WHISKY caper The Angels’ Share, its young star, Paul Brannigan, and rising film-maker Zam Salim grabbed a share of the glory from Billy Connolly at tonight’s Scottish Bafta ceremony in Glasgow.
The screenplay for director Ken Loach’s Cannes prize-winning heist movie won the best writer gong for his regular collaborator, Paul Laverty.
The best actor award went to Brannigan, who was plucked from obscurity, while working on a violence-reduction programme, by the veteran English director for the lead role of a troubled young Glaswegian persuaded to stage a dramatic raid on a distillery.
Brannigan had been competing with one of his co-stars, Siobhan Reilly, for the coveted prize.
BBC Scotland won a huge boost after capturing the current affairs award for its controversial documentary, Rangers, The Men Who Sold The Jerseys.
Among the stars to attend the event – hosted by Edith Bowman – were Brian Cox, Ewen Bremner, Siobhan Redmond, Rory Bremner and Neil Oliver.
Connolly, who was awarded an outstanding contribution to film and television Bafta, was unable to attend the event due to a previous commitment in the United States.
But he recorded a video message, in which he spoke of his pride at getting the award, telling the 500-strong audience: “I left school with nothing, you know.”
Connolly, who is due to make an in-person appearance at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow next month, added: “Thank you very, very much, television viewers and people of Bafta Scotland, for this wonderful, wonderful award. I really appreciate it.
“I know you people think that we luvvies get prizes every day, shiny things handed to us, but the last time I was up for a Bafta prize in Scotland, I lost both of them, one to Ewan McGregor and the other to Kaye Adams.
“I’m really sorry I can’t be there, because I am in San Francisco doing some engagements, but I will be in Glasgow in December and my heart is there all the time.”
Hollywood star Cox, who made a tribute speech about Connolly in the star’s absence, said: “An honour like this for Billy has been a long time coming, he really should have been honoured well before now. As an actor, he’s simply been getting better and better.”
Zam Salim collected both the best director Bafta and best feature film prize with his black comedy Up There, his first film, which was premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival this year.
Stuart Cosgrove, the broadcaster, writer, media pundit and TV executive, was honoured for a career which saw him become head of programmes for the nations and regions on Channel Four.
Rab C Nesbitt star Gregor Fisher beat off competition from co-star Elaine C Smith to win the best TV actor award, while Antiques Road Trip, which STV made for the BBC, scooped the best factual entertainment programme award.
Brannigan said: “It’s a real honour to be here. It’s the proudest moment of my life, after the birth of my son.!
“I could never have imagined I’d be here in Glasgow on the red carpet.
“It’s bigger than Cannes, to be honest.”
Jude MacLaverty, director of Bafta in Scotland, said: “The awards reflect the sheer breadth of talent being generated in Scotland, and it’s great to see so much of it celebrated tonight.”
Comic Kevin Bridges lost out twice – in the comedy/entertainment category, to Mrs Brown’s Boys, and for the best writer award to Laverty.
Star Wars creator George Lucas also made a surprise appearance via video link paying tribute to the Glasgow-born costume designer Trisha Biggar, who worked on all three of the prequels in the block-busting saga. She was honoured with an “outstanding contribution to craft” award.
Ms Biggar, whose Scottish films included Hallam Foe and Perfect Sense, ended up working on the costumes for the Stars Wars films after working on the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones series in the 1990s.
Mr Lucas said: “She has more than proven to be one of the most brilliant, creative and talented designers I have ever worked with, especially when it came down to Star Wars episodes 1, 2 and 3.
“She really outdid herself with some of the most amazing dresses and costumes for the queens and the princesses and the senators than one could possible imagine. She definitely deserves this award.”
Ms Biggar, whose first job was at the Citizens Theatre, said: “It was a complete surprise to see the message from George. He is an old friend, but I had no idea he had recorded it. I’ll be emailing him to thank him right away. He was such a delight to work for.”
Zam Salim, who revealed he had made Up There for just £800,000, said: “It was a huge honour for me to get the award, especially as it was a real struggle to get the film made.
“There is a real issue in the industry at the moment where there is no middle ground in film-making. You are either making a film on a really big budget or a really low budget, but it’s really important to make sure everyone is paid.”
Scottish Baftas 2012: The winners
THE main winners from last night’s awards ceremony in Glasgow
Mrs Brown’s Boys (below)
Rangers – The Men Who Sold The Jerseys
Afterlife: The Strange Science Of Decay
Great Game, A
Personal View By Rory Stewart
Antiques Road Trip
ACTOR/ACTRESS - TELEVISION
Gregor Fisher (below)
The Making Of Longbird
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO BROADCASTING
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION FOR CRAFT
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO TELEVISION AND FILM
Billy Connolly CBE