Dick Van Dyke apologises for 'atrocious' Cockney accent as Bafta announces his special award

dick van dyke
(Image credit: ABACA USA/PA Images)

Legendary TV and film star Dick Van Dyke has been chosen to receive the Britannia Award For Excellence In Television by Bafta

Dick Van Dyke has been chosen by Bafta to receive a prestigious award for his excellence in television.

The Britannia Award For Excellence In Television will be presented to the 91-year-old actor at the 2017 AMD British Academy Britannia Awards by Bafta Los Angeles.

Mary Poppins star Van Dyke said: “I appreciate this opportunity to apologise to the members of Bafta for inflicting on them the most atrocious Cockney accent in the history of cinema.”

Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke early in his career in 1968 (PA)


The award recognises those whose special talents and appeal have elevated television and Van Dyke’s more than seven-decade career has been deemed worthy of the honour.

CEO of Bafta Los Angeles Chantal Rickards said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to honour the iconic Dick Van Dyke at this year’s British Academy Britannia Awards.

“We truly are in a golden age of television and we couldn’t think of a better way to recognise this than by celebrating someone who was at the forefront of making it the global medium that it has become.

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“We look forward to his acceptance speech in whatever accent he chooses on the night. We have no doubt it will be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

Van Dyke’s performances have earned him a trophy cabinet of five Emmys, a Tony, a Grammy, the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award, and induction into the Television Hall Of Fame.

His career took off with a Broadway role in musical Bye Bye Birdie in 1961, for which he won his Tony Award, and which was later adapted into a film he also starred in.


The sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, which also launched in 1961, solidified his star status and his most memorable film roles included Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews (1964), 1968’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Dick Tracy (1990) and the Night At The Museum films opposite Ben Stiller.

His hit TV series Diagnosis: Murder ran from 1993 to 2001 and produced two TV films in 2002.

The awards are Bafta’s biggest event outside of the UK and recognise British talent, and international talent with a strong connection to British entertainment.

This year’s AMD British Academy Britannia Awards presented by American Airlines will take place on October 27 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.