 2002, starring Julie Walters.

She was commissioned to write the single drama Sex Traffic for Channel 4 in 2004, about a teenage girl trafficked from the Balkans to Britain, for which she won the BAFTA for Best Drama Serial in 2005. She has since written a number of single dramas for television including Tsunami: The Aftermath (2006) and she has won a BAFTA for White Girl, part of White (2008).

Royal Wedding (2010), followed the 1981 Royal Wedding through the perspective of events held in a small Welsh mining village. Her television work also includes Birdsong, a two-part television adaptation of Sebastian Faulks's novel of the same. The Hour, set in a BBC newsroom during the 1956 Suez Crisis which won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special having also been nominated in 2012.

River, a six part series for BBC/Netflix starring Stellan Skarsgard was broadcast in 2015.

Abi has also written for cinema and 2007 adaptation of Monica Ali's novel Brick Lane was critically acclaimed. She went on to write The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher and Shame, co-written with Steve McQueen. Her work on The Iron Lady earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Original Screenplay nomination, while her work on Shame earned her a further nomination for Outstanding British Film. She went on to write The Invisible Woman for BBC Films directed and starring Ralph Fiennes and Suffragettes for Film4 in 2015.

Abi has a number of films and TV projects in development including The Split, a 6x60 min series for BBC/Sundance that is currently shooting. 

About BAFTA Wales

BAFTA Wales – or BAFTA Cymru – extends the Academy’s charitable mission across the UK in support of Wales’ creative communities. The highlight of BAFTA’s events calendar in Wales is the annual British Academy Cymru Awards, an independent platform showcasing the work that truly reflects the best of the country across film, television and games, making a difference to those producing creative work as well as those watching it. 



The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds in working in film, games and television, visit For more, visit