'Wallander' tops BAFTA TV awards

Producer Kenneth Branagh wins nod for detective drama

LONDON -- Kenneth Branagh picked up his first BAFTA television award as a producer Sunday night, taking home the nod for best drama series for the highly acclaimed Scandinavian detective drama "Wallander."

The awards, the biggest night of the year for British television, were held at the new venue of London's Royal Festival Hall and this year saw Channel 4 pick up seven gongs, including best actor, best actress and best comedy performance. ITV took home five awards, including best soap and best entertainment categories, and BBC1 picked up four gongs, including best drama and best drama series.

Veteran actor Stephen Dillane was named best actor for his sensitive portrayal of a grieving father fighting for justice following the death of his son in Channel 4's "The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall."

Anna Maxwell Martin won her second best actress BAFTA, this time for her role as the troubled and malevolent mental-health patient "N" in Channel 4's "Poppy Shakespeare."

"Mad Men," which airs on BBC4 here, was named best international show, beating off competition from "The Wire" and "The Daily Show."

Hosted by Graham Norton, the awards also saw Jane Tranter, former BBC head of drama and film and currently head of BBC Worldwide's drama production in Los Angeles, presented with a special achievement award by "Doctor Who" star David Tennant in recognition of a decade in charge of the BBC's drama output.

And 48 years after receiving his first BAFTA, natural history veteran presenter David Attenborough picked up the specialist factual  BAFTA for natural history series "Life in Cold Blood."

ITV's "X Factor" was named best entertainment show, and the network also earned comedian Harry Hill his first award for "Harry Hill's TV Burp."

David Mitchell won in the comedy performance category for Channel 4's "Peep Show," while Channel 4's "The IT Crowd" triumphed in situation comedy.

In the factual series category, Bruce Parry received his first BAFTA for "Amazon With Bruce Parry," while "Saving Africa's Witch Children" was victorious in current affairs. Brian Wood's powerful documentary "Chosen," featuring very personal and disturbing accounts of sexual abuse by teachers at the Caldicott Prep School in the 1960s, triumphed in the single documentary award.

This year's public vote for the Philips Audience Award was won by teen drama "Skins" over nominees "The Apprentice," "Coronation Street," "Outnumbered," "Wallander" and "X Factor."

A BAFTA fellowship, the academy's highest accolade, was presented to Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, presented by Helen Mirren and Richard Curtis.