EastEnders, Ant and Dec among Bafta TV winners

EastEnders, Simon Cowell and Ant and Dec were among the main winners at the Bafta TV awards which took place in London on Sunday night.

It was the first time that Ant and Dec – who took the prize for Best Entertainment Performance for I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! – had won a Bafta, despite being nominated several times in the past.

They enjoyed further success when Britain’s Got Talent was named Best Entertainment Show – although it lost out in the YouTube Audience Award to Channel 4 sitcom The Inbetweeners.

“I really, really, really wasn’t expecting that. That’s a big shock,” Dec said after the pair had won their award, “I don’t know what we did wrong for the first eight series.”

Ant added, “You feed a couple of kangaroo testicles to a glamour model and you get a Bafta.”

The pair returned to the stage to present Simon Cowell with a special award for his “outstanding contribution” to television and “development of new talent”.

Simon called the award a “genuine honour”.

“To put this into perspective, on a personal level, one of my happiest memories as a kid was my dad coming back with a TV set and watching the one programme in colour,” he said.

“So standing here tonight getting this award for making TV shows is the happiest feeling of my life.”

EastEnders, meanwhile, took the award for Best Continuing Drama, fighting off competition from Coronation Street, The Bill and Casualty. Former producer Diederick Santer said he was “honoured” to pick up the prize. “Receiving this on our 25th year is the icing on the cake,” he added.

Other big winners included BBC Two’s political satire The Thick Of It, which won three awards including Best Situation Comedy, Best Male Comedy Performance for Peter Capaldi and Best Female Comedy Performance for Rebecca Front.

Julie Walters won the Best Leading Actress prize for playing politician Mo Mowlam in Channel 4’s Mo, while Kenneth Branagh was awarded Best Leading Actor for the drama Wallander.

Veteran broadcaster Melvyn Bragg was awarded the Bafta Fellowship for his contribution to television.

The star-studded ceremony, which was held at the London Palladium, was hosted by Graham Norton.

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