The casts of Coronation Street and EastEnders looked stunned to be beaten by Casualty in one of Sunday night’s biggest upsets at the Bafta TV awards.

EastEnders won the Continuing Drama Bafta last year and Coronation Street took it home the three previous years.

Casualty’s Ian Bleasdale, better known as paramedic Josh Griffiths, accepted the award and dedicated it to Britain’s NHS staff.

“To the doctors, nurses and ambulance crews, thank you for doing the job you do. I hope we go some way to showing exactly what it is,” he said.

The actor also dedicated the win to the ‘late, great and much missed Geraint Morris’, an original producer of the show, who died in 1997. Casualty won’t be able to complete the double at the British Soap Awards this weekend because it isn’t eligible under its criteria for soaps.

There were also a few missing faces at the awards – The Royle Family creator Caroline Aherne did not attend the awards ceremony because her mum, Maureen, is ill.

The show’s co-writer Craig Cash picked up the award for Best Sitcom, saying: “I would just like to dedicate this award to the memory of Molly, Caroline’s nana, who passed away last year. Caroline can’t be here because her mum’s ill, so this award tonight is for all three generations.”

The two big comedy winners of the night didn’t turn up either.

Jonathan Ross won Best Entertainment Performance but had a prior family engagement, so award presenter Kelly Osbourne accepted it on his behalf.

Ricky Gervais couldn’t attend because he is filming in the US, and his co-star and award loser Stephen Merchant picked up the Best Comedy Performance prize for him.