Sherlock and The Only Way Is Essex triumph at Bafta TV Awards

Success for the Arthur Conan Doyle reboot and ITV2's reality soap

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The academy’s TV committee picked Sherlock as the best drama series of the last year and viewers chose The Only Way Is Essex for the YouTube Audience Award at last night’s Bafta TV Awards.

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TOWIE stars whooped their way to the stage where Mark Wright said: “We’re absolutely overwhelmed to be here tonight, even to be nominated. But to win it, you know, it’s incredible.”

The reality show beat the likes of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Downton Abbey and Sherlock. But the BBC’s reworked Sherlock drama took home two awards: best drama series and best supporting actor for Martin Freeman.

Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss said: “Today is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday and I was worried if we didn’t win it would mean he didn’t approve but I hope this means he does.”

In his speech, Martin Freeman, who plays Dr Watson, said:  “I really, really, really did… expect it. No, I didn’t. I of course couldn’t do this without Benedict Cumberbatch who is a fantastic Sherlock.” Backstage, he let slip about Cumberbatch joining the cast of The Hobbit.

Cumberbatch was nominated for best actor but he, and Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, were beaten by Daniel Rigby for his role as Eric Morecambe in the BBC’s Eric & Ernie.

The BBC also won best single drama for The Road to Coronation Street, while the soap award went to EastEnders.

Jo Brand won best female comic performance for her series Getting On and Steve Coogan was the best male equivalent for The Trip.

Other drama winners included Lauren Socha, who won best supporting actress for E4’s Misfits, and Vicky McClure, who was named best actress for This Is England ’86.

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Sir Trevor McDonald was made a Fellow of the Academy for his “outstanding and exceptional contribution” to television news.