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National TV Awards 2013: Downton Abbey and Strictly Come Dancing among winners

Downton Abbey, Season 3

Story by Jack Foley

DOWNTON Abbey has been crowned best TV drama for a second consecutive year at the National Television Awards.

The series beat the likes of Merlin, Sherlock and Doctor Who in the category and was voted for by the public.

But while the BBC missed out in that category, the broadcaster enjoyed a strong night with Merlin and Strictly Come Dancing among the notable winners.

Merlin‘s Colin Morgan won best male drama performance in what proved to be the final series of the fantasy drama, beating Benedict Cumberbatch, Matt Smith and Daniel Mays to the prize.

He told the BBC afterwards: “It’s been a five-year journey, so it’s a huge honour to end on a high and get the recognition from the fans.”

And Strictly Come Dancing beat fierce ratings rival The X Factor in the best talent show category, thereby ending The X Factor‘s three-year run of winning the prize.

In doing so, the show also beat Britain’s Got Talent, Dancing On Ice and The Voice and reflects its continued popularity and growth among viewers, which last year helped it to consistently beat the ITV programme in the ratings.

A further BBC triumph came when Miranda Hart picked up best female drama performance for her role in Call The Midwife.

While BBC shows Mrs Brown’s Boys won best sitcom, Frozen Planet won best documentary series and QI picked up best comedy panel show.

EastEnders‘ David Witts was named best newcomer.

ITV, meanwhile, also saw triumphs when Ant and Dec won the best presenter award for a 12th consecutive year. The duo accepted their award via a video link from the London Palladium where they are currently filming Britain’s Got Talent.

Coronation Street also beat EastEnders to best serial drama for a second year, while Alan Halsall, who plays Tyrone in the soap, picked up best serial drama performance.

ITV1’s This Morning was named best daytime programme and Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs won best factual entertainment.

Joanna Lumley was awarded a special recognition prize for her career achievements.

The prizes were handed out at a ceremony at London’s O2 Arena on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.

View the winners and nominees in full