BBC1's Sherlock was a double winner at tonight's TV Bafta Awards, including the prized best drama series title.
The updated version of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective stories triumphed over shows such as Downton Abbey which left empty-handed.
But its star Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Holmes, missed out on the best actor prize to newcomer Daniel Rigby for his portrayal of Eric Morecambe in BBC drama Eric And Ernie.
However Martin Freeman, who plays Watson in the detective drama, collected the best supporting actor title at the ceremony in London's Grosvenor House.
Sherlock - which gave a modern twist to the vintage tales - was launched last summer and became a huge hit, despite running to only three episodes.
Writer and co-creator of the modern day adaptation Mark Gatiss said: "It's a huge honour and a fantastic surprise. Thank you so much - it's a huge thrill."
Ceremony host Graham Norton found himself on the receiving end of one of the most prized awards, taking the honour for best entertainment performance.
The presenter - whose show began on Channel 4 but is now in a prime Friday night slot on BBC1, replacing Jonathan Ross - told guests: "This is incredible - we used to win these years ago and I'd forgotten how nice it is."
Despite being one of the biggest shows on TV, The X Factor missed out on the entertainment programme prize to its fellow ITV show The Cube, presented by Phillip Schofield.
The high-tension challenge show also beat Norton's chat show and Have I Got News For You to the prize. "The Cube, seriously The Cube?" Norton grumbled jokingly.
ITV2's The Only Way Is Essex won the YouTube Audience Award, the only prize chosen by viewers. Star Mark Wright said: "We're absolutely overwhelmed to be here tonight, even to be nominated. But to win, it's incredible."
The best actress prize title went to This Is England '86 star Vicky McClure, who played Lol in the gritty drama. She picked up the same prize at the Royal Television Society programme awards earlier this year.
"This is what I dreamed of since I can remember," McClure said. "I can't believe this is happening."
Rigby was equally stunned by his best actor prize and reckoned he had landed the prize for "hanging on the coat tails of a giant" by playing the comedy legend in the film which was created by Victoria Wood.
"I'm absolutely gobsmacked. This is unbelievable," said the actor, who also beat Doctor Who's Matt Smith.
The event - formally called the Philips British Academy Television Awards - is one of the biggest nights in the British TV world.
BBC1 led the field with six prizes, just nudging ahead of BBC2's tally of five.
A surprise winner of the best comedy prize was BBC2's Harry And Paul - so much so that stars Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield had not attended. It beat shows featuring Catherine Tate and comic duo Matt Lucas and David Walliams.
A rare outing away from his traditional BBC home saw Sir David Attenborough share in the specialist factual award for Sky 3D's Flying Monsters 3D.
Lauren Socha took the best supporting actress prize for her role in E4's Misfits, the only prize for the comedy drama about superhero teen delinquents which had led the shortlist with four nominations.
The shocked 20-year-old star shrieked: "Oh my God - I really, really, really didn't expect this at all."
Freeman said of his best supporting actor prize: "I know it's very fashionable to say you don't care about this stuff but I'm very chuffed."
EastEnders took the continuing drama award, little over a week after it was named best soap at the British Soap Awards.
Rival Coronation Street could take some comfort from its contribution to another award. BBC4's acclaimed film about the birth of the show, The Road To Coronation Street, which was named best single drama.
The show was screened to mark the ITV programme's 50th anniversary and followed creator Tony Warren's battle to bring the show to the screen.
Producer Rebecca Hodgson paid tribute to the writer who was in the audience: "Thank you so much to Tony Warren who is as funny, innovative and exciting to work with today as he was 50 years ago."
BBC2's Rev - which starred Tom Hollander as a maverick clergyman - was named best sitcom, while Steve Coogan collected best male comedy performance prize for The Trip, in which he played an exaggerated version of himself.
The comic joked: "This was one of the hardest roles I've ever had to prepare for. I spent the best part of 40 years researching it - still not found out who he is."
And comedian Jo Brand took the best female comedy performance title for BBC4's Getting On in which she plays a nurse on a geriatric ward.
"I'm flabbergasted, completely, because over the years I have been so slagged off for my acting ability by the critics. I'm getting an enormous amount of schadenfreude for all the critics that hate me."
Channel 4's Any Human Heart - an adaptation of the William Boyd book - was named best drama serial
BBC2's Welcome To Lagos took the factual series prize.
Peter Bennett-Jones - the comedy manager and founder of TV production company Tiger Aspect Group - took the Bafta special award. He has been behind the careers of stars such as Harry Enfield, Lenny Henry, Vic Reeves and The Mighty Boosh.
Another honorary prize-winner Sir Trevor McDonald was given a standing ovation as he collected his Bafta fellowship.
"This represents the solid good fortune of a lifetime's work but also work that has involved a number of people. I had the great, great privilege to work with the finest producers, editors, writers and technical crews in our industry," he said.