Page last updated at 23:04 GMT, Thursday, 3 April 2008 00:04 UK

Cranford star wins critics award

Dame Eileen Atkins
Dame Eileen Atkins played Miss Deborah in Cranford

Dame Eileen Atkins has won best TV actress at the 34th Broadcasting Press Guild Awards for her roles in the BBC dramas Cranford and Ballet Shoes.

The 73-year-old beat two other dames - Judi Dench and Maggie Smith - who had also been nominated for the prize.

Cranford, which is based on three Elizabeth Gaskell novels, scooped four gongs, including best drama and writer.

The best actor award went to Philip Glenister for his starring roles in the period drama and Life on Mars.

The awards, which were presented during a lunch at London's Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, were voted for by media journalists.

BBC presenter Andrew Marr was named best TV performer in a non-acting role for his Sunday morning political programme, The Andrew Marr Show, and for History of Modern Britain - which also won best documentary series.

Channel 4's dark drama Boy A, about a child murderer after his release from prison, took the award for best single television drama.

Philip Glenister
Philip Glenister won best actor for Cranford and Life on Mars

The prize for best single documentary was presented to ITV1 for its moving film about living with dementia called, Malcolm and Barbara: Love's Farewell.

BBC programmes dominated the awards, winning 10 of the 15 prizes.

Among them were Gavin and Stacey, which picked up best comedy, and Top Gear, which was named best factual entertainment show.

Phil Redmond, best known for launching influential TV shows Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks, won the Harvey Lee award for an outstanding contribution to broadcasting.

The Broadcasting Press Guild was founded in 1974 and is made up of journalists who specialise in television, radio and the media.

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