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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Pop Idol wins Golden Rose of Montreux
Pop Idol winner Will Young
Will Young won ITV's hit Pop Idol contest
Pop Idol has been awarded Europe's top television honour - the prestigious Golden Rose of Montreux.

The ITV 1 talent contest scooped the top prize on Saturday at the annual television festival in Montreux, Switzerland.

Other British winners included comediennes Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, who became the first women to win an honorary Golden Rose at the festival.

Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French
The duo met when they were students
The honour has been awarded only 10 times in the event's history, with previous winners including Benny Hill, Monty Python and the BBC.

Organisers said French and Saunders had been honoured for their "unique contribution to television comedy" over the last 20 years.

Pop Idol beat hundreds of other shows from across the world to win the top honour, first awarded in 1961.

It was a ratings winner for ITV 1 on Saturday night and more than 10 million viewers tuned in to watch the final where Will Young beat Gareth Gates.

'Worthy winner'

The chairman of the Grand Jury of the Golden Rose 2002, Peter Bennett-Jones, said: "Pop Idol is perfect television. It is a worthy winner in a competitive field."

Overall, UK broadcasters won 11 main awards at the festival, out of a possible 15 prizes, including the honorary award for comedy actresses Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

The UK continues its domination of the competition, although this year is an improvement on 2001 when only seven awards were brought home.

Graham Norton
Norton: Used to winning awards
British comedies are always strong contenders, with the BBC One's Lenny Henry in Pieces winning Golden Rose last year and BBC Two's League of Gentlemen triumphing in a bumper year in 1999.

This year, the BBC also received a Silver Rose for One Night with Robbie Williams and a Bronze Rose for Walk on By: The Story of Popular Song in the music category.

The Kumars at no 42, a Hat Trick production for the BBC, won a Bronze award in the comedy section, while topical animated series 2DTV was awarded the Press Prize in the same category.

Independents win

The Sitcom Silver Rose was won by Los Dos Bros, made by Talkback for Channel 4, and the Bronze by Madam & Eve, made by Penguin Films.

The Game Show Silver Rose went to Oblivious, made by Tiger Aspect Productions, and the Bronze to Channel 4's Make My Day, made by Monkey Productions.

Channel 4 show Perfect Match, made by RDF Media, lifted the Silver Rose for Variety, with the Bronze going to So Graham Norton.

The awards were presented as a climax to the Golden Rose Festival which runs between 23-28 April.

In total, 25 countries are in competition.

See also:

07 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
Golden Rose 2002: UK nominees
14 May 01 | TV and Radio
Bafta triumph for Channel 4
30 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Golden Rose for Henry
14 May 01 | TV and Radio
Graham Norton: So naughty but nice
30 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
BBC cleans up at radio Oscars
09 May 00 | Entertainment
BBC admits Royle mistake
06 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Race awards recognise diversity
28 Apr 99 | Entertainment
UK blossoms at Golden Rose awards
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