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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 November 2006, 04:03 GMT
Highs and lows of the TV awards
By Fiona Pryor
BBC News, National Television Awards

Sir David Attenborough and Terri Irwin
Terri Irwin flew to the UK especially to present the award

Doctor Who and Ant and Dec were the big winners this year at the National Television Awards but the main talking point of the evening was the surprise appearance of the late Steve Irwin's wife, Terri.

Standing on stage in her trademark khaki uniform she fought back tears while members of the audience got to their feet and applauded her.

Nearly two months on from losing her "Crocodile Hunter" husband, she flew to the UK especially to award Sir David Attenborough with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

"I am especially pleased to be here, because if there's one person who directly inspired my husband it's the person being honoured tonight," she told the audience.

A video message of congratulations from the Duke of Edinburgh followed Terri's moving speech before finally the veteran presenter came on stage.

"This world here seems a very different world from the penguins, the gorillas, the polar bears and birds of paradise. But it's they that have brought me here.

Jeremy Clarkson
Top Gear presenter Clarkson says the show will be back shortly
"It's the fact that you care for them that has brought me this. We all have to care for them because they are in our hands," said the 80-year-old.

Lighter moments

The evening did share lighter moments amongst the winners.

Jeremy Clarkson had the most fun with the waiting press backstage after he picked up the award on behalf of Top Gear for most popular factual programme.

On entering the room and before anybody had a chance to ask questions, he launched into a full rundown of his co-star Richard Hammond's recovery after he was recently involved in a high speed car accident during filming of the BBC show.

'Torrid time'

"He's fine, completely fixed. The doctors say he's got to get a little bit better before he can come and face the flashbulbs and what have you.

"This will cheer him up and also cheer up the Top Gear team who have had a pretty torrid time over the last few weeks," he said.

Clarkson even joked that winning the award was all down to Hammond's accident, saying: "I told you if one of us has a car accident we would win this. They have set this up for Hammond haven't they?"

Nikki Grahame
Nikki looked shocked to hear she had won an award
But amongst all the winning actors and actresses it was former Big Brother contestant Nikki Grahame who got most of the photographers' attention backstage.

Hundreds of clicks of the camera could be heard as the 24-year-old, dressed in a short green satin dress, posed on stage and even after the interviews were finished the photos continued.

Either way, the woman who became famous for throwing temper tantrums in the Big Brother house seemed to be loving every minute of it.

"I have never won anything in my life. I'm absolutely overwhelmed, I'm so ecstatic. I can't even put it into words," she said.

Simon Cowell left his "nasty" persona at home as he welcomed former X Factor contestant Chico up on stage as he collected the award for most popular entertainment programme for the show.

David Walliams and Matt Lucas
David Walliams swam the Channel in just over 10 hours
Chico bounded up onto the stage, waving at the audience while Cowell said: "There's only one award that's worth winning. That is the one where the public votes."

David Walliams won the special recognition award for swimming across the Channel which he did to raise money for Sport Relief. He said he had another challenge up his sleeve but for now was not sure whether to "just go back to wearing dresses".

His comedy partner Matt Lucas, who along with Walliams won most popular comedy programme for Little Britain, joked that his big challenge would be to eat "one toffee, or maybe two."

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