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Saturday, 1 December, 2001, 01:17 GMT
Westlife named 'Top Pop' act
Boy-band Westlife won the first Top of the Pops awards
Westlife's latest success follows nine number ones
Irish boy band Westlife have been named the winners of the first ever Top of the Pops Awards.

The lads won the Top Pop title at the ceremony in Manchester on Friday, which also saw Kylie Minogue, Travis and Fatboy Slim pick up awards.

Sir Paul McCartney had been due to perform his latest single Freedom, but he pulled out of the show following the death of fellow Beatle George Harrison.

A video montage of Harrison's work was played in his honour at the event and host Jamie Theakston read a statement from Sir Paul, the first person to be admitted to the Top of the Pops Hall of Fame.

Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul pulled out of the show
In it Sir Paul said: "It was a great honour to receive this Top of the Pops Award, but because of the sad news I can't be there to receive it.

"I would like to dedicate this award with love to my brother George without whom it all would not have been possible."

Travis, who won Top Album for The Invisible Band, played George Harrison's hit Here Comes The Sun as a special tribute towards the end of the show.

'Fantastic'

Westlife, who arrived at the ceremony in dark suits and shirts, said they were delighted with their award.

Member Bryan McFadden said: "It is fantastic to win a Top of The Pops award and this being the first ever makes it even more special."

Their success at the event follows nine number one singles, including the latest hit Queen of My Heart.

Fellow Irish act U2 won the Top Rock award and Fatboy Slim was named Top Dance act.

Singer Nelly Furtado, who opened the show, held in front of a 12,000-strong audience, won Top Newcomer.

Kylie Minogue picked up two prizes, taking home Top Single for the number single Can't Get You Out Of My Head and Top Tour for On A Night Like This.

American artist Jennifer Lopez took the Artist on Top of the World award while Destiny's Child won the Top RnB title.

'Very sad'

Speaking after the death of George Harrison was announced on Friday, Top of the Pop's producer Chris Cowey said it would have been "churlish" for organisers not to pay their respects.

Kylie Minogue was nominated in three categories
Kylie Minogue won two awards
"It's very sad, he was one quarter of The Beatles, the most popular band ever," Mr Cowey said.

"Sir Paul obviously thought that it was inappropriate for him to do the show, understandably.

"We've had a look at the running order and rejigged things a little bit. We'll be doing our own little tribute to George Harrison."

He said he was sure Harrison would rather his life and achievements were celebrated more than his death.

The Beatles starred on the first ever Top of the Pops, also broadcast from Manchester, in 1964.

The awards ceremony was the first such event staged by the BBC One show, and eight awards, voted for by music fans, will be presented.

Highlights of the show will be broadcast on BBC One on Saturday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Sillito
reports from the Top of the Pops Awards
See also:

01 Dec 01 | Music
Pops stars steal the show
19 Sep 01 | Entertainment
First TOTP awards launched
30 Nov 01 | Music
TOTP Awards: The winners
19 Oct 01 | Music
Sir Jimmy back for TOTP Special
18 Oct 01 | Music
Pops still tops after 37 years
19 Oct 01 | Music
Behind the scenes at the Pops
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