Inbetweeners springs a pleasant surprise

ONE of Gordon Brown's final edicts before leaving office was his suggestion that Simon Cowell should receive a special Bafta for his contribution to television. If you needed any further proof that the man had taken leave of his senses, then look no further.

Cowell accepted his award last night in a ceremony seemingly judged by people who haven't actually watched television in the past 12 months. It's the only rational explanation for some of the most bizarre and undeserved triumphs since, well, since the last major media awards ceremony.

The first award of the evening signalled that all was not well with this year's panel. Misfits – basically a British knock-off of Heroes, but with Asbo kids – beat acclaimed screenwriter Jimmy McGovern's The Street, a stellar example of British drama at its best.

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But worse was to come. The sporadically amusing but ultimately pedestrian The Armstrong and Miller Show robbed Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle – one of the funniest and most daring comedies of the last few years – of its rightful award as best comedy programme.

Thankfully, sanity was restored by Rebecca Front and Peter Capaldi winning for their wonderful comic performances in The Thick of It, which also won the award for best comedy series.

Nominated twice in the best actress category, it was no surprise when Julie Walters won for her outstanding performance as Mo Mowlam in Mo.

But the most pleasant surprise of the evening was likeable teen sitcom, The Inbetweeners, winning the YouTube Audience Award, which if nothing else restored my faith in the great British public. Well done, you.