Dubliner Brendan O’Carroll has scooped the best sitcom award at the Baftas for Mrs Brown’s Boys.
“All we wanted to do was make people laugh and it seems to have worked,” O’Caroll said, as he accepted the award.
One of Australia’s most recognizable celebrity exports was lauded too. The Bafta Fellowship was given to veteran Australian artist and entertainer Rolf Harris.
Presenting him with the award, actor Robert Lindsay said he was “a national British treasure” and introduced a film of tributes from big names including Russell Crowe.
Harris came on stage to a standing ovation, brandished his award and joked: “I was going to say ‘Can you tell what it is yet?’, but perhaps I won’t.”
A drama about serial killer Fred West was the biggest winner at the television Baftas, scooping three awards.
Dominic West, who played the murderer, won the Leading Actor gong for Appropriate Adult.
His co-star Emily Watson was given the Leading Actress award for her role as Janet Leach, the “appropriate adult” who sat with West in police interviews.
Accepting the award on stage at the Royal Festival Hall, Watson admitted she had doubts about the programme when first approached about it. She said: “When I first heard about this show I thought I probably shouldn’t do it because of the subject matter – and then I read the script.”
Dominic West, who has also starred in The Wire, said he programme “required incredible sensitivity and judgment”.
In another success for the programme, actress Monica Dolan, who played Rose West, won the Bafta for Supporting Actress. Dolan said the role had been a “privilege” to play, before paying tribute to West’s victims, many of whom were never reported missing.
Sherlock was another big winner at the event staged at London’s Royal Festival Hall, winning the award for best supporting actor and having a Special Award handed to the series writer. Andrew Scott, who played the villainous Moriarty in the series, thanked his parents as he picked up his award and paid tribute to the “exceptionally talented Mr Benedict Cumberbatch” who plays Sherlock.
The Special Award was presented to Sherlock and Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat by the shows’ two stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith. Sherlock actor Cumberbatch described Moffat as “a word machine” and said “his name is a byword for quality family entertainment”, while Doctor Who star Smith described the writer as “brilliantly cantankerous”.
Jennifer Saunders won the award for Female Performance in a Comedy Programme for her return to Absolutely Fabulous. The star said: “That was a bit of a shock, thank you for still finding it funny.” Meanwhile, the award for Entertainment Performance went to Graham Norton, who presented Saturday night’s Eurovision Song Contest coverage.
Among other winners, Coronation Street scooped the award for best Soap and Continuing Drama; and Newsreader Kate Silverton presented the Single Documentary award to BBC Two’s Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die – the best-selling author’s examination of euthanasia.