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A GLITTERING array of stars from the world of Irish film and television were in Belfast on December 3 for this year’s Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) Awards.
The ceremony, hosted by Belfast-born playwright and actress Marie Jones, took place in the Waterfront Hall on the banks of the River Lagan in front of hundreds of members of the academy and the public and it was also recorded by BBC Northern Ireland.
Among those who jetted in for the star-studded occasion were: ‘Star Wars’ actor Ewan McGregor, who recently starred in the feature film ‘Nora’; Victoria Smurfit and husband Douglas Baxter; legendary actor Milo O’Shea; Adrian Dunbar; Lorcan Cranitch, star of BBC Northern Ireland’s ‘McCready & Daughter’; Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, star of BBC’s ‘Gormenghast’ and Susannah and Sally Doyle, daughter and widow of the late Tony Doyle.
There were 15 categories at this year’s awards including ‘Best Leading Performance on Television’, which was won by Tina Kellegher for her portrayal of Niamh Quigley in BBC Northern Ireland’s ‘Ballykissangel Series V’.
The awards for ‘Best Television Drama’ went to Eureka Street, produced by Euphoria Films for BBC Northern Ireland and RTÉ, which also won an award in the ‘Best Craft Achievement’ category; while the BBC Film ‘Saltwater’ scooped a string of awards including ‘Best Leading Actor’, Peter McDonald.
Other top awards went to: RTÉ for ‘Primetime’ for ‘Best News & Current Affairs Programme’; as well as their ‘Cúrsaí Ealaine’, which was named ‘Best Features Programme’; Paramount Pictures ‘Angela’s Ashes’ picked up several awards, while Susan Lynch was named ‘Best Leading Actress’ for her role in ‘Nora’.
For the first time this year, the viewing public were offered the chance to take part in a telephone vote for their favourite ‘Television Personality’, nominated by each of the main broadcasters in Ireland. The award went to ‘Hiúdaí’, TG4’s animated cartoon character.
Other nominees in the category were: Amanda Byram (TV3); Anne Doyle (RTÉ); Gerry Kelly (UTV) and Patrick Kielty (BBC NI).
Fionnuala Sweeney, chief executive of ifta, said: “We are delighted so many people from the world of television and film throughout Ireland and beyond have been able to attend this evening’s awards ceremony. I am sure everyone will agree the standard of this year’s nominations was truly outstanding and we extend our congratulations to all those nominated and to the award winners.”
Viewers will have the chance to see the ifta Awards by tuning into BBC-1 Northern Ireland on Monday, December 4 at 10.35pm or on RTÉ at 9.30pm.
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