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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 22:32 GMT 23:32 UK
Doctor Who takes three TV awards
Noel Clarke, Billie Piper and Camille Coduri

BBC series Doctor Who has won three prizes at the National TV Awards, including most popular drama.

The show's two stars Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper scooped the most popular actor and actress honours in the awards voted by the public.

EastEnders won most popular serial drama, while Coronation Street's Antony Cotton was most popular newcomer.

Ant and Dec won top entertainment hosts for the fifth year running and Little Britain claimed the comedy prize.

The results were revealed by ITV1 newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald at the Royal Albert Hall.

Awards success

Revived after a 16-year absence, Doctor Who has proved to be a success with viewers since it returned to BBC One in March.

It beat US hit series Desperate Housewives, The Bill and Bad Girls to win the most popular drama prize.

The award was presented jointly by the two men challenging to be the next Conservative party leader, David Cameron and David Davis.

Mr Cameron was the one holding the trophy and the pair were both booed as they arrived on stage.

Christopher Eccleston
Critics praised Eccleston's performance as Doctor Who

Eccleston, who will not be returning for the next series, took the actor award ahead of Doc Martin star Martin Clunes, Coronation Street's Bradley Walsh and EastEnders regulars Nigel Harman and Shane Richie.

Eccleston was unable to attend the ceremony so writer Russell T Davies collected the award on his behalf and read out the actor's note of apology and thanks.

"Thank you to everybody who voted for me, and to the British public for their encouragement over the last 17 years," Eccleston had written.

Soap battle

"They have always been honest with me and I'm very grateful."

In the actress category, Piper, who will return as sidekick Rose in the new series, beat Caroline Quentin, EastEnders stars Jessie Wallace and June Brown, and Coronation Street's Sally Lindsay.

Jamie Oliver
Double award winner Jamie Oliver was sporting a black eye

On collecting her prize, Piper thanked the drama's bosses for taking a "huge gamble".

Casanova actor David Tennant has been cast as Eccleston's replacement.

A 13-part new series will follow a Christmas special, with a spin-off drama called Torchwood also being filmed.

Last year's awards were dominated by Coronation Street, which took three prizes.

EastEnders, which went home empty-handed last year, won this year's soap award despite trailing Coronation Street in the ratings and receiving its lowest audience in five years last month.

Campaign success

Street star Cotton, who plays Sean Tully, won the most popular newcomer prize, having taken the best newcomer and funniest performance gongs at last month's Inside Soap Awards.

The soap's creator Tony Warren won a special TV landmark award for his work.

Jamie Oliver's series Jamie's School Dinners, which saw him take on the issue of the food being served up to pupils, won most popular factual programme.

Ant and Dec
Ant and Dec currently host ITV1's Gameshow Marathon

Oliver won a special recognition prize for his campaign, which sparked a national debate and resulted in the government giving an extra 280m to tackle the school meals "crisis" in England.

The Channel 4 chef appeared on stage after a video message by Tony Blair.

The Prime Minister told Oliver he had "used the power of television to change things for the better in homes and schools in our country".

"I can't think of anyone that deserves this award better," he added

ITV1's Saturday night musical talent show The X Factor was another double award winner, with the programme winning the popular entertainment show category and Sharon Osbourne named TV's most popular expert.

Big Brother, which had its sixth regular series in the summer, won the reality show prize for the third time.

The quiz programme award went to Who Wants to be a Millionaire? while the daytime award was won by The Paul O'Grady Show.


SEE ALSO:
Dr Who scoops award nominations
11 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
EastEnders on top at soap awards
27 Sep 05 |  Entertainment
Street is best soap at TV awards
06 Sep 05 |  Entertainment
Doctor Who stars up for TV awards
05 Jul 05 |  Entertainment


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