National TV Awards 2011: Forsyth and Jason honoured

It was a night for the veterans at the National Television Awards with two seasoned stars carrying off the big prizes.

There was a Special Recognition award - and a standing ovation - for Bruce Forsyth.

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Stephen Fry, who presented last night's award, described the showman as "a legend".

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He added: "That is a word that is often overused but in this case never more deservedly."

The star, who began his career as Boy Bruce the Mighty Atom and has done stints on The Generation Game and Strictly Come Dancing, joked: "This being this kind of a night, this would be a good night to announce my retirement but I'm not bloody going to."

He paid tribute to his wife and thanked the viewers, who he called "Mr and Mrs Public", for their support.

The ceremony featured a film with tributes from Paul Merton, Michael Grade and Harry Hill.

Strictly co-host Tess Daly said he was "definitely a 10, he loves to


Merton, who starred with Forsyth when he presented an episode of satirical show Have I Got News For You, said: "There are some people who aren't the retiring type and I suspect Bruce is one of those. He'll have to be dragged off."

David Jason picked up the award for Most Outstanding Drama Performance - despite earlier predicting on the red carpet he would not win.

But his role as world-weary copper Jack Frost saw off challenges from Doctor Who actor Matt Smith, Ashes to Ashes man Philip Glenister and Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch.

Jason, best known for his role as loveable wideboy Del Trotter, said: "This is a real turn up for the book. I just have to thank you all who voted for me."

EastEnders was crowned top soap and also picked up awards for Most Popular Newcomer for Ricky Norwood, who plays Fatboy, and Outstanding Serial Drama Performance for Lacey Turner's role as Stacey Slater.

Norwood dedicated his award to his grandmother, saying: "(The award) is going on the mantelpiece with a picture of my nan, who always loved EastEnders.

"My nan was a very wise woman as well as a very straight forward woman. She always supported me.

"She was the first to get me into performing. She started me break dancing when I was three."

Turner, whose character left the soap in dramatic style at Christmas, thanked everyone connected with the show.

Talking backstage she said: "It was a massive part of my life. I miss her already. I haven't played her since November and was very upset when I left, but a good upset. And they haven't killed her off."

She said it "feels really good" to have gone out of the show with the award, although she had wanted former co-star Steve McFadden to win.

Other winners included ITV1's Benidorm which carried off the award for

Most Popular Comedy Programme and Waterloo Road which won Most Popular Drama.

Zen star Rufus Sewell handed out the Digital Choice award to the cast of teen comedy The Inbetweeners.

Geordie duo Ant and Dec picked up the Most Popular Entertainment Presenter award - a category they have dominated having won it for 10 years in a row.

Ashes hero Alastair Cook showed off the cricket trophy to a cheering audience, and presented the award for topical magazine show to This Morning.

The result might cause a problem for chef Gino D'Acampo who promised to cook in the nude if they came out on top.

Co-host Phillip Schofield joked: "Tomorrow we bring out the barbecue."

Top Gear won the prize for Most Popular Factual Programme and its co-host Jeremy Clarkson said: "There hasn't been a fact on Top Gear for seven years now, it's just three middle-aged men falling over."

James May got a laugh when he thanked the woman who had tucked in their microphones - a reference to the sexism row that has seen Andy Gray and Richard Keys leave Sky Sports.

There was a shock for two young members of the audience who were asked on stage to present the award for Most Popular Talent Show to The X Factor.

Billy Pearce.

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