Detective drama 'Sherlock' was a double winner at the TV Baftas - but a newcomer beat its star to the best actor award.
The BBC1 show, an updated version of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic stories, triumphed over its competitors, winning the best drama series title and best supporting actor prize for Martin Freeman, who plays Watson.
Writer and co-creator Mark Gatiss told the audience at the ceremony in London's Grosvenor House last night: "It's a huge honour and a fantastic surprise. Thank you so much - it's a huge thrill."
'Sherlock' - which gave a modern twist to the vintage tales - was launched last summer and became a huge hit, despite running to only three episodes.
Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the titular role, missed out on the best actor Bafta, which was won by Daniel Rigby for his portrayal of Eric Morecambe.
Rigby was stunned by the honour, which he said he believed he won for "hanging on the coat tails of a giant" by playing the comedy legend in BBC drama 'Eric and Ernie'.
The actor, who also beat 'Doctor Who' star Matt Smith, said: "I'm absolutely gobsmacked. This is unbelievable."
Ceremony host Graham Norton found himself on the receiving end of one of the most prized awards, taking the honour for best entertainment performance.
The presenter - whose show began on Channel 4 but is now in a prime Friday night slot on BBC1 - told guests: "This is incredible - we used to win these years ago and I'd forgotten how nice it is."
Despite being one of the biggest shows on TV, 'The X Factor' missed out on the entertainment programme prize to its fellow ITV show 'The Cube', presented by Phillip Schofield.
The high-tension challenge show also beat Norton's chat show and 'Have I Got News For You'.
ITV2's 'The Only Way Is Essex' won the YouTube Audience Award, the only prize chosen by viewers.
Mark Wright, who appears in the reality show, said it felt "incredible" to win.
The best actress prize title went to 'This Is England '86' star Vicky McClure, who played Lol in the gritty drama.
"This is what I dreamed of since I can remember," McClure said. "I can't believe this is happening."
A surprise winner of the best comedy prize was BBC2's 'Harry And Paul' - so much so that stars Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield had not attended.
'EastEnders' took the continuing drama award, a little over a week after it was named best soap at the British Soap Awards.
Rival 'Coronation Street' could take some comfort from its contribution to another award. BBC4's acclaimed film about the birth of the show, 'The Road To Coronation Street', which was named best single drama.
A rare outing away from his traditional BBC home saw David Attenborough share in the specialist factual award for Sky 3D's 'Flying Monsters 3D'.
Lauren Socha took the best supporting actress prize for her role in E4's 'Misfits', the only prize for the comedy drama about superhero teen delinquents which had led the shortlist with four nominations.
BBC2's 'Rev' - which starred Tom Hollander as a maverick clergyman - was named best sitcom, while Steve Coogan collected best male comedy performance prize for 'The Trip', in which he played an exaggerated version of himself.
The comic joked: "This was one of the hardest roles I've ever had to prepare for. I spent the best part of 40 years researching it - still not found out who he is."
Comedian Jo Brand took the best female comedy performance title for BBC4's 'Getting On' in which she plays a nurse on a geriatric ward.
"I'm flabbergasted, completely, because over the years I have been so slagged off for my acting ability by the critics."
Channel 4's 'Any Human Heart' - an adaptation of the William Boyd book - was named best drama serial.
BBC2's 'Welcome To Lagos' took the factual series prize.
Peter Bennett-Jones - the comedy manager and founder of TV production company Tiger Aspect Group - took the Bafta special award.
Newsreader Trevor McDonald was given a standing ovation as he collected his Bafta fellowship.
"This represents the solid good fortune of a lifetime's work but also work that has involved a number of people," he said. "I had the great, great privilege to work with the finest producers, editors, writers and technical crews in our industry."
The event - formally called the Philips British Academy Television Awards - is one of the biggest nights in the British TV world.
BBC1 led the field with six prizes, just nudging ahead of BBC2's tally of five.
2011 TELEVISION BAFTAs FULL LIST OF WINNERS:
Leading Actor - Daniel Rigby, 'Eric And Ernie'
Leading Actress - Vicky McClure, 'This Is England '86'
Supporting Actor - Martin Freeman, 'Sherlock'
Supporting Actress - Lauren Socha, 'Misfits'
Entertainment Performance - Graham Norton, 'The Graham Norton Show'
Female Performance in a Comedy Programme - Jo Brand, 'Getting On'
Male Performance in a Comedy Programme - Steve Coogan, 'The Trip'
Single Drama - 'The Road To Coronation Street'
Drama Series - 'Sherlock'
Drama Serial - 'Any Human Heart'
Continuing Drama - 'EastEnders'
International - 'The Killing'
Factual Series - 'Welcome To Lagos'
Specialist Factual - 'Flying Monsters 3D'
Single Documentary - 'Between Life And Death'
Features - 'Hugh's Fish Fight'
Current Affairs - 'Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children', BBC4
News Coverage - 'ITV News At Ten: The Cumbria Murders'
Sport - Formula 1, 'The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix'
New Media - 'Wallace And Gromit's World Of Invention'
Entertainment Programme - 'The Cube'
Comedy Programme - 'Harry and Paul'
Situation Comedy - 'Rev'
Bafta Special Award - 'Peter Bennett-Jones'
YouTube Audience Award - 'The Only Way Is Essex'
Bafta Fellowship - 'Sir Trevor McDonald'