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South Bank Show Awards 2009: Wins for Elbow and Othello


Story by Jack Foley

ELBOW have followed up their Mercury Music Prize succcess with one of the top prizes at the annual South Bank Show Awards in London.

The Manchester-based outfit were named winners of the pop award ahead of Laura Marling and Estelle.

Now in their 13th year, the awards are the only ones in the world to reflect the strength of British talent and achievement across the spectrum of the arts including, classical music, comedy, dance, film, literature, opera, pop, theatre, TV drama and visual arts.

They were hosted by Melvyn Bragg in front of a star-studded audience at The Dorchester Hotel, in London, on January 20 (2009).

The theatre award went to the Donmar Warehouse for its critically-acclaimed revival of Othello, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ewan McGregor, while theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh was honoured for for outstanding achievement.

Bafta-nominated movie Hunger, about an IRA hunger strike, took the film award, while TV drama The Devil’s Whore, which screened on Channel 4 last year, picked up the prize for best TV drama.

Last year’s winner of the television comedy award, Gavin & Stacey, lost out to Pulling, which triumphed for its second season.

Further awards went to Linda Grant, who was presented with the award for literature by playwright Sir Tom Stoppard (for her book, The Clothes on Their Backs).

Legendary pianist Alfred Brendel scooped the classical music award for his Retirement Concerts, while the English National Opera and the Young Vic shared the opera award.

Urban artist Mohammed Ali, known for his merging graffiti style with Islamic art, accepted the diversity award from Freema Agyeman, and Wayne McGregor took the dance category, with Peter Doig winning the visual arts award for his work at Tate Britain.

Finally, dancer Aaron Sillis, who starred in choreographer Matthew Bourne’s rewrite of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, won the breakthrough prize and received his trophy from Frost/Nixon star Michael Sheen.

The star-studded awards ceremony included live music from Hairspray star Michael Ball, violinist Nigel Kennedy and rockers Razorlight, and was also attended by celebrity guests including Ronnie Wood and John Hurt.