When it became apparent that the 2020 Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards, powered by Jaguar, could not go ahead as intended last October – Miss Rona being an unwanted guest and all – Team Attitude shifted gear to reinvent the queer world’s biggest awards ceremony in the virtual space.
As a result, the 2020 event went from a black-tie gala dinner for 650 guests at the iconic Camden Roundhouse to one broadcast for the whole world to see, on 1 December, World Aids Day. And we were taking no chances – a spectacular, two-hour show premiered on Attitude’s YouTube channel, cross-promoted with simultaneous highlights on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Plus – for the first time ever – we got to appear on TV, too, with 13 regional networks from Brighton to Birmingham and Leeds to Liverpool carrying the show into hundreds of thousands of homes.
In true Attitude style, the famous and infamous joined the fun, albeit from their sofas at home. And those who would have been dinner guests enjoyed a sumptuous three courses delivered to their door by our friends at Cook, supplemented by generous supplies of Slingsby of Harrogate’s London Dry Gin and Tesco Finest wines. This meant guests could join us, replete, for a virtual red carpet ticking down to the first-ever Attitude Awards broadcast.
Host with the most Tom Allen and presenters including Simon Callow spoke warmly of the value attached to recognising role models and LGBTQ+ visibility ahead of time, before a packed schedule saw the presentation of 14 awards to a glittering canon of deserving winners.
Headline sponsor Virgin Atlantic supported Man of the Year Luke Evans and Icon Award winner Stephen Fry, while returning partner Jaguar supported Ally Award winner Michelle Visage and our second Icon, Taylor Swift. And they kept coming – as diverse and beautiful a roll call as you’d wish, from Dua Lipa (Music), Yungblud (Gamechanger), Russell Tovey (Culture) and Paloma Faith (Honorary Gay) to Rina Sawayama (Breakthrough), Munroe Bergdorf (Hero), NikkieTutorials (Inspiration) and Rosie Jones (Comedy).
Added pizzazz came with the sight of the entire cast of Netfl ix hit The Boys in the Band – Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Charlie Carver, Andrew Rannells, Jim Parsons and all – lining up to accept the Film Award, and a poignant moment saw Dr Ranj Singh on hand to welcome the team from St Mary’s Paddington in accepting the Community Award on behalf of all NHS LGBTQ+ workers across the UK.
We upped the ante on live performances, too, with storming sets from Yungblud, Paloma Faith, Rina Sawayama, The Vamps and RuPaul's Drag Race UK winner The Vivienne. Who said variety was dead?
At the time of going to press, Attitude Awards video content shared online and across our social platforms had achieved viewing figures of more than 2 million (2,003,790 to be precise, as of the end of January), while some element of the event’s content reached more than 5.4 million people from Attitude channels alone.
Meanwhile, the Attitude Awards programme broadcast on local TV networks across the UK had 183,000 viewers tuning in on the week of the awards and for its repeat on Boxing Day. Along with YouTube views, that means the full awards show has enjoyed some 210,000 views to date.
So, this is us at Attitude saying a huge thank you to our incredible and loyal readers and viewers, and to our wonderful allies and partners at Virgin Atlantic and Jaguar who have stuck by us through a tumultuous year.
We worked tirelessly and against the odds to uplift, elevate and celebrate the biggest and brightest in LGBTQ+ arts, entertainment and culture in our community and beyond – and it all turned out to be worth it in the end!
Stephen Fry, winner of the Attitude Icon Award, supported by Virgin Atlantic (Photography: Markus Bidaux)
We’re now preparing for an exciting year ahead and a monumental tenth anniversary running of the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards, powered by Jaguar, coming to you later in 2021. Watch this space…
Relive the 2020 Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards, powered by Jaguar in full below: