Belfast Telegraph

Time Lord David Tennant scoops TV award

David Tennant scooped an Outstanding Drama Performance gong at the National Television Awards - just as he announced he was quitting the Tardis.

The star was up against his Doctor Who sidekick Catherine Tate at last night's celebrity extravaganza, for their respective roles as the Time Lord and his assistant Donna Noble in the hit BBC sci-fi drama.

But Tennant, 37, won the award, just after announcing he was leaving the drama following his four-year tenure. The Scots actor will complete the filming of four special episodes to be screened this year and in early 2010 as well as 2009's Christmas special.

Doctor Who also won Most Popular Drama, beating Desperate Housewives, Shameless and The Bill. It was the fourth win in a row for Dr Who and the third consecutive win for Tennant.

Last night's extravaganza - whose awards are voted by the public - took place as the controversy over the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross lewd phone message broadcast raged on.

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber made reference to the furore when he introduced Simon Cowell to the stage to present him with the Special Recognition award.

"It's been a difficult night for all of TV and broadcasting. We might as well address the issue because what we're looking for now is a man with integrity, and enough moral fibre to bring us through", Lord Webber said.

Strictly Come Dancing won Most Popular Talent Show - beating Cowell's shows The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, and Dancing on Ice. Strictly host Tess Daly accepted the award.

Picking up his gong, Cowell, referring to the Most Popular Talent Show gong, said wryly: "Well done Strictly."

Backstage the TV mogul was more forthright about missing out on the award. He said: "It's bad enough losing but losing to that lot is a nightmare. I'm really p****d off. I'm not happy."

He also spoke of the pitfalls of fame, revealing he could not go out for dinner without people wanting to talk about the X Factor, did not have a private life, and had to worry about having his photograph taken.

Cowell said of his rise to fame: "I've definitely become more spoilt, more shallow and can honestly say I have loved every single minute of it. It's the best job in the world."

Top Gear was named Most Popular Factual Programme, and the Paul O'Grady Show took the Entertainment Programme category.

EastEnders was named Most Popular Serial Drama, while Ant and Dec were awarded the gong for Entertainment Presenter.

The BBC soap won for the fourth consecutive year, while Ant and Dec have now picked up their title for at least seven years.

Elsewhere, Rita Simons won the Popular Newcomer title for her role as Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders.

Matt Littler took Outstanding Serial Drama Performance for his role as Matt Cunningham in Hollyoaks.

The Brand-Ross controversy sparked condemnation on the red carpet, with Louis Walsh saying of Brand: "He had it coming. It was rude, crude and he'd been getting away with it for too long. I'm glad he was caught out in the end."

He added: "Jonathan will keep his job and the BBC needs him. He'll stay and carry on being pompous."

O'Grady also weighed in, joking: "Jonathan Ross can stick this award where the sun don't shine."

Of the EastEnders award, Barbara Windsor said: "It's the best thing. It's better than sex."

"Four on the trot. I think we've had a great year."

Award winners

List of the winners at the National Television Awards:

Most Popular Entertainment Programme

The Paul O'Grady Show (CH 4)

Outstanding Serial Drama Performance

Matt Littler, Hollyoaks (CH 4)

Most Popular Factual Programme

Top Gear (BBC 2)

Most Popular Comedy Programme

Benidorm (ITV 1)

Most Popular Newcomer

Rita Simons, EastEnders (BBC 1)

Most Popular Drama

Doctor Who (BBC 1)

Most Popular Entertainment Presenter

Ant & Dec (ITV)

Outstanding Drama Performance

David Tennant, Doctor Who (BBC 1)

Most Popular Serial Drama

EastEnders (BBC 1)

Special Recognition Award

Simon Cowell

Most Popular Talent Show

Strictly Come Dancing (BBC 1)

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