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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 April 2004, 21:17 GMT 22:17 UK
Gervais completes Bafta hat-trick
Ricky Gervais with his Bafta awards
Ricky Gervais won for The Office's Christmas special
Screen stars Ricky Gervais and Julie Walters have completed hat-tricks at the Bafta TV awards, both picking up awards for the third year running.

Gervais won best comedy performance again, and The Office also won best sitcom for the third year in a row.

Walters was named best actress once more for her role in The Wife of Bath.

Jonathan Ross, Coronation Street, Bill Nighy and Little Britain also picked up awards after stars walked down a red carpet that was foaming in the rain.

Gervais beat The Office co-star Martin Freeman to win best comedy performance for the show's Christmas special.

Best actor winner Bill Nighy with best actress Julie Walters

"Oh dear - it's better being the underdog," Gervais told the audience when accepting his comedy performance trophy.

"It's probably the last time I'll be up here for a while - this is an end to the chapter... apart from the DVD."

Gervais, who recently became the first UK star to win a TV comedy acting prize at the US Golden Globe awards, almost missed out on this year's Bafta nomination when the BBC missed the deadline for putting his name forward.

But Bafta allowed his name to be added to the longlist after the "clerical error" was explained.

On accepting the best sitcom prize, Gervais said: "This is fantastic. I've just found out the first one was a clerical error."

Jonathan Ross with his wife
Jonathan Ross picked up two awards in entertainment categories
The stars of comedy sketch show Little Britain, Matt Lucas and David Walliams, were also nominated for comedy performance.

But they got a huge cheer when they beat Bo Selecta, Creature Comforts and Double Take to pick up the best comedy programme prize.

Julie Walters, meanwhile, beat Dame Helen Mirren, Miranda Richardson and Gina McKee to be named best actress.

Her award, for her role in BBC One's Canterbury Tales adaptation, follows honours for Murder in 2003 and My Beautiful Son in 2002.

In the best actor category, Bill Nighy added the Bafta TV award to the Bafta film award he won in February for Love Actually.

Bill Nighy
The TV accolade came for his role in political drama State of Play, and he beat off competition from co-star David Morrissey.

Also nominated were Jim Broadbent, for The Young Visiters, and the new Doctor Who, Christopher Eccleston, for The Second Coming.

Jonathan Ross picked up two awards - best entertainment performance and best entertainment programme - for his Friday Night with Jonathan Ross show.

"I shall treat it like a baby and suckle it gently," he said when picking up one award.

And Coronation Street took the best continuing drama title after its great rival, EastEnders, failed to be nominated for anything.

In other categories, reality show Wife Swap won the features award and The Deal - which portrayed Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in 1994 - was named best single drama.

I've just swam up from Aylesbury
David Jason on the wet carpet
And The Secret Policeman, a BBC One undercover investigation that exposed racism in the police force, picked up the current affairs award.

The BBC won a total of 11 of the ceremony's 17 trophies.

Former BBC director general Greg Dyke, presenting the current affairs prize, got a standing ovation from the audience.

"It's a shame more of you weren't around in January," he said, referring to the events surrounding the Hutton Report that led to his resignation.

Before the ceremony, the stars had to walk down a soggy, frothing red carpet. "I've just swam up from Aylesbury," David Jason joked.

Bafta is now gaining a reputation for red carpets that foam in the rain - the "wet carpet" gained almost as much attention as the stars at Bafta's 2002 film awards.

The ceremony, hosted by Davina McCall, was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. It will be shown on ITV1 on Monday.

What do you think of this year's Bafta TV winners? Are Ricky Gervais and Julie Walters the UK's biggest TV treasures - or did someone else deserve to win?

David Walliams should have won best comedy performance and the fact he's drop dead sexy should of won him the award!. Well Done for winning Best Comedy, lets hope there is more to come!. Well done! Jon Culshaw is Sexy too!!
Lyssa, Newport, South Wales

The Office is brilliant, Ricky Gervais is a comedy genius of our time. He has made the right choice in ending the Office after the second series and ending on a high rather that dragging it out until everyone has had their fill. He deserves the credit he gets for it.
Dawn, Stoke, Staffordshire

Considering how low down the list 'The Office' appeared in Britain's greatest sitcoms just goes to prove it is a critics' choice rather than a popular choice. I for one will be glad to see the back of Gervais and his award acceptance speeches. Maybe now he can concentrate on writing funny scripts rather than thank you scripts!
Sam, Pontypool, Gwent

The Office is a great comedy and will be regarded as a classic in the long run. Phoenix nights is the only other contemporary comedy to come close. The Office is actually quite similar to the Larry Sanders show and that is a show I would love to see some repeats of along with my all-time favourite Seinfeld.
Andy Quinn, Dungannon, Ireland

Does anybody else get the feeling that this "Office" thing is a big sham
Mark Auty, Colchester, England
Does anybody else get the feeling that this "Office" thing is a big sham? Ricky Gervais has pulled the biggest coup since the Emperor held court in his invisible suit! It seems to me that maybe a couple of years ago some renowned pundit acclaimed this series, and from that point on everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Now it's so ridiculously out of control no one dare come out and admit that the show is pants! It is not funny! Come on now, be brave, admit your mistakes. See the show for what it is! Absolution awaits!
Mark Auty, Colchester, England

Wow, The Office backlash is well underway here I see. Nice to see the British tradition of knocking anything the becomes successful is alive and well. Gervais and his colleagues thoroughly deserve all their awards.
Julian, Swindon, Wiltshire

I agree that the Office is very funny but why should TV presenters be allowed to dictate what selections are nominated for voting on? We have been watching Last of the Summer Wine for a number of years and consider it to be very good but when the Best Sitcom nominations came up recently we were unable to text 'LAST' as a nomination as it had not even been selected!
Diana Edwards, London UK

I think The Office is a remarkably funny and insightful portrayal of the common work place. It's so true it's almost painful. Little Britain is hilarious as well in a more surreal way. Well done to both of them.
Alan Davies, Liverpool

Of course Gervais was going to win. He has the reputation of being smug, but he plays on that, and his speech at the BAFTAs was typical of the wonderfully dark humour of the Office. However, I'm glad the BAFTAs are still recognising new comedy and Little Britain well deserved it's award for giving us national treasures such as Lou and Andy who, in a few years, will be up there with such great comedy characters as David Brent, Papa Lazarou and Basil Fawlty.
Tara Alexander, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Little Britain deserved to win
Becky Platten-Jarvis, Leicester, UK
I fail to see what is funny about 'The Office' and cannot understand why it keeps winning award after award. Little Britain deserved to win, it is the funniest comedy programme Britain has produced in recent years, and I think that Matt Lucas and David Walliams have produced a future classic.
Becky Platten-Jarvis, Leicester, UK

The Office is the most over-rated programme to have been produced for decades. I always thought the idea of a comedy was to make people laugh. If that's so, this fails dismally.
Dave Carter, Burscough, UK

The Office - it seems you either get it or you don't. Let me tell you, it is really good when you do get it.
Freddie, Sheffield

In a year's time it will be Little Britain that wins everything, and Ricky Gervais will be nowhere!! Marjorie Dawes for a BAFTA!
Debbie, Portsmouth, UK

Ricky Gervais has created one of the most original tv comedy shows ever with "the office" and it is great to see him and them winning awards for it and can't wait to see what he does next.
Richy Keenan, Waterford, Eire.

It doesn't really matter who wins. The BAFTAs is merely the entertainment industry telling us how wonderful they all really are, revelling in their celebrity status whilst actually doing very little and televising it to save them the bother of having to dream up some real entertainment to fill this particular spot in the schedules. Even if they were all rubbish, there would still be "winners" of awards, so what do they mean to anyone other than those who deify soap stars and the like?
Gordon, East Midlands

I think Ricky Gervais is overrated. Julie Walters is a great actress - hard choice between her and Helen Mirren.
Myrna Bennett, Liverpool, Merseyside

I still can't see anything remotely amusing about the Office
Steve, Newcastle, UK
I still can't see anything remotely amusing about the Office, despite actually trying to like it. I have come to the assumption it is like most modern Art, a case of the Emperor's new clothes if you like.
Steve, Newcastle, UK

Dame Julie, surely?
Graeme Boyden, London, England

I think 3 Baftas year on year is a bit much for Gervais. I love The Office, but he needs to produce something new.
Bav, Brussels

A well deserved win from both Bafta winners. I expect Richard Gervais will get better and better but I would like Phoenix Nights to make a comeback on TV as it is missed
Mo Jo, Longford, Coventry

The Office? One of the least funny 'comedies' I have ever seen. The best comedy performances are Robert Lindsay and Zoe Wanamaker in 'My Family' OK, maybe I am the wrong side of 40 and unable to appreciate the subtle nuances of modern comedy, but My Family makes me laugh, The Office, Little Britain, Nighty Night and all the other praised modern shows don't.
Peter Cowan, London, UK

For me awards ceremonies are a turn-off generally. Yuk ! That's what makes the world go round...we're all different
Buzz Clarke, Lancs UK

I would like to know how the attendees who 'braved the rain' for the BAFTA awards had the same coverage as the London Marathon. There were thousands who ran for 3 or 4 hours to raise funds for good causes. Then there were the BAFTA crowd who might have had one drop of rain fall on their Dolce and Gabana dresses.
Peter Rowcliffe,

The BBC's David Sillito
"The biggest round of applause was not for an award winner: Greg Dyke got a standing ovation"


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