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Royal Television Society fetes Vertue

Channel 4 dominates U.K. kudos event

LONDON — Trail-blazing U.K. independent producer Beryl Vertue has been honored with a lifetime achievement prize at the Royal Television Society’s Program Awards.

Vertue, whose Hartswood produces U.K. drama “Sherlock,” began her career typing comedy scripts in the 1950s, subsequently working as an agent before forming her own company.

She helped pioneer the success of British TV across the Atlantic, a practice that continues today with “Sherlock,” an international hit.

Vertue paved the way for U.K. TV exports by selling comedy formats “Steptoe and Son” and “Till Death Us Do Part” to the U.S., where they were re-made as “Sanford and Son” and “All in the Family,” respectively.

Vertue was given the award Tuesday on a night when U.K. pubcaster Channel 4 dominated the kudos event by winning 10 prizes.

The web scored in scripted comedy for university laffer “Fresh Meat,” in drama for gangland serial “Top Boy,” and science and natural history, where “Mummifying Alan: Egypt’s Last Secret” won, beating David Attenborough’s high-profile BBC series “Frozen Planet.”

Of the 24 program awards handed out, the BBC won nine.

These included the children’s program category, where a left-field show made by kids’ newscast “Newsround,” “My Autism and Me,” triumphed against Cartoon Network toon “The Amazing World of Gumball.”

The international award went to Fox’s “Modern Family,” aired in the U.K. by BSkyB, beating Danish crime show “The Killing” and Oz relationship drama “The Slap.”

ITV’s portrait of U.K. serial killer Fred West, “Appropriate Adult,” won best actress and actor for Emily Watson and Dominic West, respectively.

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