Fly-on-the-wall spoof wins Montreux award

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The Independent Online

The spoof BBC2 documentary series People Like Us was last night honoured with a prestigious silver award at the 40th Golden Rose of Montreux.

The series, a parody of fly-on-the-wall documentaries and fronted by Chris Langham playing a reporter, won a silver rose after topping the comedy category at the annual five-day festival.

The award came the day after the BBC announced that the programme, written by John Morton, is to be given a second television series. The format was first aired on Radio 4.

The music category in the awards was also won by a British-made production, a TV version of Lord Lloyd-Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starring Donny Osmond and Joan Collins.

British programmes took a total of three bronze roses, including one for BBC1 comedy game show Friends Like These, hosted by double act Ant & Dec. The comedy equivalent went to Channel Four's Trigger Happy TV, while Robbie Williams Live at Slane Castle, made by Done & Dusted, won the bronze for music.

People Like Us was critically praised and was held up as an example by the controller of BBC2, Jane Root, when she was criticised for commissioning fewer factual programmes in favour of comedy shows.

Despite the run of wins last night, Britain failed to repeat the crowning success of the BBC2 comedy The League of Gentlemen, which last year scooped the golden rose for best overall TV entertainment programme.

Britain has been the most consistent rose winner of the past decade, and ITV's Cold Feet was the outright winner in 1997. Last night the top prize went for the first time to Belgium, which won the judges' votes for The Mole (La Taupe), an offbeat twist on the adventure game genre. A spokeswoman for the festival said the number of innovative programmes in competition had made it a "vintage year".

"The programmes were of a very high standard this year, and there was a sense of a real resurgence in creativity among programme producers across the globe," she said.

Other winners this year included All Stars, a dark comedy about a group of soccerobsessed 20-something men from the Netherlands, which won both the sitcom silver rose and the press prize. The top variety award went to Italy's ne Infischio, while Denmark won the game show silver for The Big Class Reunion.

America was awarded the special prize of the City of Montreux for Thirteen/ WNET's EGG the arts show by the Arts & Specials jury.

Jennifer Ehle is up against her mother, Rosemary Harris, in the best actress in a play category in next month's Tony awards. Ms Ehle stars in The Real Thing while her mother is appearing opposite Lauren Bacall in the Noel Coward play Waiting in the Wings.

The pair were among a number of British actors, directors, writers and designers nominated for the prestigious stage awards last night, including the actors David Suchet and Stephen Dillane and the writer Michael Frayn.