Graham Norton and screenwriter Jack Thorne have been honoured for their outstanding contributions to British television at this year’s Royal Television Society (RTS) awards.
BBC One was named as network of the year on a night that also saw its popular competition Strictly Come Dancing receive the prestigious RTS judges prize.
Hard-hitting drama It’s A Sin also took home three prizes including Best Limited Series and best drama writer for its creator Russell T Davies.
The winners were revealed by comedian Tom Allen on Tuesday evening at the star studded-ceremony, held in person at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.
Chat show host Norton was recognised for his contributions in 2020 but was unable to collect the prize in person due to the pandemic.
He returned to collect the gong on Tuesday alongside Thorne, who is known for his work on hit UK series including Shameless and Skins.
Judges said in previous years Norton had become “more than any other THE face of entertainment on BBC One,” and praised his show’s “warm, cheeky, mischievous” nature.
Thorne was also hailed as “one of the most sought-after writers in television” with a “voracious work ethic and dazzling talent” that had resulted in “an incredible body of work”.
The judges said that Strictly Come Dancing “broke new ground” in 2021 as a result of its inclusive casting policies.
The latest series of Strictly saw the inclusion of its first deaf participant Rose Ayling-Ellis, who went on to score a “landmark” victory with partner Giovanni Pernice as the show’s first disabled winner.
“In dancing her way to becoming the first ever disabled winner of the glitterball trophy, Rose demonstrated just what’s possible when the barriers to opportunity are removed – and talent is allowed to flourish and shine,” judges said.
The show was also lauded for casting its first male dance couple in John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, demonstrating the producers’ dedication to keeping the competition “modern, and ultimately reflective of its vast, diverse and appreciative audience.”
As well as the best limited series and best writer accolades, It’s A Sin star Callum Scott Howells won the best actor award, having fended off co-star Olly Alexander.
Other winners included Gabrielle Creevy, who won best actress for her role in In My Skin, and Adjani Salmon who won the breakthrough award.
Comedian Mo Gilligan took home the comedy entertainment prize for his show The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan, and entertainment performance alongside AJ Odudu for The Big Breakfast.
The Duke Of Cambridge’s Earthshot Prize 2021 was awarded the prize for best live event with judges describing it as “technically stunning, totally engaging, and a compelling narrative.”
Chair of the RTS Programme Awards Kenton Allen said the return of the in-person ceremony was “a truly remarkable moment.”
“All of tonight’s winners are fantastic examples of the outstanding content that has been produced in the UK and has resonated with audiences not only here but globally,” he said.
“A huge congratulations to all of tonight’s winners and nominees; it’s a wonderful chance to recognise the creative and hardworking people behind British television.”