Page last updated at 23:33 GMT, Sunday, 20 April 2008 00:33 UK

Brucie's big night at TV awards

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See the winners of this years Bafta Television awards

By Michael Osborn
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

On a night loaded with television talent and famous faces, there was one man who was the real star of the show.

Veteran entertainer Bruce Forsyth was at the Bafta Awards in London to collect a Fellowship, the Academy's highest accolade - and was greeted with a standing ovation which he said was "the most wonderful emotional feeling".

"I'm still shaking a little. It captured a moment that will live with me forever."

Dame Judi Dench
Dame Judi revealed a flair for text messaging

The 80-year-old was back at the Palladium to receive his first Bafta award, the very theatre where he cemented his reputation as a TV host in the early 1960s.

He called it "a place that taught me so much".

"This award came as a surprise because the only other light entertainment performers to have won the Fellowship are Morecambe and Wise and Charlie Chaplin," he said.

Forsyth added that his new-found success with Strictly Come Dancing had led to him being recognised, after being "more or less dead and buried".

First-time winners

The performer scotched rumours that he is bowing out of the ballroom dancing show - and shows no signs of resting on his laurels.

Another veteran who walked off with a first Bafta award was Cranford actress Dame Eileen Atkins, beating co-star Dame Judi Dench to the best actress prize.

She said there was no opportunity to enter into a rivalry with Dame Judi, who played her sister in the costume drama, because she "doesn't text", while the Oscar winner is a prodigious texter.

Kelly Brook
Kelly Brook provided a splash of glamour on the red carpet

"We did our first television together 50 years ago and have been friends on and off over the years. We're too old for rivalry," explained Dame Eileen.

Earlier on a bustling red carpet filled with the cries of autograph-hunting fans, Dame Judi revealed that she was taught the skill by actor Tom Hollander - and had placed a bet on Dame Eileen to be named best actress.

"I'm not texting her. We're going to have a big fight later!" she joked. Of course it was all smiles when best actress announcement was made.

Aside from a wealth of famous faces and some stunning outfits, the ceremony stood out for the dominance of first-time winners.

'Guilty pleasure'

Harry Hill's TV Burp - in its seventh series - captured two gongs, while sitcom Gavin and Stacey converted its first nominations into wins.

Co-star James Corden won best comedy performance, but said the audience award was "the icing on the best cake ever", overcoming the likes of Strictly Come Dancing and Britain's Got Talent.

Dame Eileen Atkins
We did our first television together 50 years ago and have been friends on and off over the years. We're too old for rivalry
Dame Eileen Atkins on fellow nominee Dame Judi Dench

BBC One medical drama Holby City overcame EastEnders to win best continuing drama, leading its executive producer to exclaim: "It's fantastic not being the bridesmaid."

He added that the prestige of a Bafta win would make watching the weekly show "less of a guilty pleasure".

The most surprised winners of the evening were the cast and makers of Channel 4 two-parter Britz, which took best drama serial ahead of Cranford.

Peter Kosminsky, writer of the story about two Muslim siblings and their lives after 9/11, said he was "genuinely shocked" to win and said it should encourage more challenging drama to be brought to television.

Kayvan Novak, the man behind prankster sketch show Fonejacker, was equally grateful to see the show walk away with best comedy programme, saying its making has become "a rags to riches story".

It was also a first for US sci-fi series Heroes, which won best international show to the delight of its makers and stars Milo Ventimiglia and Adrian Pasdar, while Milo was a massive draw for the red carpet fans.

But it was a much older man who captured the hearts of this year's Bafta TV awards and worked the crowd with flair - it was without doubt Bruce's night.


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