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Simon Cowell, 'Harry Potter' stars among BAFTA TV winners

June 7, 2010 |  4:11 pm

Simon Cowell BAFTAs Simon Cowell was a double winner at the TV BAFTAs Sunday.  Cowell — who worked on "Pop Idol" in Britain before "American Idol" made him a household name stateside — received a special award recognizing his outstanding contribution to British TV and his development of new talent. And one of his home-grown shows — "Britain's Got Talent" — won the light entertainment prize for last year's edition, which brought us Susan Boyle. TV viewers in Britain could not escape Cowell this weekend as the fourth season of "Britain's Got Talent"  concluded Saturday with the acrobatic gymnasts team Spelbound crowned champs.

Two of the older performers from the "Harry Potter" film franchise prevailed at these TV kudos that are the British equivalent of the Emmy Awards. Julie Walters, the on-screen mother of Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), won the best actress race for her portrayal of real-life politico Mo Mowlam in "Mo." Walters — who now ties Judi Dench with a record six BAFTAs — was also nominated in the catch-all category, which includes performances in one-offs, minis and series, for "A Short Stay in Switzerland."  She edged out Helena Boham Carter — the dastardly Bellatrix LeStrange in "Harry Potter" — as beloved children's author Enid Blyton in "Enid"; and Sophie Okonedo as Winnie Mandela in "Mrs. Mandela." Both of Walters' works, as well as "Five Minutes of Heaven" with Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt, lost best single program to Samantha Morton's directorial debut, "The Unloved."

Kenneth Branagh -- who played vain professor Gilderoy Lockhart in "Harry Potter" — was snubbed last year for the first season of "Wallander," which had earned him an Emmy nomination. But he won for the second season of the mystery series. Brendan Gleeson -- who plays Order of Phoenix member Alastor Moody — won that Emmy race last year for his BAFTA-nominated performance as Winston Churchill in "Into the Storm." John Hurt — who was wand merchant Mr. Ollivander — won the BAFTA 34 years ago for his portrayal of Quentin Crisp in "The Naked Civil Servant" and was in the running again for the sequel "An Englishman in New York." Rounding out the race was David Oyelowo for "Small Island," which lost best serial to "Occupation."

"The Thick of It" won best situation comedy and the stars of this deft political satire — Peter Capaldi and Rebecca Front — won the inaugural comedy performance prizes. Reigning champ "Mad Men" won the international category against "Family Guy," "Nurse Jackie" and "True Blood."

The awards show, hosted by Graham Norton at the London Palladium, aired on BBC1. See the BAFTA website for the full list of winners.

Photo: Simon Cowell backstage with his BAFTA award. Credit: BAFTA.

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