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Bafta Awards

8th May 2006

It was a surprise to all, but none more so than Noel Edmonds when Jonathan Ross won the Entertainment Performance Award at last night's ceremony at London's Grosvenor House Hotel - beating the hotly tipped Edmonds, who has returned to television screens with his Deal or No Deal quiz show.  A clear favourite with the crowd, Edmonds had called the BAFTA nomination the highlight of his broadcasting career and the former Radio 1 DJ just could not hide his disappointment at losing.

The return of the Time Lord was acknowledged when the new series of Doctor Who picked up a string of awards, including Best Drama Series. The new incarnation of the Doctor has been a big hit with viewers and is credited with returning family viewing to Saturday night television.  Doctor Who's revival came last year with Christopher Eccleston in the lead role, but he quit suddenly. This year's series, starring Scots actor David Tennant and Billie Piper, has drawn as many as eight million viewers. The last time Doctor Who earned a BAFTA nomination was in 1977.

Along with Best Drama Series, the show also won the Pioneer Audience Award for Best Programme of 2005 on a public vote, while writer Russell T Davies received the Dennis Potter Award for outstanding writing - presented by Tennant.

Another BBC fixture, EastEnders, collected the award for Continuing Drama for the first time since 2001, squeezing out Coronation Street, which had hoped to pick up its fourth successive prize.

And the BBC production of Charles Dickens's Bleak House won Best Serial, with Anna Maxwell Martin collecting the best actress BAFTA for her part in the show.

Shown in 15 cliff-hanging episodes, Bleak House's finale in December topped ratings with six million viewers.

For the Features Award, The Apprentice, with Sir Alan Sugar, overcame chef Gordon Ramsay in Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, along with Dragon's Den and Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear.

Reality show The X Factor picked up its first-ever BAFTA - the Lew Grade Award for Entertainment Programme - and ITV's only award of the night, beating Strictly Come Dancing, Have I Got News For You and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross to the coveted BAFTA mask.

Mark Rylance won the Best Actor BAFTA for his sensitive portrayal of Dr David Kelly in Peter Kosminsky's powerful drama The Government Inspector. The show also won in the Single Drama category.

Best Comedy Performance was won by Chris Langham for his role as the put-upon MP Hugh Abbot in Glaswegian writer Armando Iannucci's political satire The Thick of It, which also collected the BAFTA for Situation Comedy.

Jamie Oliver won the Factual Series BAFTA for Jamie's School Dinners, the show which was credited with sparking a national revamp of school menus.

Oliver was asked whether he would prefer better school meals or a BAFTA. He said: "As far as I'm concerned, a BAFTA would be for the wonderful crew who made this documentary. Last year I got my award when the government promised to improve school dinners."

The thought-provoking documentary about children afflicted with autism, Make Me Normal, won the Flaherty Award for Single Documentary.

The final award of the night, the prestigious Academy Fellowship, was presented to the film director and writer Ken Loach by Scottish actor Robert Carlyle.

The Baftas were presented by Davina McCall.

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