South Bank Show Awards to live on

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The Independent Culture

The South Bank Show Awards are to live on after Melvyn Bragg signed a deal with the Sky Arts channel, it was announced today.

There had been fears that the annual event would end after ITV axed the arts supremo's long-running series.

But they will return next year, renamed the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, with Lord Bragg fronting a series of documentaries about the winners.

The presenter has already agreed to work on a number of BBC programmes since ITV pulled the plug on his arts programmes after more than 30 years.

Lord Bragg will host the awards show - for which he will also be editor - when it next takes place in early 2011.

His documentaries will be screened by Sky Arts after the ceremony.

John Cassy, director of Sky Arts, said: "Melvyn is the most passionate, enthusiastic and effective champion of the arts in the UK, so to have him on board is a tremendous honour.

"He's bursting with ideas about how he can work with Sky to make these amazing awards an even bigger and better celebration of all that's great in British culture. We can't wait to get started."

Lord Bragg said: "At a crucial time for contemporary arts in Britain, it is essential to continue to celebrate and examine them on television and Sky Arts has provided a magnificent opportunity for us to make a difference.

"I greatly look forward to working with Sky Arts to bring these awards back to television screens."