Harry Hill is named best comic actor at TV 'Oscars'

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ITV swept the board at the television entertainment "Oscars", the Rose d'Or in Switzerland, last night, scooping prizes for cult comedian Harry Hill, the comic animation series Creature Comforts and game-show hosts Ant and Dec.

ITV swept the board at the television entertainment "Oscars", the Rose d'Or in Switzerland, last night, scooping prizes for cult comedian Harry Hill, the comic animation series Creature Comforts and game-show hosts Ant and Dec.

British shows and actors dominated the international awards ceremony in Lucerne, with 11 prizes in 18 categories going to programmes from the UK, including the Channel 4 reality TV series Wife Swap, in which women exchanged families, homes and domestic duties with compelling results.

It is a welcome triumph for ITV, after the BBC bagged the lion's share of nominations for the Bafta television awards, which take place tonight.

"ITV is in terrific form," said Nigel Pickard, ITV's director of programmes. "We're thrilled that these shows have been recognised for their fantastic innovations, popularity and overall entertainment value by an international jury."

Hill, a former doctor famed for his wide-collared shirts, was crowned best comic actor for Harry Hill's TV Burp, a late-night round-up of the week's television. He beat off competition from Matt Lucas and David Walliams, who were both nominated for their performances in the offbeat BBC comedy Little Britain.

"I'm delighted for Harry. It's a great result in the face of stiff competition," said Richard Allen-Taylor, Hill's manager and the show's executive producer. "We'd like to thank ITV for their belief in the show and their commitment to innovative new comedy which has made this possible. I think it's about time people revised their opinion about what's going on at that channel."

It is the second Rose d'Or award for Hill, who won the best comedy award for the All New Harry Hill Show last year.

Martin Freeman, who rose to fame as the hapless Tim in BBC2's sitcom The Office, was named best sitcom actor for his performance as a DIY fanatic working in a tool shop in ITV1's Hardware, while Creature Comforts, the animated animal series from Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations, won best comedy.

Ant and Dec, full names Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, won two golden roses for Saturday Night Takeaway, their early-evening variety show. The duo won as best game-show hosts, while the programme itself won for best variety show.

"We're really, really thrilled. Picking up not one, but two awards is very special for us," said the pair. "We love making Saturday Night Takeaway, so it's brilliant that it has been recognised at such an important and prestigious event, especially when we were up against some of the world's finest TV talent."

Shane Richie, who plays Alfie Moon in EastEnders, won for best soap actor. Dead Ringers impressionist Jon Culshaw hosted the ceremony, which was attended by celebrities including Sir Roger Moore, Harry Belafonte and The Lord of the Rings star Christopher Lee.

It is the first time that the Rose d'Or, now in its 44th year, has taken place in Lucerne, after moving from its former home in Montreux.

The first winner of the international television prize was The Black and White Minstrel Show. Other winners include Monty Python, The Muppets and Mr Bean.

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