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Fry honoured for homophobia series

Broadcaster Stephen Fry has been named the presenter of the year for the documentary series which left him at such a low ebb that it prompted a suicide attempt.

His BBC2 programmes, Stephen Fry: Out There, saw him travelling to countries such as India, Russia and the US to look at homophobia and the treatment of their gay communities.

But the realities of meeting people with such entrenched anti-gay views prompted a wave of depression which led to what he has called a "mad compulsion" to end his life.

Fry beat Sir David Attenborough and Davina McCall to collect the best presenter prize at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards last night.

He told guests at the event: "In the time we made this programme Out There I met some of the most horrific, evil people I have ever imagined could have possibly existed on the face of the earth; I also met some of the most heroic, brave, stalwart people I also have ever met.

"Winston Churchill one said you judge a civilisation by the way it treats its prisoners - I think you can judge a civilisation by the way it treats its minorities."

Fry thanked the team who accompanied him on his travels and said: "They saw me at my lowest and my worst and my happiest but we believed in what we were making and we thank the Royal Television Society from the bottom of our hearts."

Since his low point he has gone on to find effective medication to keep his depression under control.

Channel 4 was the big winner at the event with a claim on nine of the 28 programme awards.

They included best documentary series for Educating Yorkshire, with one of the teachers from the school featured in the show blasting Education Secretary Michael Gove as he collected the prize at the ceremony in London's Grosvenor House.

Michael Steer, a maths teacher who was a regular face on the series set in Dewsbury's Thornhill Community Academy, offered an unflattering dedication as he picked up the award.

He told guests from the TV industry: "On behalf of teachers I'd like to dedicate this award to Michael Gove and I mean dedicate in the Anglo Saxon sense which means 'insert roughly into the anus of'."

Idris Elba took the best actor prize for his performance in BBC1 detective series Luther.

Olivia Colman won the best actress prize for the second year running for her role in Broadchurch with judges calling her "an actor at the top of her game".

Taking to the stage without her shoes, she said: "I kicked them off under the table and forgot to put them back on."

Broadchurch won a second prize at the event, hosted by comic Tim Vine, by landing the best drama serial award. ITV's Coronation Street took the best soap prize.

Outgoing BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow was given the "judges' award" for her achievements with the channel.

Veteran actor David Suchet was honoured with the lifetime achievement award in recognition of his quarter of a century portraying Hercule Poirot, although he w as unable to attend the event after feeling unwell before the ceremony.

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