Irish-language TV character wins top award


A cartoon character won a top award for TG4, beating stiff human competition at the second Irish Film and Television Academy awards in Belfast last night.

Pointy-eared Hiudai was voted Best Television Presenter by viewers over TV3's Amanda Byram, UTV's Gerry Kelly, RTE's Anne Doyle and comedian Patrick Kielty.

The other big winners at the All-Ireland awards included Peter McDonald, who won Best Actor for his role in Saltwater, beating Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle. Conor McPherson's Saltwater was also named Best Screenplay at the awards which were presented by actress Marie Jones.

The Best Actress award was won by Susan Lynch for her performance as James Joyce's wife in the film Nora.

Angela's Ashes won the Best Feature Film category and Eu-reka Street won the Best Television Drama section, beating Ballykissangel. But BallyK did have a winner in Tina Kellegher, who won the Best Leading Television Performance category.

It was a good night for Irish language programmes. Cursai Ealaine won Best Features Programme, while TG4 won an Aisling (the IFTA equivalent of the Oscar) for Best Documentary in Irish for Mad Dog Coll. Best News and Current Affairs Programme went to RTE's Prime Time while Best Documentary in English was won by a programme on Dubliner Luke Kelly. But the night belonged to fictional actors and Podge and Rodge nabbed a gong for A Scare at Bedtime.

Among the luminaries in the Waterfront Hall were Ewan McGregor, Neil Jordan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Patrick Kielty. Politicians included the Northern Secretary, Mr Peter Mandelson; Northern Ireland Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Mr Michael McGimpsey; and Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Ms de Valera.

The awards ceremony will be shown on RTE 1 and BBC tonight.