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Alex Stanger reports for BBC News
"Judy took the embarrassment in her stride"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 11 October, 2000, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Barrymore is viewers' favourite
Screengrab from the National Television Awards (ITV)
Slip: Judy Finnegan nearly stole the show at the awards
Michael Barrymore took top honours at the National TV Awards in London, taking away the prizes for best entertainment presenter and best comedy performer.

He beat Big Brother presenter Davina McCall, who had been widely tipped to win the best entertainment presenter prize.

He also scooped the best comedy performer prize at the Royal Albert Hall ceremony, ahead of Sacha Baron Cohen's caricature Ali G and Dinnerladies star Victoria Wood.

Michael Barrymore with his prizes
Double winner: Barrymore thanked his Valium
Barrymore has now won seven awards at the six-year-old event, including a special achievement prize awarded last year.

Expressing his shock at the honour, Barrymore admitted he had had some help in controlling his nerves.

"I am shaking, I am not good at award ceremonies," he said.

"I have not gone into one or ranted or mumbled or raved. I would like to thank the Valium for that."

But he was nearly upstaged by daytime TV host Judy Finnigan, whose black dress fell open to reveal her cleavage as she received the best daytime programme award for This Morning.

Chris Tarrant
Chris Tarrant with his dad Basil - dressed as the Phantom Flan Flinger
Finnigan's blushes were spared by This Morning's stand-in host John Leslie, who dashed onto stage to cover her modesty.

Her co-presenter husband Richard Madeley quipped: "If you vote for us next year she will show you both of them."

On Wednesday morning's programme, she told viewers: "It's a good job I was wearing a bra."

EastEnders star Martin Kemp received public recognition for his role as villainous Steve Owen in the BBC soap by winning the most popular actor prize, beating well-known faces such as David Jason and John Thaw - who had won the prize for two years in a row.

But his EastEnders colleague Tamzin Outhwaite missed out on the most popular actress prize, losing to Sarah Lancashire for her part in ITV drama Seeing Red.

Martin Kemp in EastEnders
Winner: Martin Kemp as Steve Owen
Lancashire also saw her old soap, Coronation Street, win the most popular serial drama prize for the third year running, two months before the ITV show celebrates 40 years on the screen.

One of its youngest stars - 17-year-old Tina O'Brien - took the most popular newcomer vote. She has played Sarah-Louise Platt for just under a year.

In a good night for ITV, two of the network's flagship entertainment shows took home prizes. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? won most popular quiz for the second year running, while Stars In Their Eyes was most popular entertainment programme for the third year in a row.

Millionaire host Chris Tarrant also took home a special award paying tribute to his long career in television, which dates back to his stint as a reporter for the now-defunct Midlands station ATV in the early 1970s.

Other than Martin Kemp's award, the other BBC winners included Animal Hospital (factual programme - second year in a row) and Parkinson (talk show - second year running).

Tina O'Brien
Winner: Tina O'Brien arrives at the awards
The Royle Family - made by Granada - won most popular comedy, making it four awards for the BBC.

Accepting the award Ricky Tomlinson said he did not think there should be more regular series of the show because it might lose its originality.

"I think it's like sex, the less you get it the more you enjoy it," he said.

The awards, presented by ITV news man Sir Trevor McDonald, are decided by a public vote.

Click here to see a full list of winners from the National Television Awards.

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See also:

10 Oct 00 | Entertainment
TV favourites battle it out
15 May 00 | Entertainment
A Royle night at the Baftas
27 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Thaw's double TV victory
10 Oct 00 | Entertainment
National Television Awards: The winners
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