Veterans triumph in TV awards

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The Independent Culture

Veteran stars triumphed at the National Television Awards as seasoned stars Bruce Forsyth and Sir David Jason carried off big prizes.

And TV favourites Ant and Dec pulled off the remarkable feat of triumphing as top entertainment presenters for the 10th year in a row.

Sir David's win for outstanding drama performance deprived Doctor Who star Matt Smith of the title. The actor who plays the Time Lord has won the title every year since the show was revived by the BBC with Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant winning the title in recent years.

And the BBC1 show has landed the popular drama prize each year since 2005, until it was beaten this year by Waterloo Road.

Forsyth was honoured with a Special Recognition award - and a standing ovation.

Stephen Fry, who presented last night's award, described the showman as "a legend".

And Strictly host Forsyth teased the audience by pretending he was about to quit his role as the show's presenter. It followed reports that Vernon Kaye was keen to join his wife Tess Daly in fronting the show.

The star, who began his career as Boy Bruce the Mighty Atom and has done stints on The Generation Game, joked: "This being this kind of a night, this would be a good night to announce my retirement ... but I'm not bloody going to."

He paid tribute to his wife and thanked the viewers, whom he called "Mr and Mrs Public", for their support.

Paul Merton, a panellist on Have I Got News For You which Forsyth has guest-hosted, said: "There are some people who aren't the retiring type and I suspect Bruce is one of those. He'll have to be dragged off."

Sir David won the top actor prize for the first time since 2004. His role as world-weary copper Jack Frost in A Touch Of Frost, which finally came to an end last year, saw off challenges from Smith, Ashes to Ashes man Philip Glenister and Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch.

Jason, best known for his role as loveable wideboy Del Trotter, said: "This is a real turn up for the book. I just have to thank you all who voted for me."

EastEnders was crowned top soap and also picked up awards for Most Popular Newcomer for Ricky Norwood, who plays Fatboy, and Outstanding Serial Drama Performance for Lacey Turner's role as Stacey Slater.

Norwood dedicated his award to his grandmother, saying: "(The award) is going on the mantelpiece with a picture of my nan, who always loved EastEnders.

"My nan was a very wise woman as well as a very straightforward woman. She always supported me.

"She was the first to get me into performing. She started me break dancing when I was three."

Turner, whose character left the soap in dramatic style at Christmas, thanked everyone connected with the show.

Talking backstage, she said: "It was a massive part of my life. I miss her already. I haven't played her since November and was very upset when I left, but a good upset. And they haven't killed her off."

She said it "feels really good" to have gone out of the show with the award, although she had wanted former co-star Steve McFadden to win.

Other winners included ITV1's Benidorm, which carried off the award for Most Popular Comedy Programme, and Waterloo Road, which won Most Popular Drama.

Zen star Rufus Sewell handed out the Digital Choice award to the cast of teen comedy The Inbetweeners.

This Morning landed the prize for best topical magazine show which means chef Gino D'Acampo will have to carry out his pledge to cook in the nude if the programme won.

Co-host Phillip Schofield joked that the show would "bring out the barbecue" today.

Top Gear won the prize for Most Popular Factual Programme and its co-host Jeremy Clarkson said: "There hasn't been a fact on Top Gear for seven years now, it's just three middle-aged men falling over."

James May got a laugh when he thanked the woman who had tucked in their microphones - a reference to the sexism row that has seen Andy Gray and Richard Keys leave Sky Sports.