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Monday, May 10, 1999 Published at 03:42 GMT 04:42 UK


TV stars honour Jill Dando

Chris Evans presents Michael Parkinson with his own Bafta

The UK television industry has paid tribute to murdered BBC presenter Jill Dando at the annual Bafta TV awards.

The BBC's media correspondent Nick Higham: "It was a night tinged with sadness"
At the beginning of this year's ceremony, which was to have been presented by Ms Dando along with Michael Parkinson, one minute's silence was held in her honour.

Later Parkinson paid tribute to TV's "Golden Girl", who was shot dead outside her home nearly two weeks ago.

He said: "We all remember Jill Dando and we all miss her, no-one more so than I did tonight."

Following her death, it was decided she would not be replaced, and Parkinson fronted the show on his own.

As the stars arrived for the ceremony at London's Grosvenor House, some reflected on the tragedy.

Brookside actor Michael Starke, who plays Sinbad in the show said of her murder: "This kind of event pales into insignificance against something like that.

'A lovely woman'

[ image: Jill Dando was due to have presented the Baftas]
Jill Dando was due to have presented the Baftas
"She was a lovely woman and she will be remembered as that."

Broadcaster Tania Bryer added: "Obviously all our thoughts are with her. We all feel so sad and miss her a lot."

Jill Dando's picture was the last image flashed on to the screen at the awards in a montage of British television figures who have died during the year.

Others included Ernie Wise, Patricia Hayes, Bryan Mosley (Coronation Street's Alf Roberts), Rod Hull, Derek Nimmo and the broadcasting mogul Lord Grade.

Parkinson a winner too

[ image: Dame Edna Everage was a guest on Parkinson's recent series]
Dame Edna Everage was a guest on Parkinson's recent series
As well as presenting the show, Michael Parkinson won an award - beating Billy Connolly, Kathy Burke, and John Bird to take the accolade for best light entertainment performance.

His chat show, a fixture of the BBC schedule during the 1970s, was revived last year and featured revealing encounters with former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam, pop singer George Michael and film director Woody Allen.

The industry also honoured late funnymen Eric Morcambe and Ernie Wise at the awards, often known as "British television's Oscars".

Eric and Ernie honoured

[ image: Eric and Ernie won posthumous fellowships]
Eric and Ernie won posthumous fellowships
Eric Morecambe, who died in 1984, and Ernie Wise, who died in March, were given this year's academy fellowship at the star-studded awards. Both awards were accepted by their widows who received a standing ovation as they collected them

"Never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined that 15 years after their last performance, we would be receiving this on their behalf," said Joan Morecambe.

Another posthumous award went to Father Ted star Dermot Morgan who died last year. Morgan's long-time girlfriend Fiona Clark and sister Denise collected his award for best comedy performance.

"More than anything in the whole world, we wish that Dermot were here," said his sister.

Father Ted also won the award for best comedy.

Still winning awards at 87

Dame Thora Hird won best actress for Waiting For The Telegram, her Talking Heads performance for Alan Bennett on BBC2.

Dame Thora, 87, has already won a best actress prize from the Royal Television Society for her performance in the series.

She beat Joanna Lumley, Francesca Annis and Natasha Little to the title, but was unable to attend the ceremony.

[ image: Tom Courtenay paid tribute to his co-star Albert Finney]
Tom Courtenay paid tribute to his co-star Albert Finney
Tom Courtenay was named best actor for A Rather English Marriage.

He had been up against Robert Carlyle, Albert Finney and Timothy Small.

ITV's ratings-busting Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? beat off stiff opposition to win the award for best light entertainment programme.

There were more plaudits for ITV's After Lockerbie programme, which won the Flaherty award for best documentary.

Surprisingly the prize for best live outside broadcast did not go to either the BBC or ITV's World Cup coverage but to Channel 4 for Derby day.

EastEnders comes top

[ image: Barbara Windsor, star of EastEnders, arrives at the Baftas]
Barbara Windsor, star of EastEnders, arrives at the Baftas
EastEnders beat off competition from Coronation Street and Hollyoaks to win the award for best soap opera.

The BBC's Dickens adaptation Our Mutual Friend was the most nominated programme, with nine mentions in 29 categories, which include 11 technical sections. It won the award for best drama serial.

Radio Times readers have been able to vote for the second Lew Grade Audience Award, named in honour of the TV and film mogul who died in December.

[ image: EastEnders stars celebrate their Bafta]
EastEnders stars celebrate their Bafta
The award went to Goodnight Mr Tom, starring John Thaw.

There was also acknowledgement for The Human Body, the documentary presented by Professor Robert Winston, which won best factual series and a special award for originality.

The British Academy of Film and Television split its awards this year; the film awards took place at the Business Design Centre, Islington on 11 April.

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