Call The Midwife has been named the best TV drama of the 21st Century at the closing night of the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival in London. 

The hit BBC1 drama, which had already been named Best Period Drama of the 21st Century by readers of Radio Times, won the final vote on RadioTimes.com from a shortlist of six category winners, including Best Crime Drama, Best US Drama, Best Foreign Language Drama, Best Sci-fi Drama and Best Contemporary Drama.

The final received over 23,000 votes, with Call The Midwife beating sci-fi winner, Merlin, in second place, and The Bridge, winner of the Best Foreign Language Drama, into third.

Dame Pippa Harris, Call The Midwife executive producer, said, "It's an extraordinary ho‎nour to have topped this poll, and the whole Call the Midwife team are delighted.

"It's a tribute not only to the brilliance of our ensemble cast but to the skill and passion of Heidi Thomas's writing and to the range and diversity of stories the series has covered. I'm personally thrilled that a show which takes an unflinching look at the lives of women and is created by and stars so many talented women, should have struck a chord such a large audience"

Best Drama of the 21st Century results:

1. Call the Midwife

2. Merlin

3. The Bridge

4. The Night Manager

5. The West Wing

6. Happy Valley

Written by Heidi Thomas, the hit BBC1 drama, first broadcast in January 2012, follows the lives of a group of midwives working in the poverty-stricken East End of London during the 1950 and 60s and was originally based on the best-selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth. The first series, set in 1957, was broadcast in January 2012 and became an immediate critical and popular success. The sixth series, which was broadcast earlier this year, was set in 1962.

Pippa Harris and Heidi Thomas, appeared alongside the programme’s producer Ann Tricklebank and actor Stephen McGann, who plays Dr Patrick Turner, at the BFI & Radio Times Festival on Saturday afternoon.