Whitehouse's Fast Show beats Chris Evans for top award

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The Independent Online
Paul Whitehouse, long-standing sidekick to Harry Enfield, got the limelight to himself last night when he beat Chris Evans to the Television Performance of the Year at the Royal Television Society awards.

Whitehouse won the award for The Fast Show, a rapid-fire sketch show, that had the nation saying "Ooh - suits you sir," in a suggestive manner, for much of last year.

The judges described Whitehouse as the "man of the moment", saying he had "a brilliant eye for comic detail and for really capturing the funny side of contemporary life and capturing inner truths".

The Fast Show also beat off Evans' Chanel 4 show TFI Friday to win the Entertainment award.

The other big winner of the evening, at The Grosvenor House Hotel, was the veteran character actor David Jason. Only Fools and Horses won the Situation Comedy and Comedy Drama award for the three episodes aired over Christmas which were the highest ratings-winners of last year. Jason also picked up the Best Actor award for his performance. The jury said his performance was "brilliant" and "assured his place in comedy history".

Only Fools and Horses beat the more contemporary sitcoms, Men Behaving Badly and Father Ted.

The Best Actress award went to Stella Gonet, for her performance in the BBC film Trip Trap. Also nominated was comedy actress Pauline Quirke, who took on a serious role and heavy body make-up for The Sculptress.

The BBC's epic Our Friends in the North won the award for the Best Drama Serial, as well as the Writer's Award for its creator, Peter Flannery.

ITV's highest-paid presenter, Cilla Black, won the Presenter of the Year award for Blind Date, beating off the relative newcomers Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer of Shooting Stars and Nick Hancock of They Think It's All Over.

The RTS gave its Gold Award to its outgoing president and outgoing chief executive of Channel 4, Michael Grade. The Society praised Grade's "sharpness and self-confidence" as well as "the way he has fought long and hard for the political, editorial not least financial independence of the channel whose remit looks as intact for his predecessor as it was when he himself inherited it." Paul McCann