The BBC political satire The Thick of It has emerged as the big winner from last night's Bafta television awards, dominating the comedy categories by taking home three awards.
The Thick of It, which satirises the inner workings of government in Britain, won in the best sitcom category at the annual awards night. Its two main actors, Rebecca Front and Peter Capaldi, won the awards for the best female and male comedy performances respectively.
Capaldi's win in the best male comedy performance category represents his first Bafta for his part as the foul-mouthed political spin doctor Malcolm Tucker. He had previously been nominated in 2006 - when the then-cast member Chris Langham claimed the award - and in 2008.
Front joined the cast in 2009's third series, playing the part of Nicola Murray, the secretary of state for social affairs and citizenship.
"This is brilliant," said Front. "And what the hell do I do now?"
The series' creator and writer Armando Ianucci quipped that the formation of a coalition between Britain's Conservatives and Liberal Democrats was responsible "for completely destroying our plans for the next series".
The awards night is run annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Awards are voted on entirely by those working in the industry, making the Baftas the most prestigious awards event of the year in British television.
It was a record-breaking night for the distinguished actor Julie Walters, who won the best actress award for her portrayal of the late British politician Mo Mowlam in the Channel 4 drama series Mo.
The award was Walters' sixth at the Baftas, making her the most decorated female actor in the award ceremony's history. She had also been nominated for her role in the BBC series A Short Stay In Switzerland.
Speaking after receiving the award, Walters said that it was critical that more money continued to be invested in British drama.
"Important drama touches people," she said backstage. "I'm not saying it changes the world but seeds are planted. It's really important and, yes, the money should be made available."
Another distinguished name was recognised for the best actor award, with the Northern Irish actor Kenneth Branagh claiming the prize for his role as Kurt Wallander in the British series Wallander. It was Branagh's first Bafta for his acting; last year, Wallander won the best drama series category.
The series was adapted from the Henning Mankell's Wallander novels, which have also been adapted into a series of Swedish films.
Putting on a show
The best drama series award went to Channel 4's Misfits, which airs in Australia on ABC2. The series, which began broadcasting its first series in November last year, centres on the adventures of a group of young offenders who find themselves possessing supernatural powers.
The long-running soap opera EastEnders won the award for the best continuing series, finishing ahead of its BBC stablemate Casualty and the ITV series The Bill and Coronation Street.
The award comes in a year in which the series is celebrating its 25th anniversary. During its run, more than 4,000 episodes of the soap have been produced, attracting a loyal following.
Also receiving recognition in the programme categories was the sketch comedy The Armstrong and Miller Show, which won in the best comedy series category.
'A genuine honour'
Simon Cowell, the creator of the entertainment programmes Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor, was recognised with a special award for his "outstanding contribution" to the entertainment industry. Accepting the award, Cowell said:
"This is a genuine honour. To put this into perspective, on a personal level, one of my happiest memories as a kid was my dad coming back with a TV set and watching the one programme in colour.
"So standing here tonight getting this award for making TV shows is the happiest feeling of my life."
Cowell's Britain's Got Talent also won in the best entertainment programme category.
The other individual to receive special recognition was the broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, who won the Bafta fellowship for his contribution to television.
Among other individual prize winners were the ITV comedy duo Ant and Dec, who won the prize in the best entertainment performance category.