21 APRIL 2008

Click here for a gallery of BAFTA gowns

A dame from the cast of period drama Cranford had been expected to carry off the best actress bonnet. In the end, though, it was another dame, Eileen Atkins, rather than her co-star and on-screen sister Judi Dench, who took the top award at Sunday's glittering ceremony.

Before the gala at the London Palladium Bond star Judi batted away questions about any rivalry, quipping mischievously: "I expect there will be a huge catfight later."

Of course there was nothing of the kind, with her victorious colleague - picking up her first TV BAFTA at 73 – telling the audience to rapturous applause: "Judi is as lovely as you all think she is".

Also looking lovely on the red carpet were a succession of TV beauties led by seven-months-pregnant Tamzin Outhwaite and Patsy Palmer - who was accompanied by her EastEnders co-star Sid Owen. The Hotel Babylon actress showed off her sizeable bump in a halter-neck turquoise creation, while glamorous Ab Fab star Joanna Lumley was vibrantly youthful in a flowing orange Escada gown.

Others enjoying the limelight included Harry Hill, whose programme TV Burp picked up two awards, and James Corden. The 29-year-old creator and star of BBC3 comedy Gavin And Stacey won best comedy performance, as well seeing the show voted the audience's favourite.

Meanwhile Bruce Forsyth was given a standing ovation as he leapt on to the stage to receive the BAFTA academy's highest accolade - the fellowship award. "When you all stood up I thought you were going. That would have been terrible," joked the veteran, before adding: "This is as good as it gets. Thank you."

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The Hotel Baylon actress showed mum-to-be style savvy as she headed up a bevvy of gorgeous ladies attending one of the most important dates in the TV calendarPhoto: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Cranford's Dame Eileen Atkins won her first BAFTA at the age of 73 for her part in the hit BBC period drama. "I bet they wish they hadn't killed me off now," she jokedPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Joanna Lumley lived up to her 'Fabulous' reputation in traffic-stopping EscadaPhoto: © Getty Images