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Television triumphs: 'EastEnders' take top awards at star-studded NTAs

27 JANUARY 2011

In a month's time, the biggest names of the silver screen will descend on Los Angeles for the annual Academy Awards.

But in Britain this week, it was the stars of the small screen who out in force for the National Television Awards 2011.

A who's who of TV talent were on hand at London's O2 arena to battle it out for the prestigious trophies – voted for by the public.

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The first award of the night went to hit series Benidorm, which was named Most Popular Comedy Programme, while the cast and crew of Waterloo Road (pictured) were presented with the Most Popular Drama gong

Rufus Sewell handed out the Digital Choice award to The Inbetweeners, and, for the tenth year in a row, Georgie duo Ant and Dec were crowned Most Popular Entertainment Presenters.

Unable to attend due to their Britain's Got Talent filming commitments, the pair sent Simon Cowell up on stage on their behalf who quipped that while the award was "well deserved", their success was starting to get "annoying".

ITV's This Morning, with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, was named the Most Popular Topical Magazine Show – causing a bit of a problem for their resident chef Gino D'Acampo who has promised to cook naked if they won.

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And Top Gear saw off Celebrity Masterchef, Junior Apprentice and Who Do You Think You Are? to win the prize for Most Popular Factual Programme.

In the fiercely-fought battle of the soaps, EastEnders came out on top

Ricky Norwood, who plays Fatboy in the long-running show, picked up the Most Popular Newcomer Award – something he dedicated to his grandmother "who always loved EastEnders".

Lacey Turner, meanwhile, won the coveted Outstanding Serial Drama Performance for her portrayal of Stacey Slater on the show. The talented 22-year-old – who left the soap at Christmas – took the time to thank everyone connected with production after receiving her award from Louie Spence (pictured above).

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"In the six years I was there, I learned so much from you all," she said.

And the London-based soap also took home the Best Serial Drama trophy – seeing off rivals Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks.

It was a particularly special night for two of the industry's most established stars – David Jason (pictured above)and Bruce Forsyth.

Despite a red-carpet prediction he would not win, David, 70, beat Doctor Who's Matt Smith, Ashes to Ashes' star Philip Glenister and Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch to win the Outstanding Drama Performance award for his long-standing role on A Touch of Frost.

"This is a real turn-up for the books," said the star as he collected his trophy. "I just have to thank you all who voted for me."

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Bruce, meanwhile, received the Special Recognition award for his long and successful TV career.

The 82-year-old veteran received a standing ovation as he was presented with the accolade by last year's winner Stephen Fry, who described the entertainer as "a legend".

"That is a word that is often overused," he added. "But in this case never more deservedly."

The National Television Awards 2011: The winners
  • Best Serial DramaEastEnders
  • Most Popular Comedy ProgrammeBenidorm
  • Most Popular Entertainment ProgrammeI'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here 
  • Most Popular Newcomer: Ricky Norwood, EastEnders
  • Most Popular DramaWaterloo Road.
  • Digital Choice: The Inbetweeners
  • Most Oustanding Serial Drama Performance: Lacey Turner, EastEnders
  • Most Popular Entertainment Presenter: Ant and Dec
  • Topical Magazine: This Morning
  • Most Popular Factual Programme: Top Gear
  • Most Popular Talent Show: The X Factor
  • Most Outstanding Drama Performance: David Jason
  • Special Recognition: Bruce Forsyth 

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