Channel 4's 'Wife Swap' dominates TV industry awards

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The Independent Online

The Channel 4 reality television series Wife Swap swept the board at this year's Broadcast Awards.

The programme, in which two married women from different social backgrounds switch roles for two weeks, won four of the industry magazine's annual awards.

The series, and its producers RDF Media, won prizes for best international sales, best popular factual, best new programme and best independent production company.

The 20 judges, who included Peter Bazalgette, the chairman of Endemol UK, Jane Lush, the BBC's controller of entertainment, and Natalka Znak, Granada's head of factual entertainment, were unanimous in their praise.

The judges said: "It's absolutely stand-out. Everyone's trying to copy it but every imitation is just a pale one."

First aired in January 2003, revenues are more than £3m and the distributor is negotiating a feature film deal for a story based on one of the episodes from the second series.

During the first week of the swap, the women must obey house rules dictated by their adopted husbands, but the tables are turned for the second half of the switch.

It was the channel's biggest hit of 2003, regularly attracting more than five million viewers.

Other winners at the award ceremony included ITV1's The Second Comingfor best one-off drama. It was produced by Red Production Company.

BBC1's Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, produced by Open Mike Productions, won the best light entertainment award and the prize for best documentary programme went to Channel 4's Cutting Edge programme "Bad Behaviour", produced by Lion TV.

The best children's programme award went to CBBC Scotland's Balamory episode "The Lost Letter". ITV2's coverage of the Tour de France 2003 won best sports programme.

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