Twenty Twelve star Jessica Hynes provided the highlight of the RTS Programme Awards at the Grosvenor House hotel in London last night, shocking and delighting a room full of big TV names with a long, ribald acceptance speech that mocked Jack Whitehall and forced host Jo Brand to try to remove Hynes from the stage.
Having beaten Stella creator Ruth Jones and Fresh Meat star Jack Whitehall to the Royal Television Society award for Best Comedy Performance, Hynes said: "How can anybody judge Ruth Jones, Jack Whitehall, Jessica Hynes, how do you f***ing judge that? I really don’t know. By height?"
"I am massively honoured to be awarded this really weighty award," Hynes continued. "For heaven’s sake, Ruth Jones, what an extraordinary comedian she is. What a f**king woman she is, to go from character, comedy, to drama to, y'know, rejuvenating the film industry in Cardiff.
"Along with Doctor Who, obviously," Hynes added, gesturing towards Steven Moffat at a nearby table. "They mainly do that. But Ruth did it as well. It's phenomenal to be in an award category with her. And Jack Whitehall."
With the audience laughing at the tone she'd used when mentioning Whitehall's name, Hynes said: "No, I do like Jack, but: you are young and you are male. No, you are quite funny, you are quite funny. You got a long f***ing way to go, a long way to go my friend. But yeah. Not bad. You’re OK."
Hynes then embarked on a comparison of television, as a medium, with cinema. "I love television," she said. "I love it. From the age of six months my mother sat me in front of the test card. She was a bad mother.
"I love television, I love it and everyone goes on about film. They are like: 'Films.' F*** film. F*** films. 'Oh, I make a film, I make a film': f*** them... Television is my f***ing heart. I love it. I love it."
Hynes then noticed Jo Brand, the host of the event, approaching from stage right. "They're determined to make me go away," Hynes said. "Jo’s a bit jealous. I'm getting some laughs."
The audience, who had been greatly enjoying the speech up to this point, murmured in surprise at the dig at Brand, whose stand-up routine at the start of the evening had in fact gone down very well. "I’m not, I’m not," Hynes said, apologetically, before winning the room back by suddenly pointing at one of her Twenty Twelve co-stars and exclaiming: "Hugh Bonneville! He's about to do a film with George Clooney."
Later on, "f*** film" became the evening's unlikely catchphrase when it was jokingly repeated, again to roars of laughter from the nominees and other guests, by Declan Donnelly.
RadioTimes.com can confirm that Hynes remained in celebratory mood in the bar following the ceremony.
Hynes's new sitcom Up the Women, co-starring Rebecca Front and Vicki Pepperdine, will be shown on BBC4 later this year.