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Tarmey remembered at TV awards show

The stars of Coronation Street remembered Bill Tarmey as they picked up two prizes at the National Television Awards.

The long-running ITV soap was named best serial drama and Alan Halsall, who played Tarmey's on-screen foster son Tyrone Dobbs, won the award for serial drama performance.

Accepting his award, Halsall paid tribute to Tarmey, who died last year after playing Jack Duckworth in the soap for decades, saying: "I love you pal."

Speaking backstage, he paid further tribute to Tarmey, saying the actor would be looking down on him.

He said: "I'm sure he is. He'll be having a pint of Guinness for me. His wife asked me to wear his watch tonight so I've got it on. This is for him, he guided me literally from the start of my career at Coronation Street, he was such a huge, huge influence on my life like a second dad on screen.

"He'd be laughing at this right now, he used to say, 'none of that bloody acting'."

The show's producer Phil Collinson also paid tribute to Tarmey, saying: "This year we lost a stalwart of Coronation Street who was just so much a part of everybody's life for a long time, Bill Tarmey, and so I think we'd love to dedicate this to Bill."

Among the stars at Wednesday night's event, at the 02 in Greenwich, south-east London, were X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos, Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville and Olympian Sir Chris Hoy.

EastEnders stars Jacqueline Jossa and Shona McGarty and the cast of The Only Way Is Essex also posed for photographers as they arrived on the red carpet.

The first award, for entertainment programme went to I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

The second went to Sir David Attenborough's BBC natural history show Frozen Planet which won best documentary series.

QI was named the best comedy panel show, beating competition including Have I Got News For You and Mock The Week.

The first big surprise of the night saw Merlin star Colin Morgan win the award for the best male drama performance, beating much-fancied rivals in Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch and Dr Who's Matt Smith.

Downton Abbey was named best drama, beating shows including Sherlock and Doctor Who.

Phyllis Logan, who plays housekeeper Mrs Hughes in the show, paid tribute to writer Julian Fellowes, saying: "His imagination has captured the imagination of a lot of you all around the world."

Strictly Come Dancing was named best talent show, beating ITV rival The X Factor and This Morning was named best daytime programme, with hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby accepting the award and the award for best female drama performance went to Call The Midwife star Miranda Hart.

A landmark award for coverage of London 2012 was presented to Lord Coe, Sir Chris Hoy and David Weir.

The award for best entertainment presenter went to Ant and Dec for the 12th year running, but the Geordie duo were filming Britain's Got Talent so accepted the gong via a live link.

Accepting the award from Simon Cowell, Ant said: "This is just ridiculous, 12 in a row."

The award for factual entertainment went to Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs.

EastEnders actor David Witts, who plays Joey Branning in the BBC soap, won the newcomer award and told off members of the audience who booed when he mentioned his girlfriend in his speech, saying: "You can't boo her, she's beautiful."

The audience also saw a performance by X Factor finalist Ella Henderson who sang a cover version of Cher's Believe, before the award for situation comedy went to Mrs Brown's Boys.

The show's writer and star Brendan O'Carroll thanked fans of the show, which stars many of his real-life family including his wife, his sister and his daughter, and joked: "The only person that's not in the show is my mother and that's because she is dead."

A special recognition award went to Joanna Lumley, with tributes being paid to the actress by her Absolutely Fabulous co-star Jennifer Saunders, Prime Minister David Cameron and film director Martin Scorsese - who cast her in this year's Wolf Of Wall Street.

A film of tributes was played that included clips from her career in shows including Coronation Street, The New Avengers and Absolutely Fabulous, as well as a scene from the Scorsese film where she kissed Leonardo DiCaprio.

Accepting her award, she wiped back tears and said: "I love you so much.

"This is so strange to see my life played out in front of me, I'm so touched by those things all those people said, I'm so thrilled you saw me kissing Leo."

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