The actor picked up the best actor prize for his turn as Valery Legasov, the real-life scientist the Soviet government called after the nuclear accident.
Speaking during the virtual ceremony, he said: “Bafta you have ruined my losing streak. I am annoyed at you.”
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) July 31, 2020
He offered thanks to the shows creatives, director and executives, including former HBO miniseries president Kary Antholis, saying: “I think he was the first person who said yes to Chernobyl and was actually the first person that I met after I had been cast.
“And about 10 minutes into our meeting he looked at me and he said ‘Jared, I hope you don’t mind me telling you this but you were not our first choice,’ and then he said ‘Would you like to know who was?’
“And I said ‘Oh I would, yes, very much.’ Daniel Day-Lewis! But he retired from acting.
“I would just like to say quickly to Daniel, don’t stay away too long. I miss seeing you up there.”
Day-Lewis, the star of films including Last Of The Mohicans, There Will Be Blood and Gangs Of New York, announced his retirement from acting in 2017.
His final film was 2018’s Phantom Thread, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.
Leading actress – Glenda Jackson, Elizabeth Is Missing – BBC One
Leading actor – Jared Harris, Chernobyl – Sky Atlantic
Supporting actress – Naomi Ackie, The End Of The F***ing World – Channel 4
Supporting actor – Will Sharpe, Giri/Haji – BBC Two
Female performance in a comedy programme – Sian Clifford, Fleabag – BBC
Male performance in a comedy programme – Jamie Demetriou, Stath Lets Flats – Channel 4
Drama series – The End Of The F***ing World – Channel 4
Single drama – The Left Behind – BBC Three
Mini-series – Chernobyl – Sky Atlantic
Entertainment performance – Mo Gilligan, The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan – Channel 4
Soap and continuing drama – Emmerdale – ITV
International – When They See Us – Netflix
Entertainment programme – Strictly Come Dancing – BBC One
Comedy entertainment programme – Taskmaster – Dave
Scripted comedy – Stath Lets Flats – Channel 4
Reality and constructed factual – Race Across The World – BBC Two
Features – The Misadventures Of Romesh Ranganathan – BBC Two
Must-see moment (voted for by the public) – Gavin And Stacey, Nessa proposes to Smithy – BBC One
Current affairs – Undercover: Inside China’s Digital Gulag (Exposure) – ITV
Single documentary – The Last Survivors – BBC Two
Factual series – Leaving Neverland – Channel 4
Specialist factual – Yorkshire Ripper Files: A Very British Crime Story – BBC Four
News coverage – Hong Kong Protests – Sky News
Sport – 2019 Rugby World Cup Final: England v South Africa – ITV
Live event – Blue Planet Live – BBC One
Short-form programme – Brain In Gear – BBC iPlayer
Special award – Idris Elba