THE BBC has been urged to explain why it edited the speech of a Bafta-winning star to remove any criticism of the UK or Irish governments.

Derry Girls actress Siobhan McSweeney gave a short speech after accepting the award for best female performance in a comedy programme on Sunday.

The audience at the TV Baftas saw McSweeney – who plays Sister Michael in the hit Channel 4 show – criticise politicians while praising the Northern Irish city of Derry.

READ MORE: Bafta TV award winners say they are ‘honoured’ and ‘delighted’

She said: “To the people of Derry, thank you for taking me into your hearts and your living rooms.

“I am daily impressed with how you encompass the spirit of compromise and resilience despite the indignities, ignorance, and stupidity of your so-called leaders in Dublin, Stormont, and Westminster.

“In the words of my beloved Sister Michael, ‘it’s time they started to wise up’.”

But the BBC broadcast saw McSweeney cut off early. In the version the corporation aired, she said only: “To the people of Derry, thank you for taking me into your hearts and your living rooms. Thank you so much.”

Noticed online and shared by Twitter account @ohheyjacob, the BBC’s edit led to intense criticism for the broadcaster.

Former No 10 spin doctor Alastair Campbell wrote:" This is incredible. Am due to do [BBC Politics Live] today ... this is what we should be discussing if we are doing the Baftas surely?"

Historian and author Dr Margaret Ward commented: “So they censored [McSweeney]. We can’t tell politicians to ‘wise up’ now? Thank you Siobhan for not being afraid to speak truth to power.”

Novara Media’s Aaron Bastani wrote: “The BBC is generally a regime broadcaster (on certain issues like this, foreign and security policy, the monarchy). But we get to call it a ‘public service broadcaster’ because we all pay for it.”

Welfare Scotland chair Rob McDowall wrote: “Jeez this edit just cuts out the whole essence and body of what Siobhán said. Would be very interested to see just why this decision was taken and the reason for it.”

Other users urged the BBC to explain the “outrageous” and “blatant” censorship, with many comparing the edit to something that may happen in North Korea.

The BBC said the three-hour live show had to be cut to two hours for the on-air broadcast.

A BBC spokesperson said: “As in previous years, due to the nature of the show it is broadcast with a short delay, and while we always aim to keep the core sentiment of acceptance speeches, edits have to be made due to time constraints.”

Derry, which sits near the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, was at the centre of a lot of the strife during the Troubles.

The National: Derry Girls mural

The Channel 4 show Derry Girls was praised for showing a new perspective on life there during that time, and the four lead characters have been honoured with a mural within the city walls (above during construction).

In 2019, journalist Lyra McKee was fatally shot during rioting in the Creggan area of the city.