I was nominated as best writer for my CBBC series 4 O'Clock Club - along with Mikis Michaelides and Luc Skyz, who write the songs for the show. We didn't win, of course. We weren't expecting to though; this was, I think, my third or fourth BAFTA nomination, and I've yet to win any of them.
It's a weird thing, being nominated for an award. Well, it's weird for me, presumably because I'm a bit weird, but the only thing I feel when I get nominated is a slight sense of dread. I always fear that, win or lose, it's going to be awkward.
If I win - worse this time because I was up against a good friend in the same category (he didn't win either) - then I would've had to act not-too-pleased, because that would look like gloating. If I don't win - and I didn't - I'd have to adopt the "right sort of face", because when the awards category comes around you have a camera pointing at you, and your reaction is shown on huge screens either side of the stage.
But what is the right sort of face?
I think that's it; I don't know how I'm meant to be at these things, in a way that feels natural, and maybe I end up overthinking it. Also, I've discovered that stating openly that I don't really care gets me one of two reactions: I always think people either don't believe me and reckon I'm just saying it to protect myself in the event of not winning... or they just look at me horrified, like they've suddenly realised I was The Hooded Claw all along.
And what makes this worse is that being nominated for a BAFTA, winning a BAFTA, really, really means a lot to some people, and it makes me feel ungrateful.
That was clear from the acceptance speeches last night; there was raw emotion on display; excitement, tears, disbelief. I've seen it among those who've not taken home an award too - I know of more people than I care to mention who'd stormed out upon hearing that they're not successful.
And so... I think I have all this swirling around my head before I go to these things, and end up questioning myself far too much. I was genuinely anxious yesterday before leaving for the ceremony, and - as my other half remarked - I never get anxious about anything.
Thing is, I can't shake the sense that awards mean nothing, really. They're just the opinions of some people in a room... and those people who vote, in the case of the Children's BAFTAs, aren't even the target audience.
Case in point; the big winners at last night's ceremony are an online channel called TrueTube. No; I hadn't heard of it either, and neither had most of the people I spoke to at the ceremony. The channel is an online resource for schools that provides videos, lesson plans and assembly scripts for RE, PSHE and Citizenship at Key Stages 3 and 4.
Their shows include "The Gospel of Luke", short films about dealing with grief and relationships, and Screwball (the one which beat me) - a 12 minute film about "two young people struggling through their first sexual encounter".
TrueTube cleaned up in pretty much every category they were nominated in, but - and I hope this doesn't sound like sour grapes - their output, which is clearly very good, seems like the sort of thing adults would like, rather than kids.
Also, there's the whole issue of the fact that BAFTA is a business; to be nominated, you have to submit your shows to BAFTA, and that costs a lot of money (and means that some shows don't even get submitted). Plus, tickets to the event costs hundreds of pounds (being a nominee, CBBC kindly paid for mine). In order to survive, BAFTA has to make money, and one of the primary ways it makes money is by holding awards ceremonies.
I suppose the main thing I appreciate is that CBBC like my work enough to submit it - and invite me along - rather than the opinions of the committee who chose the winner. That, I guess, feels like the real honour; that the people I work for value what I do, and put it forward for wider recognition. It's why I can't not go to the ceremony, even though there's part of me that would've loved to have chucked a sicky so I didn't have to negotiate the minefield of awards ceremony social rules; doing so would seem ungrateful. And I'm very, very grateful that CBBC continue to give me work.
Don't think I dislike everything about being nominated. I mean, it's sort of funny that I get to be in a room with Hacker T Dog, Derek Griffiths and Peter Andre. That is entertainment value in itself.
I sat on a table with Sam and Mark - stalwarts of CBBC's presenting ranks - who were very pleasant chaps (they didn't win either of the two categories they were nominated in). I also got to catch up with colleagues I don't see very often, and others who I rarely have the opportunity to socialise with. Also: free meal.
I mean, were I ever to win one... of course I'd be pleased. It's a pat on the head, a bit of validation, and I get to go home with a heavy statue that I'd be able to show off on my mantelpiece.
But in terms of its deeper meaning, it's less important to me than having what I do recognised by continuing to be offered work. That's what truly matters. I mean, when my agent negotiates contracts for me, on shows that I've co-created, I tend to give up certain format rights in return for a guaranteed number of episodes per series. For me, security means more than accolades.
I don't want to take away from the winners by discounting their achievements, or the euphoria they seemed to display. All were deserved of course, and in the case of TrueTube beating CBBC to be Channel of the Year, that's one heck of an accomplishment. This is about me, and my ridiculous over-analysing, but I've written this blurb to try and understand why a nomination somehow floors me, rather than lifting me high. I know I'm the exception here, the weird one. Ever was it so.
I guess... I do feel that working in kids tv is a privilege in itself; writing stories for a living is bloody great, frankly. Plus, look at the appetite there is for nostalgia for things we remember when we were kids. It's an enormous honour to be manufacturing that nostalgia for a whole new generation, and giving them stuff that they'll remember for a lifetime. I guess I just don't need a statue to remind me of that.