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Monday, 14 May, 2001, 05:26 GMT 06:26 UK
Bafta triumph for Channel 4
Sacha Baron Cohen with his awards
"Playing the role of Ali G has been such a challenge"
Channel 4 comedians Graham Norton and Ali G had a triumphant night at the British Academy of Film & Television Awards (Baftas), winning two awards each.

The channel walked off with 11 awards on Sunday, including Best Comedy Programme, Best Situation Comedy, Best Documentary, Best News and Current Affairs Journalism and Best Drama Serial.

Top awards
Best Actor: Michael Gambon
Best Actress: Judi Dench
Best Entertainment Performance: Graham Norton
Best Comedy Performance: Sacha Baron Cohen
Best Single Drama: Care
Best Drama Series: Clocking off
Best Soap: Emmerdale
The BBC won six awards, including the Best Single Drama for Care, Best Drama Series for Clocking Off and Best Sports for its coverage of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

ITV's Emmerdale won the award for Best Soap, while the channel also won the Best Factual Series award for Britain At War In Colour.

Graham Norton's double win came after winning last year's Best Entertainment Performance award - and his Channel 4 counterpart Sacha Baron Cohen won the Best Comedy Performance and Comedy Programme awards for his creation Ali G.

Norton, 38, said: "I'm so pleased the show has won a prize. It's brilliant."

Baron Cohen adopted a mock Shakespearean style when he picked up his first award of the night.

"Playing the role of Ali G has been such a challenge. He's such an exuberant fella," he told the audience.

"If he was here he would no doubt say something along the lines of 'Boyakasha', or 'Respect' or something like that."


Playing the role of Ali G has been such a challenge. He's such an exuberant fella

Sacha Baron Cohen
Channel 4's wins also reflected its serious output, with True Stories - 100% White winning Best Documentary, Out of Africa winning the Best News and Current Affairs Journalism award and Howard Goodall's Big Bangs winning the Huw Wheldon Award for a Specialised Series.

The channel's historical serial Longitude won Best Drama Serial and also provided Sir Michael Gambon with the Best Actor award.

The BBC One film Last of the Blonde Bombshells landed Dame Judi Dench the title of Best Actress, while Louis Theroux picked up the Richard Dimbleby Award for Best Presenter for his BBC Two series Weird Weekends.

'Delighted'

BBC Two also won the Best Features prize for The Naked Chef.

Director of drama and entertainment at the BBC Alan Yentob said he was delighted with the BBC's awards.

"The resounding success of Clocking Off, the remarkable Care and the accolade for Ruth Caleb and Dame Judi Dench proved that the BBC is still paramount in this genre."

There were a number of special awards, one of which went to the ITV soap series Coronation Street for its 40th year on air.

Veteran TV astronomer Sir Patrick Moore was also acknowledged with a special award for his contribution to British television - from astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

John Thaw
Bafta Fellow John Thaw
The BBC's Ruth Caleb received an award for her outstanding contribution to British TV.

And Sir Tom Courtenay presented the highest accolade of the night, the Academy Fellowship, to TV actor John Thaw.

Helen Mirren, David Jason, Richard Blackwood, Tamzin Outhwaite, Ruby Wax and others were on hand to help Angus Deayton present the awards.

More than 1,500 stars and industry professionals gathered at London's Grosvenor House hotel to see the awards ceremony.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Sillito
"It was a night to honour the great figures of broadcasting"
See also:

14 May 01 | TV and Radio
Graham Norton: So naughty but nice
14 May 01 | TV and Radio
Picture gallery: The Bafta awards
13 May 01 | TV and Radio
The 2001 Bafta award winners
10 May 01 | TV and Radio
Bafta honour for John Thaw
22 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Longitude wins Bafta hat-trick
16 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Quiz show rivals in Bafta fight
04 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Comics fight for Bafta honours
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