Another good day at The Office for Gervais as he wins third Bafta. Fact!

A clerical error by a BBC administrator had almost put paid to his hopes of winning this year, but on a rain-lashed evening in London, Ricky Gervais picked up his third television Bafta for best comedy performer.

error by a BBC administrator had almost put paid to his hopes of winning this year, but, on a rain-lashed evening in London, Ricky Gervais picked up his third television Bafta for best comedy performer.

The extraordinary dominance of The Office in the field of comedy was further underlined when the show itself also received a third award in as many years for best situation comedy. Gervais beat his co-star, Martin Freeman, and the "Little Britain" actors, Matt Lucas and David Walliams, for the accolade for his performance as David Brent, the world's worst manager, in The Office Christmas Special.

It adds to an already remarkable year for the star who became the first British actor to win a comedy award at America's Golden Globes in January. But his achievement was only just possible after the programme missed the deadline for nominations due to a clerical oversight. Bafta only allowed an exception after lobbying from BBC executives.

Gervais said: "I've got six Baftas now. I don't know if that's a record, but if it is I want to go on Record Breakers.It's probably the last time I'll be up here for a while so this is the end of a chapter... well, apart from the DVD." Picking up his second award, he quipped: "This is fantastic. Especially as I just found out the first one was a clerical error."

The elite of British television arrived in pouring rain for the annual ceremony at the Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane. The deluge had turned the red carpet into a soapy froth, by the time female stars in diaphanous dresses braved the elements and risked collateral damage to their Jimmy Choo shoes to pose for the small army of photographers.

After more than three decades as an actor, Bill Nighy continued to ride the crest of his wave picking up the best actor award for his role in the BBC1 political thriller State of Play.

Julie Walters, winner of the best actress award in 2001 and 2002, was again recognised with her hard-hitting portrayal of "The Wife of Bath" in BBC1's controversial Canterbury Tales, a modern interpretation of Chaucer's classic. Walters beat Helen Mirren for her performance in the ITV drama Prime Suspect, Gina McKee and Miranda Richardson in the BBC1 production The Lost Prince.

The Best Entertainment Performance award went to Jonathan Ross for his hosting of Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, which also won the Lew Grade award for entertainment programme.

BBC programmes and performers had dominated the shortlist for this year's Baftas, grabbing 39 out of the 68 nominations. The corporation's big guns came through even more strongly on the night, winning 11 out of the 17 awards. ITV1 claimed only two Baftas and Channel 4 picked up four.

Paul Abbot, writer of BBC shows like Clocking Off and State of Play, told the audience that Greg Dyke, the former director-general who was forced to resign in January in the wake of the Hutton Inquiry, had been "one in a million". He said: "I still can't believe that we as the audience, as investors, have allowed such a 'guvnor', in the truest sense of the word, to get ousted by a handful of the least qualified people in the industry. There are pictures of the BBC Board of Governors on the website. They are all small faces, no chins."

Mr Dyke, who received a standing ovation when presenting an award, said: "It's a shame more of you weren't around in January ... I would like to say thank you very much to Paul Abbot for those few kind words said about me ­ and in particular those few words he said about the governors, because I tend to agree."

The winner of the best continuing drama series was Coronation Street, which beat off competition from ITV's The Bill, BBC1's Casualty and BBC1's Holby City.

BBC1's ambition in staging the epic historical drama Charles II: The Power and the Passion was rewarded with the award for best drama. And in an important recognition for corporation's nascent digital channels, BBC4's documentary The National Trust won the Huw Wheldon award for factual series while BBC3's comedy series Little Britain won the best comedy programme prize.

THE WINNERS

Best actor: Bill Nighy - State of Play (BBC1)

Best actress: Julie Walters - The Wife of Bath (BBC1)

Best entertainment performance: Jonathan Ross - Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (BBC1)

Best comedy performance: Ricky Gervais - The Office Christmas special (BBC1)

Best single drama: The Deal (Channel 4)

Best drama series: Buried (Channel 4)

Best drama serial: Charles II: The Power and the Passion (BBC1)

Best continuing drama: Coronation Street (ITV1)

Best factual series: The National Trust (BBC4; BBC2)

Best documentary: Lager, Mum and Me (One Life; BBC1)

Best feature: Wife Swap (Channel 4)

Best sport: Rugby World Cup Final (ITV1)

Best news coverage: Channel 4 News - "Fall of Saddam" (ITN for Channel 4)

Best current affairs: The Secret Policeman (BBC1)

Best entertainment programme or series: Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (BBC1)

Best sitcom: The Office Christmas special (BBC1)

Best comedy programme or series: Little Britain (BBC3; BBC2)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Ashdown Group: .NET Developer : ASP.NET , C# , MVC , web development

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits - see advert: Ashdown Group: .N...

Guru Careers: 3D Package Designer / 3D Designer

£25 - 30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an exceptional 3D Package Designer / 3...

Guru Careers: Interior Designer

£Competitive: Guru Careers: We are seeking a strong Middleweight / Senior Inte...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss