In Brief

Bafta TV Awards 2016: Graham Norton's diciest gags

Presenter takes aim at everyone from Sheridan Smith to Donald Trump in a highly political awards ceremony

Graham Norton opened last night's Bafta Television Awards with a particularly topical monologue, poking fun at super-injunctions and likely US presidential nominee Donald Trump, among others.

It was an unusually political awards ceremony, with several winners speaking out about the government's reforms of the BBC – this week sees the publication of a white paper setting out the corporation future role, function and structure.

The broadcaster won 14 awards, eight more than Channel 4. ITV won two while Sky and Amazon took home one each.

Big winners included the BBC Two drama Wolf Hall, which scooped best drama series and best leading actor for Mark Rylance.

Picking up the award, the show's director, Peter Kominksy, accused government ministers of trying to "eviscerate" the BBC, while Rylance warned: "Woe to any government or corporation that tries to get between the British people and their love of a good joke."

The best leading actress prize also went to a BBC show, with Suranne Jones honoured for her role in the marital drama Doctor Foster, while Strictly Come Dancing was best entertainment programme.

Norton, who lost out in the entertainment performance category to Leigh Francis (aka Keith Lemon), made sure the BBC viewers watching live got their money's worth.

He began the night by referencing an incident when the West End play Funny Girl had to be stopped because leading lady Sheridan Smith was allegedly slurring her words, something the actress has categorically denied.

"So let's get started, because the sooner we begin, the sooner we can have a couple of drinks," he told the audience at London's Royal Festival Hall. "Or, as they say in theatrical circles, a couple of glasses of 'technical difficulties'."

Here are some of Norton's other diciest jokes:

  • "Good evening everybody. I'm your host for this evening – I'd like to tell you my name but thanks to my super-injunction you'll just have to check on Twitter."
  • "I want to assure you that no one is going to be judged for the way they're dressed here tonight because that is the job of tomorrow's Mail Online. Spotting some contenders..."
  • "I've got to mention The Night Manager as well. There's Tom [Hiddleston]! And thanks to his fantastic performance in The Night Manager, poor Donald Trump was only the second most talked about arse of the year."
  • "I, for one, really enjoyed the much-nominated Car Share. I think my favourite bit was when Matt LeBlanc did the donut around the cenotaph. It was probably the biggest U-turn of the year, unless of course you count Simon Cowell going, 'Er, does anyone still have Dermot's number?'"
  • "I'm not saying the writing's on the wall for Caroline Flack, but you could get better odds for Anne Boleyn returning to the second series of Wolf Hall."

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