Channel 4 triumphed at the Rose d'Or television festival in Montreux, Switzerland, last night as the ground-breaking reality show Faking It scooped the prestigious Golden Rose prize from an international jury.
Another Channel 4 production, Derren Brown: Mind Control, featuring a "psychological illusionist" who attempts to predict human behaviour, won the award for best variety programme.
The BBC comedy The Office, starring Ricky Gervais, was honoured as best sitcom and was singled out for special praise, even though two members of the pre-selection panel attempted to have the show thrown out because they did not understand the humour.
Andy Bird, who chaired the Rose d'Or grand jury, said: "The jury was very impressed by the standard of every category winner and, in particular, felt that the British sitcom The Office had taken that genre on to its next level. However, the jury unanimously gave the world's most prestigious entertainment prize to Faking It because it treats the reality genre with complete sympathy for the participants and combines great storytelling with compelling drama and emotions."
The winning episode of Faking It featured Chris Sweeney, a 25-year-old punk singer, who tried to convince a group of experts that he was a bona fide orchestral conductor. Faking It also won the Press Prize at Montreux from a panel of international journalists.
Channel 4's night was completed when Your Face or Mine?, a Talkback production shown on the digital channel E4, won the award for best game show.
As British programmes swept the board, the winner of the comedy award was The All New Harry Hill Show, produced by Avalon Television for ITV, featuring the wide-collared comedian, who was billed to the judges as "one of the most original minds in British television".
Hill beat off competition from another British show, Smack the Pony. Rolf Harris won a "special mention" from the jury for his BBC programme Rolf on Art.
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